Food For Thought: Food Insecurity on Roanoke College’s Campus

Author: Bennet Franz
Major: Public Health Studies
Approved: Spring 2020
Status: In progress

Food insecurity is an issue that impacts tens of thousands of college students each year at schools around the United States. Being food insecure impacts a student’s grades, social life, and health, all of which can be detrimental to their overall well-being. College students are a uniquely vulnerable population, one that has to find a way to pay for basic expenses like food and housing, all while balancing the cost of school. This delicate balancing act frequently falls apart and students are forced to make a choice that no one should: pay for school or pay for food. Studies show that food insecurity rates for college students are considerably higher than for other populations, nationally hovering around 41 percent for four-year college students. My project seeks to examine rates of food insecurity on Roanoke College’s campus and to implement a program aimed at helping food insecure students not have to choose between school and food. I plan to implement a program that will allow students with excess meal swipes the chance to donate them. These donated swipes will then go into a “bank” of swipes that can be requested by students facing food insecurity. Following implementation, I plan to study program usage and conduct research to identify ways in which to maximize the impact of the program. The goal of this project is multifaceted: to end food insecurity on Roanoke College’s campus while promoting a culture of inclusion and campus involvement in the vital arena of public health.