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ASU Eats: Utilizing Meal Plans to Feed Arizona State's Food Insecure

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The broke, hungry college student living off packaged noodles and cans of beans—it is the stereotype known across the country, and unfortunately for students it is all too accurate. According to current research, nearly half of all college students across

The broke, hungry college student living off packaged noodles and cans of beans—it is the stereotype known across the country, and unfortunately for students it is all too accurate. According to current research, nearly half of all college students across America are considered food insecure, meaning they have trouble acquiring healthy and filling food at some point during the year. Furthermore, problems with food access are often connected to other common issues students face including accessing affordable housing and employment opportunities. Food insecure students face educational consequences as well, including the inability to supply required course materials and even leaving their studies. Simultaneously, at Arizona State students lose thousands of dollars per year in unused meal plan funds, either in the form of meal swipes or Maroon & Gold dollars, and there is interest among students to utilize the funds to support their peers. This thesis explores existing organizations attempting to address student food insecurity both on campus and across the country, analyzing their limitations and benefits. It then proposes a new program, ASU Eats, which would allow students with excess meal plan funds to donate them to their food insecure peers through the creation of a central fund bank. It also discusses potential concerns from the University’s administration and the student body along with the structure this program would need to serve ASU’s continually growing campuses. This thesis concludes by stressing the importance of long-term food security, which ASU Eats would strive to achieve for all students who use the program.

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2018-05