Hastings College students challenged to live on $6.44 a day

As a part of a January Term sociology course at Hastings College, 18 students will present ideas to resolve food insecurity on Jan. 24 from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. in room 06 of the Daugherty Center (716 N. Turner Ave.) on campus. The course, “Challenge Yourself — Live on $6.44 a Day,” focused on food insecurity and the role of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

The student presentations build off of a three-week J-Term class that allowed students to learn about hunger firsthand through a SNAP Challenge. Beginning Jan. 11, the students tested their budgeting abilities by attempting to live off of $6.44 a day, the maximum SNAP benefits that can be received by an individual in Nebraska, for one week. Though they were not restricted to a daily budget, students could spend no more than $45 on food throughout the week.

Over the course of the SNAP Challenge, students used social media to share their stories of living on SNAP benefits with the community. Through blog posts and tweets, the class connected academic research about food insecurity with the students’ personal experience living on a SNAP budget.

“In class, we explored all aspects of food insecurity, from potential cause of food insecurity, to the challenge of making healthy choices under financial limitations, to the programs in place to help food insecure families.” said Mallory Gruben, a junior from Eckley, Colorado. “By taking the SNAP Challenge, we experienced what food insecurity might be like, and we could easily connect what we were learning in class with our real experiences.”   

After the completion of their SNAP Challenge, students selected, researched and prepared a presentation on ways to combat food insecurity. The presentations cover solutions in the following areas: community gardens, farmers markets, food banks/pantries and food waste.

Students invited agency leaders from community non-profits to the presentations, and community members are encouraged to attend.

Hastings College is a private, four-year institution located in Hastings, Nebraska, that focuses on student academic and extracurricular achievement. With 64 majors and 15 pre-professional programs, Hastings College has been named among “Great Schools, Great Prices” by U.S. News & World Report and a “Best in the Midwest” by The Princeton Review. For more, go to hastings.edu.

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