COMMITMENT TO EQUITABLE + INCLUSIVE PROGRAMS

At the core of Swipe Out Hunger is an unwavering commitment that no student should have to choose between food and their degree. Making that vision a reality requires us to operate food security programs steeped in racial justice, equity, and inclusion. 

THE DATA

We already know that one in three students experience food insecurity, but when you begin to look deeper into the data, you learn what it means for students from marginalized groups, who struggle the most with basic needs insecurity: 

OUR VISION

By adhering to the below principles within our programs, we can build inclusive food security programs at the grassroots level, so as to incite it at the systemic level. We seek to support campuses with thoughtful and strategic tools to carry out equitable and inclusive programs, enabling higher education to eliminate the cycle of systemic inequality that yields student food insecurity on campuses across the United States. 

THE THREE PRINCIPLES

  • LEARNING + UNLEARNING

    To practice equity when advocating for basic needs, one must first advocate alongside those with the most need to be as inclusive and informed as possible. To begin, you must learn which campus communities struggle the most with accessing these resources, as well as educate yourself on any historical events and policies that trigger and continue to perpetuate such inequities.

    Continuous unlearning is also a key component of learning about these inequities. Unlearning refers to the process of acknowledging the subconscious beliefs we have internalized about a certain group that further perpetuates violence against that group, and then immediately committing to the work needed to correct our thinking and actions.

    Both learning and unlearning are lifelong commitments that should not require you to demand additional, uncompensated (emotional) labor from the communities that currently experience inequities.

  • COMMUNICATING

    Constantly check all lines of communication among those involved in basic needs advocacy efforts. Communication should be clear, respectful, transparent, and effective. Part of communication is active listening: listening to those who have firsthand experience with unmet basic needs and who do not benefit from a wide array of systemic privileges. 

    You must recognize and validate these experiences without centering yourself (especially if you come from a more privileged background) nor your actions and feelings. Thus, by authentically and actively listening to those who have been impacted directly, overly general and mass solutions are not presented and implemented without their input and at their expense. 

    These practices prevent the erasure of diverse groups of members and most importantly, it will ensure they are exercising their agency to advocate for what is best for themselves and their communities. 

  • COMMUNITY BUILDING

    Through gradual learning and unlearning combined with inclusive communication, a diverse community of students will be formed. As such, community building functions as a direct pathway to long-lasting campus change. The community can leverage their diverse experiences and multi-faceted identities to demonstrate the need for food security initiatives. A diverse community would feel empowered to advocate for sustainable food security policies and programs because it would align on a common goal: eliminating hunger on campus.
     
    A diverse coalition of people could also help to reduce the stigma associated with student hunger. Partnerships with different campus groups can be established so that educational initiatives aimed at fostering a dialogue about food insecurity stigma on campus are far-reaching and normalized.

RESOURCES FOR CAMPUSES

  • CASE STUDIES: PROGRAMS THAT CENTER RACIAL JUSTICE, DIVERSITY, EQUITY + INCLUSION

    Check out this list of campus partners that center racial justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion within their program design and model.

  • SWIPE SESSION: INCLUSIVE + EQUITABLE ANTI-HUNGER PROGRAMS

    In a December 2020 webinar, we heard from basic needs professionals like Andrea Gutierrez, Director of the FRESH Basic Needs Hub at University of California-Irvine, and Mary Sherman, former Mercy College Mav Market Program Coordinator, on ways to sustainably integrate these principles into holistic wellness-focused support services for students.

  • FACT SHEET ON OUR WORK

    Learn more about the Swipe Out Hunger movement, including our programs, reach, and impact to date.

  • ADVOCATING WITH DEI PRINCIPLES

    Following a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) advocacy framework provides an essential model for helping to structure the leadership, decision-making, and advocacy methods of campus leaders.