ASI survey reveals students not in favor of community garden

Cesar Alexander

Sacramento State’s Associated Student Inc. has gathered the results from its student voice survey, which asked students to voice interest in possibly having a community garden, student pantry and Sac State smartphone application.

Based on the results, ASI will decide whether to focus on in developing a Sac State app and creating a student pantry. The community garden will not be added to the strategic priorities for the 2013-2014 year.

ASI Vice President Erica Brown confirmed the results and said she was concerned about the turnout and student participation.

“[There were] 280 out of our 28,000 students [and it] seems like they’re not interested and most the time these are usually the most involved students,” Brown said. “So if the most involved students on campus aren’t really interested I’m sure the least involved students aren’t, but that’s my opinion.”

In regards to the student pantry, Brown said the student relations team will be working on it along with other campus partners such as assistant professor Lynn Hanna from the nutrition department.

Hannah said she conducted a survey that was sent out to students, excluding freshmen, to see what their college diet routine has been thus far. The survey was filled out by 879 students who are eligible for Pell Grants.

“Of those 879 students, 3.3 percent indicated that they regularly, routinely go without eating food,” Hannah said. “Primary reason that they would cite was due to lack of money.”

Biomedical sciences major Tiana Sandoval, 22, said she would actually see more benefits in the community garden than the pantry

“I’m not really sure how I feel about a pantry,” Sandoval said. “Because this is my first semester here and I moved out for the first time and I feel like I’m able to find cheap food.”

Hannah said there were students in the survey who did comment on the lack of affordable food on campus and the lack of healthy choices, which the pantry and its services will aim to support.

“In addition to just having a food pantry on campus where people could go get emergency type of assistance, it’s a also a really great opportunity for us to do some outreach and education,” Hannah said. “It is possible to eat a healthy diet on a fixed and low income but it does take some education. It takes some training, learning to cook some foods, new recipes, and we have all the expertise to teach people about that on this campus.”

Brown said the student engagement and success committee will most likely be taking control of the smartphone app for Sac State, though the specifics will not be discussed until the committee meets. The app was driven by the ASI Board of Directors to streamline the process of getting information out there.

Sharisse Kemp, 30, is working on her master’s degree in social work and would like to see the app developed. She said communication between teachers would be a feature she would be interested in.

“I would definitely think the app would be useful as long as it’s free,” Kemp said. “I think that somehow or another maybe the app would provide better communication because maybe if I knew more about the different things going on I would maybe stay on campus a little longer.”

ASI President Nielsen Gabriel said ASI will be reviewing the priorities before the onset of the spring semester.

“If we decide to cut the garden from what we’re going to be prioritizing for the year,” Gabriel said. “Then I’ll personally still be working with the group that wanted the garden in the first place, but with the full realization that this would not be identified as one of the priorities for ASI.”