Free noodles at noon event draws attention to student debt
Initiative put on to draw attention to student debt and the fact students often go hungry once tuition and textbooks are paid.
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University students lined up under grey, rainy skies Wednesday afternoon to grab containers of free, instant hot noodles.
Stereotypical staples in a student’s diet, the Noodles at Noon initiative was put on by the student unions at Dalhousie University and University of King’s College.
The event was intended to draw attention to student debt and the fact students often go hungry because grocery budgets often significantly shrink or disappear once they’ve paid tuition and books.
“It’s kind of a play on students who are riddled with debt who have to pay these enormous fees, whether it’s housing, whether it’s textbooks, whether it’s tuition itself,” said Dalhousie University student union representative Amina Abawajy.
“As students we often have to live on noodles or Kraft Dinner.”
Abawajy said the event was also a chance for them to highlight the National Day of Action happening on Nov. 2. That’s when students from across Canada will take to the streets to demand accessible post secondary education.
“We believe that tuition can be and should be free, and not only free, but it should be accessible,” she said.
“That includes safer campuses, more access for indigenous learners, grants instead of loans, things like that…Access to free education has been done in over 17 other countries around the world and it’s time for Canada to step up.”
Third year computer science student Yaxin Cheng is an international student from China studying at Dalhousie University. He has participated in similar events to raise awareness of student debt and encourages other students to do the same.
“I’m here because first of all this is free food, honestly speaking,” Cheng joked.
“Second, I personally think that tuition fees are really high for everyone but especially for international students. People use this as a way to say tuition is too high, we can’t afford it and we need to reduce the burden.”
The Dalhousie Student Union said student debt in Nova Scotia is on average $39,600.