Convening brought together leaders and advocates from 15 higher education institutions to address rise in campus hunger
Washington, DC ― October 11, 2022 – Capital Area Food Bank and the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area recently hosted the first ever-Regional College Hunger Conference. Held Thursday, October 6, the conference convened nearly 100 higher education leaders and advocates to identify solutions to the growing problem of food insecurity among college students.
“Higher education can unlock worlds of potential, but for far too many college students, food insecurity is a barrier to academic success,” said Radha Muthiah, president and CEO of the Capital Area Food Bank. “Through our partnership with the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area, we’re beginning a dialogue that will enable a coordinated approach to addressing hunger across our region’s campuses, ultimately supporting greater achievement in the classroom and beyond for all of our area’s students.”
Attendees joined the conference from 15 institutions of higher learning across the region to discuss best current practices in addressing campus hunger and develop a shared vision for future collaboration. Participating colleges and universities included:
- American University
- Anne Arundel Community College
- Catholic University
- Gallaudet University
- George Mason University
- Georgetown University
- George Washington University
- Howard University
- Johns Hopkins University
- Montgomery College
- Northern Virginia Community College
- Prince George’s Community College
- Trinity Washington University
- University of the District of Columbia
- University of Maryland
Across the country, rates of food insecurity on college campuses are rising. According to one national-level survey from The Hope Center, 34% of college students have experienced food insecurity within the last year. The situation in the metropolitan Washington region is no different, with all participating organizations reporting food insecurity as a significant issue that exists among the student body.
Increasingly, many people seeking higher education today do not fit the “traditional” model of a college student. They are frequently older, financially independent, employed either part or full time, and raising families. These strains on time and resources are further compounded by rising tuition and increased costs of living, making it difficult for many to put food on the table while obtaining a degree.
For several years, the Capital Area Food Bank has collaborated with institutions of higher education on a variety of initiatives and programming that support students experiencing food insecurity, from campus pantries to more recent food delivery models. Similarly, The Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area works with the region’s institutions to ensure student success that will contribute to inclusive economic growth.
Both organizations came together to host the first Regional College Hunger Conference with the common goal of supporting students and creating paths to greater opportunity. The conference, hosted on the campus of the Catholic University of America, featured sessions on topics ranging from best practices in running on-campus pantries and other programming to a panel discussion among the presidents of Catholic University, Howard University, Northern Virginia Community College, and the University of the District of Columbia on broad scale strategies for addressing campus hunger in the long term. The conference also included testimonials from students on several campuses about their lived experience of food insecurity.
The Regional College Hunger Conference is expected to be an annual event.
# # #
About Capital Area Food Bank
The Capital Area Food Bank works to address hunger today and create brighter futures tomorrow for over a million neighbors across the region experiencing food insecurity. As the anchor in the area’s hunger relief infrastructure, they provided 64 million meals to people in need last year by supplying food to hundreds of nonprofit organizations, including Martha’s Table, SOME – So Others Might Eat, DC Central Kitchen, Food for Others, Manna Food Center, and others. They also work in partnership with organizations across the region to address hunger’s root causes by pairing food with critical services such as education, health care, and job training. For more information, visit www.capitalareafoodbank.org.