The Pacific Index

Survey brings awareness to food insecurity

Victoria Hampton

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One side effect of being a college student is stress. Cramming for tests, pulling all-nighters and maintaining a social life along with paying for tuition and loans are all stress factors of attending a college or university. Yet, one factor that is commonly overlooked, and is in some cases given lowest priority, is maintaining a healthy and balanced diet.

A report released by healthline.com stated in a Jan. 30 article that nearly 60 percent of college students in Oregon were food insecure at some point during the past year. The article indicates that a poor diet can affect physical and mental health.

This report coincided with a movement starting on campus to make the Pacific community aware of food insecurity.

“We noticed students, including ourselves, didn’t always have time or money to get enough food,” said Anthropology/Sociology Club Vice President Liz Stevens.

Stevens and club President Belle Tegner wanted to research food insecurity on campus with the intention of eventually implementing programs to make sure students know they have access to enough food if they cannot afford it.

During mid-April, the Anthropology/Sociology Club hosted Food Insecurity Week to raise awareness on campus. Events ranged from tabling in the University Center, discussion sessions and a showing of the documentary “A Place at the Table.”

“A lot of it is financial,” said sophomore Tegner. “Food is the easiest thing to sacrifice.”

Steven and Tegner talked to staff members and students to help develop questions for a survey. The anonymous survey has been available to students since April. Questions range from whether students have a meal plan or cook for themselves to whether they feel uncomfortable or embarrassed about discussing food insecurity.

“Of the 69 people who have taken the survey, only 19 said they had not experienced [food insecurity],” said Stevens.

Now that Stevens and Tegner have proof that food insecurity is an issue at Pacific, they hope to implement programs on campus to help alleviate this adversity.

The club members are currently working out the logistics of having a food bank on campus.

“The food bank would be for students by students,” said Stevens.

Students would be able to donate food to the food bank to help out their fellow students.

Tegner and Stevens are also hoping to work with Aramark to start a program where students could donate their unused block meals to students in need.

“This project is helpful to bringing out the community aspect [on campus],” said Tegner. “It’s a way to bring campus together.”

Students who are interested in taking the food insecurity survey can visit www.pacificu.edu/about-us/news-events/food-insecurity-survey-students.

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Survey brings awareness to food insecurity