Access to fresh produce for YSU students who live on campus  

By Justyn Madick

A food desert is considered to be an area that has limited access to affordable and nutritious food. In Youngstown, supermarkets and grocery stores are scarce. This is especially the case on campus at Youngstown State University. It is extremely important for students who live on campus to have access to fresh produce and nutritious items for many reasons.  

On YSU’s campus, there are multiple dining halls, fast food restaurants, convenience stores and sit down restaurants. The one major thing lacking is grocery stores. There are a select few surrounding the Youngstown area, but none easily accessible to YSU students. This poses a major problem for students who do not drive or do not have another mode of transportation to get to the store. Access to fresh produce will promote healthy eating and provide more variety of food for the students to choose from. Not only will grocery stores give students choices, it will enhance their health.  

Benefits of eating healthy include weight loss, better moods, improved memory and strong bones and teeth. A college student deals with a tremendous amount of stress and often has a lot on their plate. Their academic performance and overall health will benefit from having access to fresh produce.  

Lastly, having access to a grocery store can allow the students to save money. As we all know, college and housing on campus is extremely expensive. Any amount of money saved by a college student can be beneficial. Spending money quickly adds up for someone who buys fast food or meals at a restaurant multiple times a week. Grocery stores provide students with a cost-effective way to purchase food and will allow them to save money over their time in college.  

Adding grocery stores around the Youngstown State University campus will benefit the student residents for many reasons. It will allow students to save time, money, and it will benefit their overall health. In a time where unhealthy behaviors such as eating are so prevalent, we as a community need to do what we can to provide access to healthy alternatives for the students at Youngstown State University.