MIT Undergraduate Association hosts free food event

Barnouw: “10 percent of students are food insecure.”

The MIT Undergraduate Association (UA) organized a free food event for students outside of the Stratton Center Nov. 20. The line for the Zinneken’s food truck extended to Massachusetts Avenue as students awaited waffles.

The event was advertised over dormspam by the UA. Natalie Barnouw ’25, the UA Chair for Food Security, briefly spoke with The Tech about how the UA is working to address food insecurity issues amongst undergraduates.

10 percent of MIT students are food insecure. We’re trying to combat that through various initiatives. The UA just started a food security committee, which will help,” Barnouw said. 

The UA Food Security committee was an ad-hoc committee started in 2023 in response to the number of MIT students claiming to lack access to affordable and healthy food sources. The committee is tasked with “[interfacing] with administration surrounding ideas and solutions to food security problems on and around campus” and “[helping] host unique projects/events to support undergraduates gain accessibility to nutrition.”

However, the UA does not intend to solely implement short-term solutions such as food trucks, aiming instead for long-term victories.

Barnouw stated, “I think dining is a big thing. But DormCon is working on that, mostly. Other things are finding more places to use TechCash at.” 

She further added that students should be aware of the grocery deals available.

“A big thing is to get people to learn about the distinctive resources they could utilize, like the Daily Table deals,” Barnouw said. The Daily Table will offer free delivery for online purchases over $20, which Barnouw stated will be a “really easy way to get produce.”

The MIT Food & Grocery Map can be used to access food and groceries around campus and beyond. Another resource is the MIT Cultural Grocery Stores Map, which facilitates the cultural food search. Additionally, students can also receive donated meal swipes by contacting someone in Student Support Services or by filling out a meal request form.

Other initiatives like the Food Security Action Team (FSAT) also provide accessible food resources to undergraduate and graduate students alike. The FSAT provides cooking guides about healthy eating habits along with emergency meal requests. 

Andre Hamelberg, President of the UA, wrote in an email to the MIT community Nov. 29 that these food resources are being shared to “ensure no student goes hungry due to lack of money” and that “[students] feel comfortable asking for help when [they] need it.”