Supporting Retention Through Food and Housing Security

Curators: Marie Dillivan & Caity Vogt, Campus Compact for Southern New England, AmeriCorps VISTA

Introduction

While civic engagement traditionally looks at the issue of hunger outside of the institution, these initiatives can look inward to the campus community to support work addressing issues of campus food and housing insecurity and supporting student retention. Community and civic engagement offices can work to align themselves with on-campus efforts to support at-risk students and the wider community of the campus. The goal of this knowledge hub is to provide resources and examples of practice to increase awareness of the challenges students face regarding food and housing insecurity in higher education and to support campus initiatives aimed at addressing these issues.

Key resources

A) Food and housing insecurity on campus

B) School-specific studies, reports, and interventions

C) Toolkits, manuals, and guides

Organizations

Exemplars

  • Mount Wachusett Community College, Students Serving Our Students Office: At MWCC, the SOS Office housed within the Brewer Center for Civic Learning and Community Engagement provides information and referrals to students regarding food insecurity, financial assistance, transportation issues, childcare, housing, and more by utilizing student mentors, who are volunteers or earning their hours for a service learning course at the college, to help other students locate resources on campus and in the community. The Student SOS Office is working on the development of a food pantry in partnership with the Gardner CAC on the MWCC campus.
  • University of Massachusetts Lowell, Navigators Food Pantry: The Navigators, a UMass Lowell student organization, created the food pantry and have operated it on a very restricted budget, with little space and resources and partners with Student Affairs. The purpose of the food pantry is to supply free food items for any member of the UMass Lowell community who may be experiencing hunger and struggling to buy food.
  • Springfield Technical Community College, Center for Access Services: CAS is a student service center that works to connect students with federal and state financial resources, community based organizations, and other support services to help them overcome non-academic barriers that may be impacting their ability to stay in school. CAS operates the Ram Cupboard emergency food pantry and also provides SNAP application assistance, meal cards, and much more.
  • Michigan State University, Student Food Bank: This Student Food Bank was the first campus food bank in country run by students and for students and the co-founder of the College and University Food Bank Alliance. The food bank provides free food and related items to students facing food insecurity and in need of assistance.
  • Iowa State University, The SHOP (Students Helping Our Peers): The SHOP serves ISU students and faculty and staff in need and partners with campus dining and community organizations. Their mission is to increase food security on campus and offer non-perishable food and other personal hygiene items to all ISU students and faculty/staff in need.
  • Tacoma Community College, College Housing Assistance ProgramTacoma Community College and Tacoma Housing Authority forged a partnership in which Tacoma Housing Authority provides rental assistance for students that face homelessness or housing insecurity. Additionally, students receive on-campus case management support. Students can participate in the program for three years or the length of time it takes for degree completion, whichever comes first, provided they make academic progress.
  • Kennesaw State University, Campus Awareness, Resource, and Empowerment (CARE)The CARE services assist students experiencing homelessness, food insecurity, and students that were formerly in the foster care system. The CARE office collaborates with other offices on campus such as Admissions, Financial Aid, and Residence Life to serve students in need. The CARE team offers a variety of supports such as referrals to on-campus and off-campus housing and case management.

If you have questions, email Marie Dillivan or Caity Vogt to learn more about Campus Compact Initiatives.

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