Student support programs should receive help from senate

The Channels Opinion Pages | EDITORIAL


Antony Marchiando

Editorial Cartoon


The number of college students nationwide struggling with homelessness is astonishing, and the Independent reported on June 17, 2015 that there might be thousands of homeless college students in Santa Barbara.

Living in a city with less than a 1 percent rent vacancy rate, it’s not uncommon to hear stories of students being unable to find or afford housing, or even food to eat.

City College’s Extended Opportunity Program and Services is currently working to finalize a food pantry in an attempt to help homeless and hungry students. Similar programs at other colleges such as UCSB’s food bank have successfully helped many in need.

Last Friday, eight out of 10 members of the Associated Student Government agreed to donate $750 to the project.

The Channels applauds the Student Senate for deciding to do this, as we feel that the fundraised money should be used for outreach. However, it is a bit disappointing that two senators voted against the idea. It was proposed that they should donate less money, out of fear that the program will not be utilized enough. As representatives of the student body, it is our hope that they continue to help their peers as much as they can.

The food pantry is estimated to be available for students by next week, as it is currently waiting to receive meal vouchers from the culinary department. With Thanksgiving in two weeks, the project will be able to aid many students over the break by offering workshops with information about CalFresh for anyone interested.

“We realized a lot of students are coming into school hungry,” said Marsha Wright, director of extended opportunities program and services. “This is a campus wide program, it’s not just for students involved in the program, and we are trying to get other students to embrace this.”

The idea has been in the works for about a month, and Wright explained she was exploring the idea of adding $1 to the student fees paid at registration to maintain the program.

On top of creating this project, two program staff members will also be attending a workshop in San Diego next Monday to learn from other schools about how they help students in need.

“We want to make it as easy as possible for students without making them embarrassed,” said Wright.

The Ed Board strongly supports and encourages student outreach programs like the food pantry, especially as the holidays are coming up.