Working to end food insecurity at KU

History

Food for Jayhawks is a group of KU students, faculty, and staff who are committed to taking action to reduce food insecurity among KU students.

The group developed from a previous group called KU Fights Hunger, which KU Fights Hunger existed as a campus organization dedicated to raising awareness about hunger in Douglas County, promoting hunger-related activities and events at KU, and helping to engage the campus community in the fight against hunger.

In 2017, a student member of KU Fight Hunger surveyed a sample of KU undergraduates for his Senior Thesis with support from the Office of Student Affairs. That study concluded that 54 percent of the respondents could be identified as “food insecure.” That finding was alarming. Student Affairs  launched a new standing committee of key stakeholders to address food and nutrition insecurity on the Lawrence campus.

Charges for the committee included the following:

  • Conduct a needs assessment on current emergency assistance resources on campus.
  • Replicate and expand the food insecurity research project to better understand faculty, staff and graduate students' food security status.
  • Collaborate with key departments on campus to educate the campus community on campus resources.
  • Develop a strategic campaign to share research on food insecurity rates at KU.
  • Develop proposals for university policy and procedural changes to impact change.

The Food Insecurity Committee merged with the campus organization KU Fights Hunger and accomplished several key objectives in its first year – including conducting additional research, creation of an on-campus food pantry (Campus Cupboard), a plan to develop a “meal assistance plan” with KU Dining Services, and expanded training and awareness of SNAP benefits among KU staff members working in positions likely to connect with students experiencing food insecurity (Financial Aid, Watkins Health Services).

The Committee adopted the new name and branding Food for Jayhawks in the summer of 2018.


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