Three years ago we started the Campus Hunger Project (CHP) as a way to center student voices in the fight against campus food insecurity. To build and empower communities to take action on this issue, we created the Campus Hunger Project Cohort: a group of student leaders who receive advanced leadership and advocacy training to help them launch their campaigns.
Since the launch of the Cohort program, student leaders have organized campaigns to support food insecure students on 21 different college campuses around the country.
As this school year comes to a close, we asked the 2018-19 CHP Cohort to reflect on their experiences.
Paige Swanson, North Carolina State University
I feel the biggest impact from my work on campus when talking to faculty and staff. For example, I sent a sample food and housing security syllabus clause to my professors and encouraged them to include it in their syllabi for next semester. Additionally, I have been collaborating with various staff members to develop a faculty and staff advocate program for student basic needs.
Being a part of the Cohort encouraged me to seek out new opportunities to be an advocate for campus food security. Since joining, I have participated in a campus workshop, attended the ACC Leadership Conference, and was chosen to serve as the Food Donation Coordinator next school year for our food pantry.
Anna Porter, University of Vermont
I feel the impact of my work when members of my sorority or clubs ask how they can help. It has been really great to hear that other people care about campus food insecurity and that my presentation may be what causes them to get involved.
Being a part of the Cohort has made me realize that I actually do have the power to make a difference as an advocate. Even though giving an educational presentation is something so small, it’s something I created and it’s something that inspires other people.
Rachel Gross, Vanderbilt University
I feel like the largest impact I made on campus through the work of the Cohort was in connecting campus resources and administrators with each other in order to start a real conversation about campus food insecurity. By gathering information about the current projects various offices are working on, I was able to facilitate the sharing of ideas to create a broader view of the campus hunger conversation at Vanderbilt.
The Cohort has empowered me to make tangible change on my campus and has encouraged me to celebrate small successes while working through challenges. By keeping up with the work my fellow Cohort members were doing, I was inspired to continue working to making a difference.
Ayelet Bahary, Brandeis University
I know the impact of my work on campus will be long-standing because Brandeis now has a food pantry that will serve students for years to come. I am proud and honored to be a part of this accomplishment.
Being a part of the Cohort has made me more confident in my advocacy skills. I’m going to take this confidence and these skills into continuing my advocacy work after college.
Jessica Schwartz, University of Cincinnati
I feel the impact when I hear people say they don’t have money for their next meal, and I know I am leading a group of students at the University of Cincinnati to help them.
Being part of the Cohort has had a tremendous impact on me! It has made me realize that education is important and students shouldn’t have to worry about where their next meal is going to come from.
Jordan Marcus, University of Michigan
The impact of my work on campus will affect all students. I created a marketing plan for the campus food pantry and it’s devised to highlight the multitude of services offered, including cooking and budgeting classes and an all-access kitchen that will be made open to students throughout the day.
I’ve developed my advocacy skills through my time with the Cohort by learning to be more of a delegator. Prior to my work with Challah for Hunger, I always aimed to take matters into my own hands. But in tackling an issue as large as food insecurity, it requires the assistance and support of many individuals.
Monica Sager, Clark University
I feel the impact the most from talks with student government. My food aid plan will hopefully be implemented next semester, and discussions about it are very prevalent on campus right now.
Challah for Hunger allowed me to put my advocacy skills toward one project and find a common solution on my campus with administrators, student government, and students alike. I’m really happy with the progress made so far, and I don’t think I could be here without the organization’s support.
Sarah Skootsky, Barnard College
Since joining the Campus Hunger Project Cohort, I created a campus resource map for food insecure students. I also joined the Food Advisory Board, where I worked directly with the Barnard administration and food providers to create solutions for food insecure students on campus. I had the unique opportunity to directly contribute to the administration’s choice of a new food provider, and to work with FAB and the Barnard administration to ensure that the new food provider’s contract stipulated solutions for food insecure students.
Brianah Caplan, San Diego State University
This year, we worked with and learned about the SDSU Food Pantry: how they operate, who they serve, and how we can help. It was so great to learn about what our campus is doing to help students who are food insecure, but also eye-opening in terms of how much help they need in order to serve the amount of students that need help.
Samantha Price, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Our campaign brought a positive change on campus because it started a conversation around food insecurity. Students, faculty and family members asked us what we were doing and why; each time we explained the issue, they were either shocked to hear that food insecurity was a problem at UMass, or they were grateful that we were taking action.
Sometimes just starting the conversation leads to a spark in people’s minds.
Being a part of the Cohort has impacted how I’ve grown as an advocate by demonstrating the difference between education and advocacy. Both are extremely important, and both require a lot of hard work and dedication. I feel more empowered to continue these conversations and get more involved in advocacy work by being a Cohort member.
Grace Sternklar, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
I feel my work to address food insecurity on campus has had an impact on undergraduates living in on-campus housing. At UMass, this is a huge population of students, especially underclassmen, who hopefully now have a better idea of resources available to them.
Being part of the Cohort has helped me see how much effort goes into each and every campaign. There is so much more to being an advocate than just being passionate about an issue (as important as that is!). Even small changes take a huge amount of planning and processing, and I am glad to have a deeper understanding of this now!