Fuel Higher Ed

Join us in advocating for fundamental, universal, equitable, long-term state and federal solutions to campus hunger and #FUELHigherEd

FUNDAMENTAL CHANGE

The most recent national study, published by Temple University’s Hope Center in February 2020, reports 39% of college students are food insecure.

 Defined by the USDA as having limited or uncertain access to adequate food, food insecurity has been proven to have a negative impact on students’ mental health (causing such problems as lower cognition rates, anger or anxiety leading to prolonged psychological distress, and more) and has damaging long term effects including worse health outcomes, lower academic performance, and lower graduation rates than for those who are food secure. This means the effects of food insecurity have both immediate and long-term consequences.

While this web of struggles can seem daunting to untangle, everyone from medical professionals to social workers agree that a person’s basic needs–food and housing–need to be met first for any other intervention to have a lasting impact.

 

UNIVERSAL ACCESS

Campus food insecurity is a problem of allocation not scarcity. Colleges and universities produce twenty-two million pounds of food waste every year and many campuses’ exorbitantly priced meal plans and limited dining hall hours result in millions of unused meal swipes every semester.

 NAZUN, national leadership development organization, spearheading this campaign, launched an initiative in 2016 called the Campus Hunger Project to build and train a movement of students to bridge the gap between campus services and students in need. We believe no student should have to choose between food and their education.

 #FUELHigherEd is the next step in building our movement by galvanizing our network of 100+ local and national organizations behind this campaign.

While this web of struggles can seem daunting to untangle, everyone from medical professionals to social workers agree that a person’s basic needs–food and housing–need to be met first for any other intervention to have a lasting impact.

EQUITABLE OPPORTUNITY

A 2019 GAO report confirmed what researchers have known for decades: the image of a traditional college student — enrolled right out of high school, financially dependent on their parents, unemployed — is outdated. Today:

  • The national average age for first enrollment is 21 and the overall average age of undergraduates is 26.
  • 50% of enrolled college students are financially independent.
  • 39% come from low-income households.
  • 22% have dependent children and 14% are single parents.
  • 25% work full-time and 64% work part-time while carrying full course loads.

 Add to this soaring tuition costs, stagnated income levels, and shrinking federal and state aid, and students’ ability to afford their basic needs —like stable housing and regular access to enough food — is in crisis.

 #FUELHigherEd is the next step in building our movement by galvanizing our network of 100+ local and national organizations behind this campaign.

While this web of struggles can seem daunting to untangle, everyone from medical professionals to social workers agree that a person’s basic needs–food and housing–need to be met first for any other intervention to have a lasting impact.

LONG-TERM SOLUTION

Every state has different sanitation laws around repurposed food and varying eligibility requirements for state and federal assistance such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and every college has its own policies regarding food access on campus including meal plan requirements, dining hall hours, rolling over unused meal swipes, etc. This is why #FUELHigherEd is guided by three principles:

– 1 –
Students themselves need to be at the forefront of determining solutions.

– 2 –
SNAP needs to be expanded and eligibility restrictions for college students lifted. 

– 3 –
States need to fill the gap SNAP doesn’t cover by increasing funding for campus interventions through Hunger Free Campus Legislation.

WHAT IS THE COHORT?

Through Nazun’s national leadership training program, The Cohort, a select group of student leaders, annually creates and implements campaigns and interventions on their campuses to address the issue of campus food insecurity. Interested in applying for, learning more about, or nominating someone to be a part of next year’s Cohort?

Email jeffrey@nazun.org

FAQs

What is the goal of this campaign?

Campus hunger is a far-reaching issue rooted in structural injustice which disproportionately affects already marginalized communities like students of color, LGBTQIA+ students, and students from low-income households.

However, we can meaningfully lessen rates of food insecurity by increasing student eligibility for SNAP benefits (which gives recipients funds to purchase groceries) and increase the number of resources colleges can provide students to meet their basic needs (like food and housing).

The goal of this campaign is to pass and protect federal legislation that removes barriers for students to access SNAP and introduce Hunger Free Campus Grant legislation in all 50 states.

What kind of resources do you offer?

We have a variety of resources spanning from information about student SNAP eligibility, recorded webinars on advocacy training, and advocacy toolkits to help you get started to #FUELHigherEd.

What is the Campus Hunger Project

The Campus Hunger Project is Challah for Hunger’s national initiative to combat campus food insecurity by providing student leaders with the tools and skills to create or improve resources for food insecure students on individual college campuses. You can learn more about the Campus Hunger Project here.

Where can I find more info about campus food insecurity?

Can I/my organization really make a difference?

YES.

Social action researchers and organizers with decades of experience popularized a model for effective social movements in the late 1990s called the Movement Action Plan (MAP) Model. Their analysis of dozens of effective social movements across multiple continents showed that to turn the tide on an issue and move powerholders to action requires public opinion in support of the movement’s demands be at 30%. This means every tweet at an elected official, email to your Congressmember, petition signed by all 1,000 members of your organization, informational Facebook post, and more add up.

We don’t need everyone on our side to win, but we need some. Any action you take to highlight the pervasiveness of campus food insecurity and the goals of this campaign will help turn the tide.

What does it mean to join the campaign?

Joining the campaign means you are committed to our goals and principles and willing to publicly endorse the #FUELHigherEd campaign. As a campaign sponsor, your organization will gain:​

  1. Advocacy trainings to equip your audiences with the knowledge and tools to implement our campaign’s goals, such as Leveraging Research to Effect Policy, SNAP & College Students, and Building Collective Power.

  2. Opportunities to further engage your audience and volunteers in direct advocacy actions.

  3. Monthly gatherings with other #FUELHigherEd partners to share and coordinate your advocacy efforts within the campaign. Opportunities to share actions and advocacy wins with a national network.

  4. Increased visibility of your organization on a national scale

I'd like to get involved as an individual. How can I take action?

  • College students can join one of our working groups that meet monthly to help move our campaign goals forward. Learn more here.

  • Use our Advocacy Toolkits to write letters, engage your community, and build power.

  • Read and share the resources above and our page on Student SNAP Eligibility.

  • Sign up for our newsletter. We’ll share ongoing updates about the campaign and regular advocacy actions you can take to raise awareness on the issue and compel policymakers to pass our policy priorities.