Studying hard while hungry and broke

Striving for academic well-being while navigating food insecurity

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2022.114.011

Keywords:

Food Insecurity, Underrepresented Students, Underrepresented Faculty, Higher Education, Grassroots Projects

Abstract

Food insecurity on college campuses dispropor­tionately impacts underrepresented students and can contribute to detrimental outcomes. Further­more, new research with a broader scope includes universitywide populations such as faculty and staff who may also face food insecurity. The reasons behind higher-education food insecurity are com­plex and based in historic academic structures that create gender and race disparities. Focusing on increasing the numbers of women and minorities entering the graduate school pipeline has resulted in a more equitable distribution of master and doc­toral level degrees. However, lower wages, higher workloads, and perceptions of inferior academic performance continue in the current day. These factors contribute to only 26% of women achiev­ing full professorship and only one-third receiving external federal research funding. This reflection provides autoethnographical accounts of three female faculty members who experienced hunger during their undergraduate and graduate careers, and intermittently struggle with purchasing nutri­tious foods as working professionals. They also discuss their interactions with and observations of their students who also face challenges in securing meals on a regular basis. Three undergraduate female students who are actively involved in cam­pus food projects share their insights from a per­sonal and peer perspective. Grassroot initiatives including an onsite food pantry, a village garden, external funding, and ongoing research attempt to fill gaps. In addition to short-term fixes, it is im­portant to continue conversations with university administration and community leaders to create policies and programs to address campus food insecurity.

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Author Biographies

Kristin Osiecki, University of Minnesota Rochester

PhD; Assistant Professor

Jessie Barnett, University of Minnesota Rochester

PhD; Senior Lecturer

Angie Mejia, University of Minnesota Rochester

PhD; Assistant Professor

Tessie Burley, University of Minnesota Rochester

Undergraduate Student

Kara Nyhus, University of Minnesota Rochester

Undergraduate Student

Kaitlyn Pickens, University of Minnesota Rochester

Undergraduate Student

Published

2022-09-08

How to Cite

Osiecki, K., Barnett, J., Mejia, A., Burley, T., Nyhus, K., & Pickens, K. (2022). Studying hard while hungry and broke: Striving for academic well-being while navigating food insecurity. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 11(4), 1–13. https://doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2022.114.011

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