Missing meals? BYU can help

A student in need displays a sign for help. BYU Administration can provide essential resources to students in need of food or housing. (Photo by Chris Bunker)

The Dean of Students Office and Financial Fitness Center can provide prompt and long-term support to students with food or housing difficulties.

Financial Fitness Center Manager Paul Conrad described the financial programs as a way to direct students to the proper resources and help students in the short term.

“What we want to do is get food and rent taken care of in the short term. At the Financial Fitness Center, we’re trying to just holistically look at all of their (students’) resources, all of their expenses, trying to find resources to help stabilize the situation,” Conrad said.

Administrators at both offices can provide “immediate support,” according to Kyle Slaughter, the Senior Consultant for Assessment at the Dean of Students Office.

“We often don’t have all the answers, but we’ll often be the ones who hear about that and then try to help the student get in touch with the resources they need to either address their concern or resolve it, depending on what the situation may be,” Slaughter said.

Some of the resources Slaughter and Conrad mentioned include those provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Slaughter emphasized that students who are not members of the Church can still access locally-provided Church resources.

College students across the nation who struggle to find their next meal suffer from “food insecurity,” which can damage grades, mental health and other essential aspects of student life.

Conrad pointed out that some students who experience food insecurity will “suffer in silence,” rather than contact administrators.

“What we found is that a lot of times, students are a little bit hesitant or nervous or uncomfortable with coming in directly to have a conversation. There may be a feeling of like, ‘man, if I have to go talk to somebody about this, it means that I failed,'” Slaughter said.

Both Slaughter and Conrad encouraged students to call, email or visit their offices rather than deal with food insecurity on their own.

“If you’re facing issues, come in and see us. We want to help you and make sure that you’re able to succeed while you’re here,” Slaughter said.

When in need, students can contact the Dean of Students Office at (801) 422-2731 and . Financial Fitness Center resources are available at (801) 422-7355 and .

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