Food insecurity means that impacted students have limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods. This can have negative effects on their academic achievements and abilities. This is a concern across the CSU system, not just at CSUSM.
After conducting a system-wide survey, the CSU discovered that food insecurity effects an estimated 21-24% of students. In 2016, CSUSM conducted its own survey and found that on our campus, the number of students who reported these issues are double the CSU average at 50.27%! Half of the students who took the survey are not sure when or where they will be able to get their next healthy & nutritious meal or are skipping meals because they cannot afford to purchase food.
As the student voice and representation on campus, ASI knew that we had to do something to help to address this issue on campus. We introduced a proposal (what we call a resolution) for an on-campus food pantry for currently enrolled students which came to be called Cougar Pantry.
In preparation of the pantry’s opening, we started a campaign, Bite Out Hunger, to educate the campus community about food insecurity as well as ask for our campus partners’ help in combating this issue. Together, our CSUSM community donated almost 600 pounds of food to get the pantry started! In addition to creating the Cougar Pantry, ASI will also be working with campus partners to build systems of support on campus for students in need. Food insecurity is merely a symptom of a much larger issue so we will continue to focus on advocacy efforts both on and off campus.