The Food Access and Student Well-Being Study for Fall 2017-Spring 2018
Food insecurity - the lack of reliable access to sufficient quantities of affordable, safe, nutritious food – is a national issue with local impact affecting some students, faculty, and staff in our own campus community. The University of Maryland has taken steps to address this issue, such as the opening of the UMD Campus Pantry and growth of its services and impact since then.
In continuation of these efforts, researchers from the School of Public Health conducted a food insecurity survey in 2015, which prompted the need for a larger campus-wide survey to assess the issue more thoroughly and identify specific solutions. Such a study is ongoing and led by the University of Maryland Counseling Center Research Unit in partnership with the University of Maryland Department of Dining Services, University Health Center, and Maryland Parent and Family Association. The Food Access and Student Well-Being Study will conclude at the end of the Spring 2018 semester.
The Food Access and Student Well-Being Study surveyed 4,901 undergraduate and graduate students from the University of Maryland College Park campus, representing 12% of the total campus enrollment. Of the students surveyed, 20% reported that they were food insecure. The study has also found that students who reported they were food insecure were likely to report a number of other challenges such as poorer physical health, lower self-esteem, higher levels of distress, anxiety, depression, anger, and loneliness, compared to their counterparts. Food insecure students also reported a number of negative impacts of food insecurity on their academic experiences and performance – not being able to concentrate in class, failing an assignment or exam, missing a class, failing or withdrawing from a class, and planning to withdraw from the University.
Since 2014, the Campus Pantry has served in its mission to alleviate food insecurity at UMD by providing emergency food to campus community members in need, emphasizing sustainable food practices and raising awareness about hunger issues in our own community. You can help the Campus Pantry expand its efforts to reach even more students on campus. Donate to support the Campus Pantry online.
Preliminary findings of the study and the efforts of the Campus Pantry include: