San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

Aztecs Rock Hunger raises $109,676 to fight food and nutrition insecurity

Exceeding last year’s campaign of $89,090, student leaders and faculty gathered to announce this year’s record-breaking total and to hold an award ceremony for its volunteers
Photo by Olivia Vargo
Aztec Rock Hunger reveals the record breaking total on Nov. 28. This surpasses their goal of $100,000

With anticipation building over Thanksgiving break, student leaders and faculty from Aztecs Rock Hunger hosted a reveal party on Nov. 28 at the Conrad Prebys Student Union to celebrate this year’s campaign total of $109,676 setting an all-time record for the university. 

In addition, the celebration included an award ceremony recognizing student involvement in their fight against food and nutrition insecurity within the Aztec community. 

Aztecs Rock Hunger Chair Sophia Koch was brought to tears over the announcement with it being her last year involved in the program. From dedicating herself to the “Stuff the Backpack” programs in high school to her time involved with Associated Students, Koch said it has been a full circle moment for her and continues to remind students that the fight isn’t over. 

“Our goal this year was $100,000, it was only reached once before but we set this goal because we knew the need for the San Diego community was present as ever,” Koch said. “The San Diego Hunger Coalition reports that one in four San Diegans experience nutrition insecurity. This is a fact that I’m sure you’ve heard many times throughout this campaign. However, it doesn’t go away once these three weeks are over. It’s a year long issue affecting people everyday and this is the reason why we rock hunger.” 

Aztecs Rock Hunger is an annual campaign led by the Associated Students at San Diego State University that collects donations and non-perishable food items to assist members of the community and SDSU students affected by food insecurity throughout the academic school year. 

The campaign originated in 2010 when the Jacobs and Cushman San Diego Food Bank held a competition between San Diego colleges known as Colleges Rock Hunger. This rivalry influenced the formation of Aztecs Rock Hunger, one of the California State University system’s most widely distributed college food drives, according to Associated Students Aztecs Rock Hunger website.

A highlight from this year’s campaign includes the Aztec Rock Hunger carnival where students got involved at booths filled with traditional carnival games, tarot card readings and a dunk tank where students could dunk their favorite student leaders around campus for a $5 donation.

SDSU Student attempts carnival game at the Conrad Prebys Student Union. (Christian Houser)

Koch said the purpose behind this carnival was to “spread joy” as they worked towards their goal of $100,000 for not only the Jacobs and Cushman San Diego Food Bank but also the Associated Students Food Pantry and Economic Crisis and Response Team on campus. 

Since some SDSU students are either ineligible or unaware of programs like CALFresh, they heavily rely on these on-campus programs and local community food banks for support, according to Associated Students’ Aztecs Rock Hunger website.  

Olivia Hansen smiles after getting dunked at the Aztec Rock Hunger Carnival. The carnival helped raise money to fight food insecurity. (Victor Nyden)

Chelsea Payne, Director of the SDSU Economic Crisis Response Team, said at the Aztecs Rock Hunger Carnival on Nov. 2 that the campaign donates 20% of monetary donations to the SDSU Economic Crisis Response Team, and the non-perishable food donations go towards the AS Pantries, which assist SDSU students.

Not only did Payne emphasize the importance of the Aztecs Rock Hunger campaign but also concerns surrounding food insecurity growing on campus and how the Economic Crisis Response Team has chosen  to respond to these issues. 

“Because of the economy, thousands of students have trouble meeting their basic needs, and we help students who reach out and talk with them to understand their circumstances,” Payne said. “One of the resources ECRT utilizes to support them is grocery gift cards from the Aztecs Rock Hunger fund, so this campaign is important.”

Payne also spoke about how the Economic Crisis Response Team can provide access to campus resources if students are food or nutritional insecure. By either visiting the Basic Needs Center on the third floor of the Calpulli Center or their Instagram page @ecrtsdsu, students can gather information regarding food, housing, health care or financial education. 

“We’re here to support any SDSU student, and we want them to feel comfortable asking for this support because it’s here to help them,” Payne said. “They have the right to it as a student, so please reach out to the Economic Crisis Response Team if they need anything.”

Although the three week campaign is over, Aztecs Rock Hunger continues to urge students to take initiative against this crisis and reach out to those in their community that need their help. 

As the SDSU community continues to show passion and drive towards this campaign, Koch hopes that everyone takes each year as a learning experience to better serve the community in the future. 

“I just want everyone to keep learning from this campaign,” Koch said. “It’s all about breaking down those barriers of making sure that we can make the best impact that we can. So even though not everyone’s able to donate money or canned goods, even just word of mouth is the most important thing every year.” 

About the Contributors
Serena Neumeyer
Serena Neumeyer, '23-24 Social Media Editor
Serena Neumeyer (she/her/hers) is a fourth-year honors student studying journalism with a minor in interdisciplinary studies. Her passion for storytelling has driven her as a writer across different media platforms including newspaper, magazine and broadcast. She led the first multimedia team to cover the Rolling Loud music festival in Los Angeles where she made her social media debut and later joined the 2023-2024 editorial board as social media editor. Her social media management skills even extend beyond the Daily Aztec newsroom and to her role as social media coordinator for SDSU’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. This year, she worked collaboratively with talented writers and graphic designers to develop the first Journalism and Media Studies magazine, AMOR magazine, which explored the contemporary art scene on campus. For Neumeyer’s contributions as a student journalist, she was recognized by the San Diego Press Club Foundation and awarded with the Frank Saldana Memorial Scholarship.
Ryan Kehl, Staff Writer
Raised in North Philadelphia, Ryan is a senior majoring in journalism with an emphasis in advertising. He recently completed a copywriting internship at Motive and served as vice president of public affairs on the Professional Studies and Fine Arts College Council. His interests include "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," Meek Mill, "Rocky," and "Elden Ring," along with cheesesteak egg rolls and soft pretzels.
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San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
Aztecs Rock Hunger raises $109,676 to fight food and nutrition insecurity