UVM’s Food Insecurity Working Group explores experiences of food insecurity among the campus community.

Its goals and accomplishments are outlined in this document.

Food Insecurity Working Group Members

  • Campus Kitchens Project
  • Challah for Hunger
  • Cooperative Christian Ministry
  • Graduate Senate
  • Nutrition and Food Science Department
  • Office of Student and Community Relations (OSCR)
  • Student Financial Services
  • TRiO
  • The Mosaic Center for Students of Color
  • UVM Dining
  • UVM Human Resources
  • UVM Student Government Association
  • UVM Center for Health & Wellbeing

Research

Survey Methodology

  • During the Spring 2017 semester, the Food Insecurity Working Group, together with Meredith Niles, Assistant Professor, Nutrition and Food Sciences, conducted a survey to a random sample of 4,500 students (undergraduate, graduate, and medical), faculty, and staff to determine base line levels of food insecurity on campus. This survey had a 24.5% response rate.
  • The initial surveys included a 10 question module that is used by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to measure food insecurity nationally. Using this tool made UVM data nationally comparable.
  • The data indicated that there were potential challenges with food insecurity on campus, but did not ask enough questions to give a clear understanding of how to address needs.
  • The working group conducted expert interviews with on-campus departments and administrative offices to better understand food security challenges. These findings informed questions for a second survey.
  • The Working Group conducted a second survey during the Fall 2017 semester that added additional questions brought up during the expert interviews. In addition to the questions used in the previous survey it addressed new questions that arose from the interviews. It had a 25.8% response rate.

Findings

  • 19.6% and 15% of the UVM community were found to be food insecure in the spring and fall survey, respectively. The statewide average for food insecurity is 10%.
  • In the spring survey, one in four UVM undergraduate students identified as being food insecure. The fall survey identified one in five UVM undergraduate students as being food insecure.
  • Off-campus students had higher rates of food insecurity at 27.1% in the spring and 21.0% in the fall demonstrating an “off-campus effect.”
  • First generation students were significantly more likely to be food insecure in both surveys, with rates of 39.3% in the spring and 28.1% in the fall.
  • Respondents identifying as People of Color were significantly more likely to be food insecure in the spring survey only at 27.8%.
  • LGBTQIA+ students had higher rates of food insecurity. In Fall 2017 this difference was statistically significant.
  • Students face food insecurity more at the beginning of the semester after purchasing course materials such as books and near the end of the semester before finals.

Contact Us

For questions about the working group and ways to get involved please contact:
Gail Shampnois, Office of Student and Community Relations, Gail.Shampnois@uvm.edu

For questions about the data or research on food insecurity at UVM please contact: Meredith T. Niles, PhD, Nutrition and Food Science Department at mtniles@uvm.edu