A couple of months ago I had the pleasure of sitting down with Anthony Rusk, the Arizona student regent, to talk about how the University of Arizona addresses food insecurity and helps students meet their basic needs. He told me that he understands the needs of students aren’t directly met through the Dean of Students’ office because they refer students to a lot of resources rather than providing them directly. He said it’s important to him that a better system be put in place to assist students.
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The University of Arizona does a good job of providing a wide array of services for students in need: Campus Pantry and Campus Closet, the Richard H. Tyler Student Emergency Fund, Safe Ride and the CatTran, not to mention Campus Health or Fostering Success, as well as a wide variety of others.
One morning in the spring of 2019 while driving back from an early morning work shift, I happened to be listening to NPR when an interview with the author of “The Privileged Poor,” Anthony Abraham Jack, was playing. During the interview, the Harvard assistant professor talked about how he had noticed it might be hard for students to focus when their families are struggling to pay bills back home, or when they don’t have access to enough food. The research also focuses on other ways students are failed by their universities, such as not knowing social norms, how to succeed after graduation or having the inability to attend important social events.