Research is not just about writing, there’s so many different properties that go into it in order to complete a thorough research project. This research program has not only informed me about different techniques to complete research, but it also taught me about myself. My topic was Food Insecurity on College Campuses, which is very important in this current society. More attention needs to be brought to college students and their constant battle with food and possible resources that are available to them. We started off this research project wanting to do a focus group of 6 to 10 commuter students to hear what their opinions about the food pantry on campus and their thoughts about food insecurity in their personal life and college life are. However, that plan did not work out for the best, so we had to alter some of the project due to the time crunch. We went from expecting a focus group to expecting 4 to 6 individuals who would do a small interview and answer questions about food insecurity and the mobile food pantry. Luckily, we were able to score a couple of individuals who agreed to participate in the data collection. Since we gathered the amount of data that we wanted, we could now proceed to the transcribing of the interviews and including it in our literature review. Even though we had to change our research project a little, we were still able to gather the amount of information that we wanted but with a smaller number of people. Now we are almost done with the research project and ready to present it soon!
Throughout the entire process, my faculty mentor was there to give support when needed. We stayed in constant communication with one another about the process of recruiting people to engage in the interview stage and the process of getting the IRB approved. We met every week at the same time to discuss plans and actions that needed to take place in order to get things moving. It was a great experience and it was beneficial to have someone to help along with the process.
We have made great progress since last semester being that our IRB was finally approved. The process of waiting for the IRB approval was dreading but the patience has paid off. We used our time wisely by working on the literature review and finding new information about food insecurity on college campuses. Some of the topics that have been associated with food insecurity in previous articles and studies are: mental health, financial factors, academic performance and more. Each of these topics are effected when a students’ food security level is low. I have learned through some results from the studies in which students with food insecurity were experiencing depression and high levels of anxiety. My faculty advisor and I worked closely together on the literature review to make sure that our argument was strong.
With the IRB being approved, we had to revamp our study a little bit. The study changed from gathering a wide group of students to gathering only about seven to ten students to conduct a small focus group. The questions that was gathered from the previous studies will be used to promote discussion amongst the participants in the focus group. I am currently working with the Student Development and Campus Activities (SDCA) office to find out what’s the best way to market and reach out to the commuters here on the Pleasantville campus.
To start the research, first we needed to find out what other studies have been done. The literature review process has been very helpful in finding out the patterns in what populations have been affected by food insecurity in college students. There are several factors that are important in food insecurity such as demographics, family income, financial aid and more. Our next step was to submit an IRB so we could collecting data on campus from students. Unfortunately, we have not been able to collect data and our projected timeline has been pushed back due to the IRB needing time to be approved. It takes about 8 weeks or so to get the IRB approved, if not expedited.
Nevertheless, the time spent waiting for the IRB to be approved have been used wisely on finding more articles and literature to further strengthen our research paper. What’s great about the literature is that new information is always being put out every couple months. It seems as if more college campuses are becoming aware of the problem of food insecurity and college students. I’ve been working closely with my faculty mentor to gather the most recent studies that were done on other campuses. We found great literature about a college who have brought a food pantry to their campus and the effects it had on food insecurity in students.
Over the years, there have been various studies of food insecurity on college campuses. Food Insecurity is defined as when an individual does not have access to the foods that benefit their needs and they are eating a poor low-quality diet that will have an effect on their overall health. To be food secure means that an individual has access to food that holds nutritional value. The goal of this project is to examine the relationship between food insecurity and the college students at the Pace University — Pleasantville Campus. The project would bring awareness to the fact that college students are making harsh decisions between eating a nutritional meal and other activities such as paying bills, buying textbooks for class and more. The objective is to acknowledge that there are steps that can be taken in order to decrease food insecurity on college campuses. One of the ways that can be done is to meet with your local food bank and discuss having a mobile food pantry come on campus to distribute fresh food and produce to students. The fresh food and produce that are distributed could promote healthy eating lifestyles as well as time management for cooking meals for the self.
From this project, I expect to learn about the different techniques to improve food security not only for college students but for other people as well. Food insecurity is a sensitive topic due to having to asking information about their household, eating habits, and other personal things such as job wages. To examine the relationship between food insecurity and college students, I plan to conduct a study. I have created a survey with questions asking about a wide variety of things from demographics to mental health.