Many people probably remember that time they had to live off of Kraft mac n cheese and ramen noodles for a couple months in college. The tradition, it would seem, hasn’t disappeared from college dorms completely.

Donation box at the Starbucks on the corner of NM 528 and Rockaway Blvd.

Now, because students have trouble getting any food, the University of New Mexico is accepting donations to its on-campus food pantry. There are donation boxes at most Starbucks and in the Student Union Building on campus. This includes the Starbucks on NM 528 in Rio Rancho.

Lately, students are having trouble accessing or affording their groceries. Since many students that live on campus do not own a car and dorm rent plus other costs from living on campus are barely affordable, they have to rely on the Lobo Food Pantry.

The pantry has been providing food since 2014, when the student population was reporting food insecurity issues in end-of-semester surveys.

“When you factor in the rent that I have to pay and any bills, tuition, and that sort of thing, it leaves you with very little left at the end of the month for your food,” one anonymous grad student said in a semester survey.

But the problem doesn’t stop at the students stomachs.

Research done in 2021 by UNM highlights that withdrawal from multiple courses during a student’s collegiate career can be an indicator that students are struggling, with students dropping more than two classes at particular risk. 

An analysis of the data from the survey showed that students who reported low or very low levels of food insecurity were almost twice as likely to withdraw from or fail a course. The results suggest that food insecurity is associated with lower grade point averages.

The Lobo Food Pantry recognized these issues and decided to do something about it.

“If you’re thinking about what you’re going to put your money towards, is it rent or groceries? We’re going to try to help you out by not having to think about what that is,” Lisa Lindquist, director of the Lobo Respect Advocacy Center, said.