Congrats to the 2020-21 Cohort!

Yes, it is possible to create system level changes through Zoom. Our 13 incredible student leaders across nine campuses in this year’s Campus Hunger Project Cohort brought new resources to their campuses during a time where 3 in 5 college students nationwide are experiencing basic needs insecurity. Join us in congratulating and honoring the incredible work of these students who:

– Helped bring Swipe Out Hunger to Penn State and raised over $29,000 worth of extra meal points
– Created a guide for food resources and state-by-state SNAP enrollment for over winter break that was shared university-wide
– Got dozens of professors to add basic needs statements and resources to their syllabi
– Moved administration to create the first Break Advisory Group to ensure food is available for students year-round
– Partnered with the campus food pantry to bring awareness to SNAP benefits and support enrollment

Summary of Campus Hunger Project Cohort Campaigns 2020/21

Alyssa and Leah – Penn State University

Alyssa and Leah collaborated with Penn State’s campus food pantry, The Office of Student Care and Advocacy, and Residential Dining to bring Swipe Out Hunger to Penn State’s campus. As a result, Swipe Out Hunger became a part of the President’s Food and Housing Security Task Force recommendations. Penn State has since begun implementing swipe drives for students to be able to donate their dining dollars to help food-insecure classmates access free, nutritious meals on campus. 

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Anastasia – University Wisconsin Milwaukee

Anastasia’s campaign was the “Freedom Fridge Initiative”, which aimed to install a large refrigerator on the 1st floor of the UWM Student Union where, at day’s end, unsold food from campus restaurants could be placed for students to take home. The goal was to eliminate food waste and turn wasted food into meals for students.

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Ari – UMass Amherst

Ari’s cohort campaign was aiming to provide an easy way for professors to help out students in their classes who might be struggling with basic needs insecurity. She created a food resource guide and an email template, both of which were sent out to students. The students then contacted their own professors, asking them to include a clause on their class syllabi directing students to local basic needs resources. They have had responses from eight professors so far and are planning to continue the campaign into next

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Ava and Rebecca – Muhlenberg College

Ava and Rebecca worked closely with the Mule Cabinet to increase awareness about SNAP benefits so that people could see if they are eligible. In addition Ava and Rebecca are working with their Challah for Hunger chapter to give challah to the Mule Cabinet. This way, the Mule Cabinet will have access to delicious fresh food. Lastly Ava and Rebecca created an infographic that will be posted in the Mule Cabinet explaining what SNAP benefits are to increase awareness about SNAP. 

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Laura – UC Davis

Laura campaigned for making a link to basic needs resources on the Canvas homepage in order to make students more aware of resources available to them. The link on Canvas would direct students to a resource guide or to the Aggie Compass. She created a resource guide for the UC Davis student centered on the local area and used the guide as an example to campus admin for what it would look like. She also met with members from the Student Wellness Community of Practice such as Kristin Dees to try see how a canvas link could be implemented. 

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  • Oped waiting to be accepted in campus newspaper

Molly and Melanie – Middlebury College

This was Middlebury’s first year of the Cohort. It was a big accomplishment to just get food insecurity on students’ and faculty’s radar. In the fall, we created a winter food resource guide and a state-by-state SNAP application guide, which were advertised in an all-students email directly before our extended winter term. In the spring, we focused on meeting with student orgs from a variety of cultural, racial, and religious backgrounds to better assess students’ food needs. The year culminated in the Cohort pushing the administration to distribute a survey we hope will give us useful data regarding students’ struggles with food insecurity on campus.

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Randy – UC Berkeley

Randy’s campaign employs a multifaceted approach to addressing food insecurity on campus. First, by circulating a petition online to encourage professors to place resources addressing food insecurity on their syllabi, they increased accessibility and awareness of critical food resources for students needing food assistance. Secondly, he helped convene a food insecurity research board comprised of a multidisciplinary cohort of professors and students to implement actionable, scalable solutions to UC Berkeley’s food insecurity challenges in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the CfH board will commission a paper, op-eds, and research relating to food insecurity on Berkeley’s campus and discuss the best methods of confronting and addressing this challenge, particularly with regard to how it impacts minority communities. They started with the history department and will work their way through to the entire campus. The dual goals of this campaign would ultimately center the needs and experiences of those most affected by food insecurity as a way of informing our goals and would thus benefit those experiencing food insecurity by informing them of potential opportunities to receive food at various locations. 

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Sophie – Vassar College

Sophie’s campaign this year focused on keeping existing sources of healthy food open for students year round. The Gordon Commons (commonly known as the Deece) has historically closed for the Winter and Spring breaks and has only been partially open during the summer. After sending out our second annual campus-wide food security survey, they concluded from the data that keeping the Gordon Commons open year round would be the most equitable and efficient method of fighting hunger on our campus. 

With the survey results to back up our claims, thirty student organizations came together to form a letterhead coalition and sent a sign-on letter to the Vassar administration, the President of the College as well as several Deans and the Manager of the Gordon Commons. In their letter, they outlined three basic demands: 1) keep the Gordon Commons open yearround, 2) ensure that all packaged foods are adequately labeled with all ingredients, and 3) to support student-led communication between students and administrators and to foster transparency in decision making. 

In the future, Challah for Hunger will have at least one representative on the newly negotiated Break Advisory Group. They will work with other student organizations to ensure that student representation remains high on this committee and that students themselves facilitate the meetings and manage the agenda. 

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Sarah – Butler University

Her primary campaign goal was making professors more aware of student basic needs insecurity and equipping them with the resources to help students experiencing these struggles. She wanted professors to understand that food insecurity is a hidden problem at Butler University and other campuses across America. Professors may not see this problem because some students are ashamed of their situations. However, professors are often the most helpful resources available to students once they are aware of the student’s respective situations. She tried to create an environment free of stigma surrounding food and housing insecurity, making students more comfortable seeking help. My Campus Resource Guide allows students to find resources in a more private manner if they are not comfortable directly asking for assistance. She has increased awareness of food and housing insecurity, how to offer support, and Challah for Hunger as an organization among faculty and students.

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