Addressing Food Security

The Division of Student Affairs launched an effort to give back to Iowa State University and the Ames community by addressing food security on campus.

Food insecurity is a growing problem on college campuses, including Iowa State. An April 2018 study of college campuses found that more than one-third of students are struggling with food and/or housing insecurity impacting students’ academic performance and wellbeing.

Along with Student Health and Wellness and ISU Dining, the division partnered with several units on campus to launch a campaign to provide resources and donations to students in need. A workgroup that includes Student Government leaders, staff from Student Health and Wellness, Provost’s Office, Department of Residence, ISU Foundation, and Dean of Students Office, is reviewing the expansion of The SHOP (Students Helping Our Peers), a student run food pantry. With input from students and advisers involved in The SHOP, the workgroup is evaluating options for relocation and expansion of the campus food pantry.

Additional efforts from the division include:

  • Student Health and Wellness conducted a comprehensive review of national university-based programs that address food security and divided them into low/no cost, moderate cost, high cost. This report was also made available to the workgroup.
  • A division-wide drive was initiated during the Fall Student Affairs division meeting to create more awareness of The SHOP and encourage staff to make donations.
    • ISU Dining is currently establishing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit acceptance at all retail locations.
    • ISU Dining conducted a two week “donate a meal” for residential customers to provide meals in January/February 2019.
    • Student Assistance, in the Dean of Students Office will serve as the coordinator for connecting students in need and resources. This will include providing preloaded meal cards.
    • A Foundation account has been established that directly links to resourcing The SHOP.
    • Three grocery locations were identified that provide free delivery of purchases exceeding $100. Additional inquiry is being made for possible discounts and additional retail locations.
    • A permanent drop off location has been set-up in the Memorial Union for SHOP donations, sponsored by Student Government.
    • Student Health and Wellness added custom questions to their biannual participation in the National College Health Assessment to gather data on food security. Work is also in process to add screening questions for health center and counseling intake screenings.