Universities as Producers, Managers, and Opponents of Poverty: The Case of Food Insecurity on Campus
Given growing awareness of and actions to address food insecurity challenges in higher education, this paper is a response to the Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law and Policy 2022 Symposium call to examine universities as producers, managers, and opponents of poverty. Bringing together the unique perspectives of a faculty scholar and two recent undergraduates who worked on the frontlines to end hunger on campus, we argue that student-led food pantries are a critical way in which universities manage poverty on campus, but they are unable to oppose or eliminate food insecurity alone. As such, we examine the strengths and challenges of a student-led campus food pantry model, providing insights into best practices and models for university engagement. We conclude with a call for universities and policymakers to match students’ actions for a better tomorrow where experiences of hunger and food insecurity no longer impede students’ educational goals, so that we can go from merely managing poverty to opposing it, once and for all.