The UC Office of the President announced a $3.3 million pledge to combat food insecurity throughout the UC system in July, with $151,000 allocated to each campus over the next two years.
The campus Basic Needs Committee, composed of students, staff, and faculty, will use UCSD’s $151,000 toward financial aid packets, food literacy, meal preparation and food demonstration sessions, CalFresh referral workshops, staff support, and additional research and evaluation funds, according to Lesly Figueroa, Lead Student Manager of the Triton Food Pantry. This funding is in addition to the $75,000 allocated per campus in 2015 to address immediate food insecurity.
The UC intends to expand food pantry resources, current Swipe Out Hunger programs, awareness campaigns on access services, and collaboration with county and state offices to register students for CalFresh. UC also aims to include meal preparation and storage space into new student housing plans and improve financial aid communication about living costs.
The funding comes in conjunction with the results of a 2015 survey on UC student food insecurity conducted by the UC Nutrition Policy Institute. In the survey, 19 percent of 9,000 participating UC students reported “very low” food security – limited resources resulting in reduced food intake at times. Twenty three percent reported “low” food security, which indicates reduced quality of diet with little change in intake.
“We undertook this survey, and are acting on its findings, because the University is serious about addressing real, long-term solutions to improve the wellbeing of our students,” Napolitano said in a statement.
Registered UCSD students have access to the Triton Food Pantry, which aims to provide a discreet emergency resource for students with food insecurity. It is located at the Old Student Center. The initial $75,000 allocated by UC in 2015 was put toward developing and maintaining the Triton Food Pantry’s food, programs, and student staff support during its first year.
“[One] of the most pressing issues on campus is addressing food insecurity from its foundation and finding solutions that are practical and achievable,” said Figueroa. The needs of the Triton Food Pantry include informing students of the service and purchasing healthy and sustainable food, according to Figueroa.
The Triton Food Pantry hours can be found at the Triton Food Pantry Facebook page.
Heather Dewis is the Lead Copy Editor for The Triton. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.