The University of Connecticut is a place of privilege, as any such institution is. Not everyone can carry the financial burden of going to a four-year college, and the faculty of a university are comprised of people who have been able to invest heavily in their own education. As such, there is a fear sometimes that UConn (and any university) can form a sort of bubble around itself, ignoring the ills of the world around it. Thankfully, though, a study at UConn has refreshingly shown that, no, poor people are not as irresponsible as the media portrays them as.
A postdoctoral fellow in UConn’s Zwick center for Food and Resource Policy has shown the benefits of the food stamp initiative SNAP, as well as cleared up common misconceptions about the aid program. Namely, he has found that such a system has led to a significant decrease in food spending away from home.
This is a departure from the narrative commonly pushed by those against SNAP. Because of a loophole in the system, people have the ability to use some government funds for eating out. Many of the elite, both in the media and government, claim this problem is rampant, to the point where the USDA proposed sending SNAP recipients a case of non perishables instead of the current system. What these groups fail to realize, though, is that those who need SNAP tend to be able to realize the financial and health benefits of making your own food, and ask accordingly. This is backed up by the UConn study.
It is almost as if people’s need for food stamps does not correlate with their irresponsibility, in opposition to how many are more than eager to portray the situation. SNAP is meant to increase food stability and security, and those on the program are aware of it.
In an age where it is difficult for the average person to fight back against fake news and misconceptions, it is refreshing to see an institution such as UConn combat the rampant false rhetoric. It is important to stand up for those who are voiceless, and by defending a legitimate and direly needed system such as food stamps, UConn is doing just that. In this way, the benefit to recognizing privilege is shown: people at UConn are able to use their heightened platform and increased reach to help those that need it.