On Friday, May 11, 2018, over 200 participants representing over 80 institutions and organizations came together at Worcester State University for Voices of Hunger on Campus: Meaningful Change Together. This regional summit on food insecurity in higher education was an action-oriented day and forum for the exchange of ideas, challenges, and best practices related to addressing student hunger.
We were joined in the morning by Carlos Santiago, Commissioner for Higher Education for Massachusetts, and Sara Goldrick-Rab, Founder of the Wisconsin HOPE Lab who presented the results of the Wisconsin HOPE Lab’s survey of Massachusetts public higher education.
Sara Goldrick-Rab reminded us that “food and housing security are preconditions for successful learning at all levels” and that food and housing insecurity disproportionately affects certain groups of students.
Participants then chose from breakout sessions facilitated by practitioners from around the region who shared their programming and knowledge on how to support college students experiencing food insecurity in many different ways including campus pantries, SNAP enrollment, meal swipe programs, food recovery, campus farms, advocacy work, community partnerships, and more.
During lunch, Congressman Jim McGovern of the second district of Massachusetts spoke about the Farm Bill and gathered participants for a group photo, and he and the Worcester Food Policy Council paused the program for participants to call their representatives to advocate for addressing hunger.
Clare Cady, Co-Founder and Director of the College and University Food Bank Alliance, spoke in the afternoon discussing the important of advocacy and service and facilitated action-planning discussion tables. Finally, we ended the day with commitment cards and sharing CCSNE’s commitment to addressing campus food security. Participants shared plans for many different action steps going forward. Some of these included raising awareness of the issue on their campus or in their community, incorporating advocacy around student food insecurity into programming, partnering with community organizations to support students, and more.