Core Problem: Current Dining Programs are structured with administrators and share holders in mind, not students.
Needs of food insecure students
Messaging around the true cost of school so students can almost predict food insecurity and also feel like they’re not alone.
- challenge is schools don’t want to look any more unaffordable or untrustworthy. Revealing this would have to become an industry standard.
- Student needs a support system. A person they know they can go to to get resources across the board and also connect to on a human level (ie a social worker) concierge.
- challenge: there is no job description for this, funding for it, not built into current model/system so how would student find find this person (hopefully through referral from professor).
SNAP– getting students connected to this
- this isn’t an actual solution and we don’t really like this label
Actual food: providing on campus food closets, access to subsidized meals because your only options shouldn’t be a $10 sandwich or the food closet.
- problems: schools want to support students most in need and avoid abuse of resource but that often infringes on the anonymity students desire. Food closet and other resources are stigmatized.
Current resources for FIS
1. Food Closet which often takes the shape of:
1. Room with an unlocked door students freely access
2. A manned room with hours and a login require (even if anonymous).
3. Pre-bagged food students approved can pick up
4. Frequenting a neighboring (vs on campus) food closet.
Bright spots: U-Access (UMass Boston) + Houston Food Bank’s food scholarship program
problems with food closets: decentralized, red tape around receiving donations, requirements around food safety, abuse of resource, there often isn’t staff dedicated, on campus politics
2. Financial aid: helps students by covering large-small costs of college, emergency funding as a resource, students misuse financial aid.
3. Crisis response teams at universities who identify and support students
4. Institutions doing research on this unstructured problem.