April 15, 2021
Chávez, who works with both student organizations and administrators, said he hopes the support he has seen from administrators will help make a sizable change at Northeastern.
He said the work Mutual Aid has done over the past year has helped show administration that food pantries are feasible, and though he doesn’t want to get his “hopes up too high,” he thinks seeing more permanent food pantries on campus is “looking pretty likely.”
Garcia said the goal for Mutual Aid is to make it so that nobody worries about where to get their next meal. Even if that is not feasible, he said any change they can make is worth it.
“We have so much in this country — we’re one of the richest countries in the world, but we waste so much, and we don’t help each other,” Garcia said. “We can’t feed everybody, so we all do what we can.”
Forty-one percent of people in four-year institutions will face food insecurity at some point, and that’s disproportionately lower-income students. If you’re hungry in class, you’re not going to do as well. It’s as simple as that.”
— Joshua Sisman
While Mutual Aid continues holding food pantries, the referendum is moving into its next stage: the Northeastern administration. Passing with such a large margin is helpful for the organizations backing the referendum, as it shows the large amount of student support. As elections vice chair for SGA, Ploumi said referenda that have been passed by students in previous years are usually dismissed by the university.
“In the past years, there’ve been very few referenda that have been implemented. … Something like this would require external pressure to actually get implemented,” Ploumi said.
Both the organizations behind the referendum and Mutual Aid are always looking for more students to be involved.
“It’s never too late to get involved, and everything that anybody does is important,” Garcia said. “With Mutual Aid as a concept, we all come together — all of our contributions are equally important. I couldn’t help lead the food stuff if it wasn’t for everybody else helping out in marketing and talking to the university officials and getting stuff done.”
Ultimately, initiatives like Mutual Aid and the meal plan referendum are seeking to address the same issue of food insecurity, just through different means.
“Forty-one percent of people in four-year institutions will face food insecurity at some point, and that’s disproportionately lower-income students,” Sisman said. “If you’re hungry in class, you’re not going to do as well. It’s as simple as that.”
Editor’s note: This story was updated Thursday, April 29 at 12:25 p.m. to accurately reflect Harrison Garcia‘s involvement in the survey.
Editor’s note: A previous version of this article included quotes from an earlier interview with a member of Northeastern Dining Services. The story was updated Friday, April 16 at 3:25 p.m. to no longer include content from this interview.