Your November 2 article (“Study finds 1 in 3 Virginia Tech students ’food insecure,’ prompts fundraiser”) leaves me with a different take on college. Although laudable for the concern these students apparently have for others, this piece points to an attitude that is troubling.

“A lot of people may not even be aware that they are considered food insecure.” Oh, please. That a third of Virginia Tech students are “food insecure” is just further evidence of a nanny-state on steroids. The USDA’s definition of “food insecurity” (“reduced quality, variety or desirability of diet” and “disrupted eating patterns and reduced food intake”) describes college life for almost everyone I knew back in the 1970s, and the percentage was much more than one-third. It was simply a part of life; we all survived, we all graduated with respectable GPAs and we all moved on. Moreover, none of us were super-human.

We joked about Ramen and peanut butter gourmet meals. We snickered when someone’s stomach growled in class—not out of meanness, but because it happened to most of us and we knew what it was like. Tight budgets and part-time, menial jobs were a shared experience that partly defined us as a group. One could even say it was “democratic” because those who were products of “white privilege” went hungry right along with students of color, LGBTQ students and every other subgroup on campus.

Students who are enrolled in college are among the most privileged citizens in privileged, civilized societies. Temporary sacrifices for a better future are what make future successes in life all the more satisfying. We were proud of ourselves on that grand occasion when each of us walked down the aisle to receive our diploma. I found nothing wrong with this then, and I feel the same now. But I guess because I’m old, white and male, my comments here ring hollow.

BILL VAN VELZER

TROUTVILLE

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