VISTA Voices: Marie Dillivan

Marie Dillivan is a second year AmeriCorps VISTA member who will be serving with Campus Compact for Southern New England to build capacity in addressing food insecurity on campuses. 

As an AmeriCorps VISTA serving with Massachusetts Campus Compact, I’ve spent the last year focusing my work on food insecurity in higher education. The issue of food insecurity on campus has been receiving increasing attention from campus administrators, students, national organizations, the media, and policy makers in recent years, and we wanted to figure out how we could support our member campuses in addressing this problem and supporting student retention.

During my first year as a VISTA, I created a comprehensive database of what, where, and how member institutions in Massachusetts are providing food and housing support for students. I visited campuses to learn more about how they are carrying out this work, including the UMass Boston U-ACCESS Office and the Mount Wachusett Community College Student SOS Office. We worked with Bunker Hill Community College to support the Voices of Hunger event which drew over 100 attendees from around the Commonwealth to discuss food insecurity on campus and hear a keynote speech from Sara Goldrick-Rab. 

As I l begin my second year serving in this role and move into serving Campus Compact for Southern New England, I look forward to the opportunities that will be provided to us as a result of the merger of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island Campus Compacts. As a tri-state network, Campus Compact for Southern New England will have the opportunity to bring together institutions working to address food insecurity on their campus from across the region to share insight and examples of practice and to continue raising awareness.

To close my first year of service, CCSNE recently published a new webpage including information that I have collected and curated to support anyone wanting to learn more about campus insecurity, interventions to support food insecure students, and organizations and partners in the work. Campuses can also fill out the form on the page to tell us about their projects. I’m excited about possibilities for the next year and working alongside the many CCSNE VISTA members that will be working on projects related to basic needs insecurity.

Interested in learning more about Marie’s project? Email her at mdillivan@compact.