UML’s Strive to Improving Food Insecurity on Campus

Final Capstone project by Diana Morillo and Jade L. Caldwell

Reflection by Diana Morillo

The desire to help people and leave an impact was a strong motivator for me to intern for Student Life and Wellbeing on campus, as their mission and values are in line with mine. During this time, I had the opportunity to not only collaborate with the Student Life and Wellbeing on campus but also the UML strive pantry to fight against food insecurity on campus. The program aims to provide students with the resources and support they need to succeed at college through a holistic approach that integrates several components to maximize a person’s wellbeing (UML Wellbeing, 2022). The office of Student Life and Wellbeing has identified these components as emotional health, financial health, intellectual health, spiritual health, physical health, occupational health, environmental health, and social health. These are all important components of health in order to effectively address the needs of students who are experiencing a level of financial distress or have been unable to meet their basic needs, such as food security.

As an intern, my responsibility began with conducting research that would gather relevant data to translate into actionable insights with the purpose of improving food insecurity on campus. After a great deal of research and attending the National Anti-Hunger Conference, I became more aware of the need to improve the understanding of food insecurity to reduce the stigma, but also understand its effect on students not only outside the campus but also on campus. The research began with food insecurity, but it ultimately evolved into bridging the financial gap to access food through financial literacy. The reason is, that financial literacy is a critical component in food security, yet, 40 percent of four-year students reported struggling with basic financial literacy (NASFAA, 2018). This lack of financial literacy can be attributed to the fact that schools do not provide adequate financial education for students, so it is imperative for colleges to take on the initiative of implementing a financial literacy program to help students become financially literate (Financial Educators Council, 2022). With that being said, students could benefit from a financial literacy program to help reduce the risk of food insecurity.