Hunger: PSU and Portland

Instructor Name: 
Julie Boyles
Course Description: 

When you hear the terms "hunger" or "food insecurity," you may not immediately think of college students and a university setting, but a significant percentage of college students are struggling with challenges to meet their nutritional, quality, and quantity food needs. The percentage of university students that are deemed "food insecurity" is approximately three to four times the national average or surrounding population percentage. This capstone delves into the reasons and potential solutions for students to meet their food needs while staying enrolled in college. If some of these questions intrigue you, our Hunger: PSU and Portland capstone may be for you:

  • Does food security for PSU students concern you at a personal, institutional, or community level?
  • Did you know that PSU has a food pantry, Free Food Market, and SNAP resources and referals on campus? How do these resources impact students?
  • Are our resources working, do students know about them, are they culturally and socially relevant and appropriate? Could we be doing more?
  • Is food security an insurmountable goal or is food security for every PSU student potentially attainable?
  • What does the larger food insecurity picture look like in our community, our state, and our country?

Our course partners with PSU's Committee for Improving Student Food Security (CISFS), a task force that helps guide sustainable food security solutions for our campus. Our class time includes only four hours per week so that students have two hours per week to devote service to the PSU Food Pantry. This offers an important connection between the literature and the hands-on realities of food insecurity on compus. We also work with the Oregon Food Bank (OFB). Student groups also work in a variety of settings: create projects for tabling at Free Food Market, work on projects with the pantry, and an array of additional opportunities that positively impact food insecure students on our campus. 

An important component of this course is that student efforts build upon the efforts of previous classes. All student projects, research, and work will be valued and used for following sections. Now that's learning and how the academic world should be!