Motion Introduced by: University Senate Student and Faculty Policy Committee
Date of First Read: March 1, 2021
Date of Second Read: March 29, 2021
Title of Motion: Resolution Supporting Promoting Food Security for Students
Action Requested: The University Academic Council (UAC) recommends the approval of this resolution.
WHEREAS, Arizona State University is measured not by whom we exclude, but rather whom we include and how they succeed, and by assuming fundamental responsibility for the economic, social, cultural and overall health of the communities it serves;
WHEREAS, Arizona State University students are struggling with food insecurity and may be choosing between eating and paying for tuition/books/rent/other basic needs and is a student retention concern;
WHEREAS, food insecurity disproportionately affects students of color with nationwide statistics of 57% of Black students and 56% of Latino students reporting food insecurity and ASU released the list of 25 Points to support Black students, faculty and staff on September 2, 2020 noting actions include promoting student success and well-being among Black students and all students of color;
WHEREAS, Educational Outreach and Student Services (EOSS) has a basic needs website, but many students are not aware of the resources available to them through the university and may not feel comfortable revealing their need for food to university administration;
WHEREAS, the service and mutual-aid student organization (Pitchfork Pantry) addressing food insecurity has seen growing numbers of students during COVID-19, but does not have access to a dedicated physical space on each campus;
WHEREAS, theASU Senate remains committed to supporting all students inside and outside of the classroom in regards to basic needs.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Arizona State University Senate, representing members of the Academic Assembly,
- supports the establishment of a basic needs coalition including leadership from across the university, students and community leaders to identify key resources within the university and surrounding community for each campus and expand upon the current basic needs website;
- supports the establishment of a physical food pantry (Pitchfork Pantry) on each campus with a mobile inventory so students can “shop” online for, and later pick up their foods at their desired location;
- supports the hire of a full-time staff member to support/oversee food pantry operations, employ graduate and undergraduate student workers, and assemble a team of student volunteer workers (Pitchfork Pantry) and/or AmeriCorps volunteer(s);
- remains committed to proactively support EOSS and their efforts to improve access to basic needs services (pantry, meal cards) and resources (emergency aid information) on the Student Advocacy and Assistance website and through marketing channels to students;
- supports faculty by including a statement on course syllabi regarding available basic needs resources and including the link to the ASU Student Advocacy and Assistance website;
- supports EOSS in assisting eligible students in signing up for federal aid programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP);
- will actively circulate this resolution to all members of the University community, including students, staff, and faculty;
- will, in addition to urging these actions by university administration, seek to identify concrete and specific steps that can be taken by individual faculty to address these concerns; and
- will seek to continue to raise awareness of food insecurity as a significant and widespread concern affecting ASU students’ learning.
Food insecurity is defined as lack of reliable access to sufficient quantities of affordable, safe, and nutritious food. Food insecurity not only affects the general public - 10.5% of US households reported food insecurity in 2019 (USDA) (higher now with COVID) - it also affects students in two- and four-year institutions. Food insecurity negatively impacts the educational experience as it is hard to concentrate when hungry or worrying about finances and it can compromise students’ ability to perform well in their classes (Maroto). In extreme cases, food (and financial) insecurity leads to poor student retention.
According to the 2018 Government Accountability Office (GAO) Report (United States GAO) and 2016 Hunger on Campus Report (Dubick), 30% of college students are food insecure; 56% of food insecure students are working; 75% of food insecure students receive financial aid; and 43% of food insecure students have a meal plan. Food insecure students also report experiencing some type of housing insecurity. These indicators underscore the need for tiered and multiple forms of support for students. These numbers are disproportionately higher among students of color with 57% of Black students and 56% of Latino students reporting food insecurity (Dubick). Research has also shown that students receiving Pell grant awards were more likely to be food insecure (El Zein).
Arizona State University (ASU) recently (October 2020) participated in the Hope Center Survey that collects data about students’ basic needs to inform efforts to provide support structures. The survey results are expected in March 2021 and will provide much needed data to support ongoing efforts. The previous Hope Survey published in 2018 from 66 two and four-year colleges (not including ASU) noted that 40% of students at four-year institutions couldn’t afford to eat balanced meals and 44% worried whether their food would run out before they obtained money to buy more (Goldrick-Rab).
The Arizona State University (ASU) charter states that we are measured by whom we include (not exclude) and how they succeed (Office of the President, ASU Charter). The goals from the Office of the President include statements of academic excellence and accessibility. ASU is also committing to 25 actions to support Black students, faculty and staff; one of those actions include promoting student success and well-being among Black students and all students of color (Office of the President, 25 points). If students are food insecure, they cannot reach their full academic potential; if food insecurity is affecting students of color at higher rates, then there is work to be done to achieve the ASU charter and 25 actions.
The Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) established a working group to focus on food and housing insecurity due to concerns brought to the board at the October 2, 2020 meeting (ABOR News). The group consists of leaders from University of Arizona (UA), Northern Arizona University (NAU) and ASU. The leaders will gather data and establish best practices to serve students. UA and NAU both have food pantries operated by the university and staffed by a full-time staff member (UA), graduate students, and student volunteers. Arizona State University has a food pantry (Pitchfork Pantry) which operates as a student service organization and is not marketed nor fully supported by the university.
The University Senate Student-Faculty Policy Committee supports the goal of supporting food insecure students with student-led, on-campus efforts to provide food and additional resources to students, thereby abiding by the ASU Charter and 25 Points.
ABOR News. 2020, October 5. 10 02 20 Board Meeting. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6tq_UTeRY24
Associated Students of ASU (ASASU). (2020). The Council of Presidents Priorities.
Arizona State University. (2019). New American University; Toward 2025 and Beyond. Arizona State University. https://president.asu.edu/sites/default/files/asu_charter_jan_2019_web_0.pdf
Arizona State University Office of the President. (2020, September 2). ASU’s commitment to Black students, faculty and staff. Statements from President Crow.
Bruening M., Brennhofer S., van Woerden I., Todd M., Laska M. (2016)
Factors Related to the High Rates of Food Insecurity among Diverse, Urban College Freshmen. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 116(9) 1450-1457.
Dubick J., Mathews B., Cady C. (2016). Hunger on Campus; The Challenges of Food Insecurity for College Students. Students Against Hunger.
El Zein, A., Shelnutt, K.P., Colby, S. et al. (2019). Prevalence and correlates of food insecurity among U.S. college students: a multi-institutional study. BMC Public Health 19, 660. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-019-6943-6
Goldrick-Rab S., Richardson J., Schneider J., Hernandez A., Cady C. (2018). Still Hungry and Homeless in College. Wisconsin Hope Lab.
Maroto, Maya. (2013). Food Insecurity Among Community College Students: Prevalence and Relationship to GPA, Energy and Concentration. Community College Journal of Research and Practice. 39 (6), 515-526.
United States Government Accountability Office. (2018). Food Insecurity: Better Information Could Help Eligible College Students Access Federal Food Assistance Benefits. GAO. https://www.gao.gov/assets/700/696254.pdf
USDA Economic Research Service. (2020, Dec 16). Food Security and Nutrition Assistance. United States Department of Agriculture. https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/ag-and-food-statistics-charting-the-essentials/food-security-and-nutrition-assistance/#:~:text=In%202019%2C%2089.5%20percent%20of,than%202018%20(11.1%20percent).