There is a new exhibit up in TLB, one of our two library buildings.
Entitled “Hunger in Higher Ed”, this display seeks to draw attention to the issue of food insecurity on US college campuses.
Until I started working on this exhibit, I was not aware of the term food insecurity, which, loosely defined, means you are not sure where your next meal may be coming from. As librarians do, I did a little digging to understand the term. According to a recent New York Times article,
“[a]n estimated half of all college students struggle with food insecurity, even at elite flagship universities like the University of California, Berkeley, and selective private schools like Northwestern University. Former foster youth, L.G.B.T.Q. students, and students of color are at substantially increased risked. Food insecurity is linked to lower graduation rates.”
Take a step back, and this makes sense: if you are hungry, you have bigger worries than studying for a class or writing a paper. If you are hungry, you are physically unable to focus and study. Food insecurity is a huge barrier to success.
As a librarian, so much of what I do is to connect people to the information they need at the time of need. I realized I wanted to make sure to connect people to scholarly information about food insecurity, while highlighting some of the amazing things happening on our campus, including The Pantry. Part of The Center for Equity and Inclusion, The Pantry exists to provide supplemental, nutritional, and culturally relevant food as well as hygiene items to all UWT students on campus.
But it also connects people to books, and to faculty members doing research in this area — including UW Tacoma’s own Dr. Christine Stevens, associate professor in the UW Tacoma Nursing and Healthcare programs. UW Tacoma — and the UW Tacoma Library — have amazing resources, and I hope that some of what is up on display may inspire folks to become involved.
Take a look at our library guide on food and housing insecurity, for instance, put together by my colleague Alaina Bull.
Feel free to bring in supplies for The Pantry as well. We have a donation bin up.