Student campaign addresses food insecurity

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Starving to Learn is a campaign produced by six public relations students, working to bring attention to food insecurity at WKU.

“You don’t have to be starving to be food insecure,” said teammate Mandy Shircliff. “It’s something that everybody goes through, and just kind of something that can easily be addressed as well.”  

Food insecurity is a lack of access to enough affordable and nutritious food. The aim of the campaign is to educate both faculty staff and students on how to obtain these resources.

In their survey of 100 WKU students, 39% said they go often or sometimes hungry because of not having enough funds for food, and 48% said they did not perform academically as well as they could have.

“We did our own surveys, and found that it is something that is common among students as far as not eating healthy or sometimes not even eating at all,” said teammate Alexis Mason, “because of the strains, the financial strains that college brings.”

The idea is to include a new section on all WKU syllabi to identify what food insecurity is and what students can do if they experience it, along with giving faculty the materials they need to discuss the issue with students.

The team received the support of WKU president Tim Caboni before finally moving forward to present to the Faculty Senate on April 19.

The team enlisted SGA president Andi Dahmer to introduce their idea during the session who also drafted an SGA resolution to stand behind the syllabus addition.

“Food insecurity has such a prevalent impact. It doesn’t just interfere with a student’s diet,” Dahmer said. “It really impacts their learning, ability to learn, focus, and even retention here on campus, so it’s such an important issue to work with. And I think that faculty will be inspired to work with us.”   

During the session, one faculty member suggested adding the syllabus blurb to WKU’s online syllabus. There’s no word as to if it will pass successfully on to the Handbook Committee for review, but if it does, those on board would need to make a motion before voting on it.

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