Campus Hunger

While civic engagement traditionally looks at the issue of hunger outside of the institution, Campus Compact of Southern New England believes that these initiatives can look inward to the campus community to support work addressing issues of campus food insecurity and supporting student retention. On issues such as food insecurity, CCSNE works with our member institutions to share knowledge and develop a collective capacity to resolve issues affecting student success and engagement.

Community and civic engagement offices can work to align themselves with on-campus efforts to support at-risk students and the wider community of the campus. When these projects are aimed at impacting retention, institutions can apply to host an AmeriCorps VISTA from CCSNE to support this work. Our goal is to provide examples of practice and resources to support campus initiatives.aimed at food and housing insecurity and to help community engagement participate in these efforts.

Member Campus Program Examples

Bristol Community College partners with the Greater Boston Food Bank to host GBFB’s Mobile Food Market on their campus. The Mobile Food Market is free to all BCC students, faculty, staff, and community members.

GCC’s food pantry works in partnership with Franklin County Community Meals Inc. to provide support for both immediate and long term food resources to Greenfield to students and staff. Their website also includes information about events with free food happening on campus.

An actual school bus renovated into a pantry and parked on campus, the Magic Food Bus seeks to alleviate the challenges of food insecurity faced by college students and their families. The bus provides non-perishable food items, toiletries, and other items to MxCC students and staff. The bus is operated by the students of the college, with management provided by MCC students in the Human & Family Services Studies program who provide leadership to the project while also receiving course credit. 

At MWCC, the Students Serving Our Students (SOS) Office housed within the Brewer Center for Civic Learning and Community Engagement provides information and referrals to students regarding food insecurity, financial assistance, transportation issues, childcare, housing, and more by utilizing student mentors, who are volunteers or earning their hours for a service learning course at the college, to help other students locate resources on campus and in the community. The Student SOS Office is working on the development of a food pantry in partnership with the Gardner CAC on the MWCC campus.

The Pantry @NCC seeks to alleviate the barriers and challenges associated with food insecurity and hunger so that students can remain in school, and ultimately, earn their degrees. Through a pantry located in the main building on campus that is supported by student volunteers and through donations from members of both the NCC and surrounding communities, this program provides food to students without documentation of need.

CAS is a student service center that works to connect students with federal and state financial resources, community based organizations, and other support services to help them overcome non-academic barriers that may be impacting their ability to stay in school. CAS operates the Ram Cupboard emergency food pantry and also provides SNAP application assistance, meal cards, and much more.

The U-ACCESS Office at UMass Boston collaborates with resources on campus and in the Greater Boston area to alleviate students’ struggles with food and housing insecurity among many other issues. U-ACCESS Offers case management, information and resource referral, a food pantry, and has a resource guide online for students.

UMass Dartmouth’s Office of Student Affairs sponsors Arnie’s Cupboard, a food pantry to support UMass Dartmouth students, faculty, and staff experiencing food insecurity. Arnie’s Cupboard aims to “encourage student engagement to foster a sense of community, volunteerism and service to peers on campus”.

The Navigators, a UMass Lowell student organization, created the food pantry and have operated it on a very restricted budget, with little space and resources and partners with Student Affairs. The purpose of the food pantry is to supply free food items for any member of the UMass Lowell community who may be experiencing hunger and struggling to buy food.

The Common Goods food pantry at Westfield State University serves students, faculty, and staff experiencing food insecurity with an “open shelf” style and no limit on usage. It has non-perishable, fresh, and frozen food items as well as basic necessities. The pantry is supported by many community partners and offices on campus.


Food and Housing Insecurity on Campus

School-Specific Studies, Reports & Interventions