Conference brought together leaders across sectors to discuss strategies for addressing campus hunger, collaborate on a shared vision for ensuring students can access the food needed for academic success
Washington, D.C., October 27, 2023 – The Capital Area Food Bank and the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area on Monday hosted the second-ever Regional College Hunger Conference, which brought together top higher-education leaders, advocates and students from across the area to discuss 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. “By working together on coordinated strategies for addressing hunger on campus, we can support greater achievement academically 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.
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.
Addressing food insecurity on our campuses is not only a matter of helping students succeed; it is a matter of increasing equitable outcomes in higher education. For several years, the Capital Area Food Bank has collaborated with institutions of higher education on a variety of initiatives that support students, from campus pantries to food delivery programs.
The conference, hosted on the campus of the Catholic University of America, is another step in that work of supporting students and creating paths for greater opportunity. The day-long event included discussions on the significance of college hunger and the current initiatives addressing college food insecurity; ways to scale that work through advocacy and fundraising; and a panel discussion featuring the presidents of the University of the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia Community College. It also included student testimonials on how food insecurity has affected their academic studies.
About the Capital Area Food Bank:
The Capital Area Food Bank works to address hunger today and create brighter futures tomorrow for more than a million people across the region experiencing food insecurity. As the anchor in the area’s hunger relief infrastructure, the food bank provided 53 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, and others. It also works 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. To learn more, visit https://www.capitalareafoodbank.org/ or call (202.644.9864).