LAWRENCE — In response to a 2017 study that found 54 percent of undergraduate students at the University of Kansas can be identified as “food insecure,” KU has launched a new initiative to address food and nutrition insecurity on the Lawrence campus. This summer the Office of the Vice Provost for Student Affairs appointed a standing Food Insecurity Committee with key stakeholders to address food insecurity issues on campus.
Charges for the committee include the following:
- Conducting a needs assessment on current emergency assistance resources on campus
- Duplicating the food insecurity research project to better understand faculty, staff and graduate students' food security status.
- Collaborating with key departments on campus to educate the campus community on campus resources.
- Developing a strategic campaign to share research on food insecurity rates at KU
- Developing proposals for universitywide policy and procedural changes to impact change.
As part of this initiative, KU has established a new website at www.hunger.ku.edu to help members of the campus community learn more about the challenges of food and nutrition insecurity and identify resources that can improve current conditions. Information about current research, educational opportunities, food assistance resources, and committee membership is available on the site.
The Food Insecurity Committee will merge with the campus organization KU Fights Hunger and will continue to address many of the organization’s goals, especially those related to raising awareness about local hunger and identifying resources to assist members of the campus community. The annual food drive and hunger summit, once coordinated by the organization, will continue to be supported by the KU Center for Sustainability.
This year’s food drive kicked off on Monday, October, 16th and will continue through October 31. Over 25 donation sites have been set up throughout campus to collect nonperishable food items. All donations will benefit Just Food, the food bank that serves Douglas County and helps to provide food for over 11,000 members of our community. The KU Bookstore is also promoting an Add a Dollar Campaign, allowing customers at the KU Bookstore and Hawk Shop locations throughout campus to donate $1 to Just Foods as part of their purchase. Locations include the KU Bookstore, Jayhawk Ink, and Hawk Shop at the Kansas Union, Wescoe Hawk Shop, Art & Design Supply Store at Chalmers Hall, and the Original Rules Gift Shop at the DeBruce Center.
Just Food supports the Campus Cupboard food pantry coordinated by KU’s Center for Community Outreach. Located in the Lutheran Campus Ministries (LCM), the pantry is open to campus and community members every Thursday from 4 to 7 pm. A free meal is also served at LCM on Thursday evenings starting at 6pm.
As the work of the Food Insecurity Committee takes shape, the group plans to keep the campus informed through the new website. The committee can also be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.