How a Group of Universities Plans to Combat Student Hunger

An initiative organized by a coalition of ten Alabama universities has been awarded $500,000 in their efforts to end student hunger in the state. The Auburn University Hunger Solutions Institute has been awarded a grant to continue their efforts to ensure that students have access to healthy and nutritious food that’s also affordable.

This grant was awarded by the Nonprofit Educational Credit Management Corporation Foundation and was awarded to this ten-university initiative, otherwise referred to as Alabama Campus Coalition for Basic Needs.  The goal of this grant is for the Alabama Campus Coalition for Basic Needs to ensure that students can prosper by ensuring that they have their basic nutritional needs met. 

Here’s how this will work: each campus has built, or will build its own coalition on campus during the 2019-2020 school year. On each campus this coalition will examine all the food needs and shortages, and address the scope of available resources and current scarcity on campus. By gathering and assessing this data, each university and coalition can then create a campus action plan that will address what needs to be done to mitigate the shortage. These plans will be enacted next summer. 

Researchers will examine how each university is doing in terms of addressing these issues specifically in terms of food insecurity, as well as utilizing current campus resources properly, and the actual outcomes for students. The initiative will also share all collected data and outcomes with Universities across the country, in the hopes of making every single campus, a zero hunger campus, where students can focus on their studies and careers instead of food scarcity. 

The first initiative under the Hunger Solutions umbrella was crafted earlier this year, End Hunger in Alabama, actually created the Alabama Campus Coalition for Basic Needs, the ten-school coalition that is being awarded this $500,000 grant. The schools that are under this umbrella are: Alabama A&M University, Alabama State University, Auburn University, Jacksonville State University, Troy University, Tuskegee University, University of Alabama, University of North Alabama, and the University of South Alabama

Director of the Office of Service Learning and Undergraduate Research at The University of Alabama, Amy Hutson Chatham, had this to say about the coalition receiving the grant funding from Nonprofit Educational Credit Management Corporation Foundation: “UAB is excited to work collaboratively with the nine other Alabama universities to assess food security among college students, and to have the opportunity to create a campus-specific project to address the unique needs of UAB students”. Hopefully this is the beginning of a great and flourishing relationship that will benefit students for decades to come. 

By Lianne Hikind

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