Gillibrand Advocates for EATS Act at Baruch

New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand visited Baruch College to announce the arrival of the Enhanced Access To SNAP Act.

The EATS Act is a law aimed at continuing a pandemic-era change that increased SNAP benefits’ eligibility to college students.

Gillibrand joined the Baruch community in the Bearcat Den located in the Newman Vertical Campus building to make the announcement. She was joined by Baruch President S. David Wu and New York City Council officials Carolina Rivera and Eric Dinowitz.

Members of Baruch’s Undergraduate Student Government were also in attendance at the press conference along with members of the SUNY community.

“It shouldn’t just be donors and students filling in the gaps, it should be other policy officials and politicians in power who are continuously putting in bills to fund our food pantries and provide food resources to our students,” Osvaldo Garcia, USG Executive Vice President, said.

The press conference began with an introductory speech from Wu, where he spoke about Gillbrand’s efforts toward tackling food insecurity.

Gillibrand went to the podium after Wu and expressed gratitude towards everyone who attended and explained how impactful the legislation would be for college students.

“If passed, this would make as many as 290,000 New York college students newly eligible for SNAP,” Sen. Gillibrand said.

USG members stood behind Wu and Gillibrand during their speeches, holding signs that read “pass the eats act.”

Swipe Out Hunger Director of Advocacy Robb Friedlander was in attendance at the press conference. Speaking to The Ticker afterward, he applauded Gillibrand for advocating for the passing of the EATS Act.

“The EATS Act is a really important piece of legislation that would open up SNAPaccess to more than 3 million college students across the country,” Friedlander said. “And you know, we’re proud to work with the senator on this issue. But we also need so much more. We not only need expanded SNAP eligibility, but we need more resources on our college campuses. We need more resources at all of our communities, and all of our Sunnis students right now are struggling with record inflation, with incredible, unaffordable housing throughout the city and the state. And we need to continue to fight to bring more resources, not just the tax as well.”

City College Vice President of Student Affairs Tara Hernandez, who spoke during the press conference, said in an interview that  food insecurity, and encouraged the state to assist CUNY in finding solutions to such major issues.

“CUNY students are the most resilient go-getters that I know,” Hernandez said. “As I said in my speech, students fuel the economy. They fuel the state of New York and that’s where CUNY steps in but even more so on the government level and state level, we really can’t do everything on our own. We can’t be go-getters for every single issue that’s present on campus, we can’t seek all the solutions. That’s where we really need the state to step in and also just help CUNY as an institution that is being underfunded, where the budgets are being cut that barely have any staff.”

The EATS Act was originally introduced in July 2021. Co-sponsors for the 2021 EATS Acts included Sen. Cory Booker, and Sen. Bernie Sanders.

“We really hope this bill does pass because CUNY students need this support right now,” Garcia said.