To date, the Georgetown Mutual Aid Network has raised $ 25,000 from current students and some alumni and distributed $ 20,000. The money to be used for “textbooks or weekly groceries, medicines, etc.” has been collected from more than 900 donors, Ms. Huynh said. “So it really shows the power of small basic movements. ”
Sara Goldrick-Rab, a Temple University sociology professor who studies the affordability of colleges, said, “These mutual aid networks are born because what I call the new college economics, which puts students at a significant economic disadvantage brings. ”
She cited exorbitant tuition fees and the ever-increasing cost of living to argue that college students in general are often portrayed as more privileged than them – and that was before the pandemic. “We conducted a survey of 38,000 college students across the country and nearly three in five students were faced with either homelessness, housing insecurity or food insecurity,” she said, referring to a June study the devastating impact of the pandemic on student finances.
“Students continue to fight to get their basic needs,” she said.
The on-campus mutual aid networks reflect similar efforts that have sprung up in communities across the country this year. However, several college organizers defined their efforts as clearly leftist and political. “It’s a form of community service that responds to the failure of capitalist structures,” said Hadeel Hamoud, 20, junior and one of the founders of Duke Mutual Aidwho quoted the Black Panthers Utility as inspiration.
Ms. Tallapragada von Rice was one of several students who said they started their networks on the advice of Congressman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who wrote a 12-page page Mutual Assistance Guide with the activist Mariame Kaba and tweeted about it in March. “Myself and many other college students at various colleges have referred to this toolkit,” said Ms. Tallapragada.