Hungry Hearts & Minds – Creating a Food Exchange Platform at Pace University

Food insecurity and sustainability are concepts that are most likely familiar to individuals living in New York City. The United States, on a broader scale, has a grave issue with feeding all citizens safe and nutritious food. In fact, a government study published in 2017 found that 1 in 6 Americans goes hungry. As a college student who has experienced food insecurity, I have a vested interest in the health and wellbeing of my peers. My commitment to supporting other low-income college students, is a part of the reason why I am thrilled to be working on a research project that explores food insecurity for University students, and seeks a pragmatic solution for students at Pace university.

I am working on this research project with Erin Furey of the LGBTQ and Social Justice Center. Our endeavor is entitled, “Hungry Hearts & Minds – Creating a Food Exchange Platform at Pace University.” The purpose of our project is to enact a pragmatic solution to the problem of student hunger on campus, which will be backed by our research and findings. We are exploring actionable concepts that would make redistribution of leftover food on campus (typically wasted) a reality.

Throughout this process, I expect to learn more about the immense impact food insecurity has on students. In one of the studies I’ve begun to delve into, the author states that, “Researchers have found associations between basic needs insecurity and poorer self-reported physical health, symptoms of depression, and higher perceived stress.” (Wisconsin Hope Lab) These findings come as no surprise to me, as I’ve often been more fatigued from a lack of accessible nutritious food, as well as stressed about money for meals. Higher education is a difficult enough journey; students should not have to grapple with the added stress of hunger pangs, and worries about how to access basic human needs.

The method that we will use to compile our research is a three-part literature review. We will explore the facts, statistics, and definitions surrounding food insecurity, how other institutions are attempting to combat food insecurity and create sustainable habits, and finally, where and how other Universities have put in place a system for food redistribution. I have already begun to search scholarly, research databases with the guidance of librarian Gina Levitan, and I look forward to investigating our topic further.

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