On Monday, January 29, Rutgers Against Hunger co-sponsored “Basic Needs Insecurity in New Jersey Higher Education,” a half-day conference for researchers, student affairs professionals, and others interested in the growing problem of food and housing insecurity among undergraduates in New Jersey.
The event was organized by Cara Cuite, assistant extension specialist from the Department of Human Ecology and Rutgers Against Hunger, Kerri Willson, director of the Office of Off-Campus Living and Community Partnerships in Student Affairs, and Lisa Pitz, from the New Jersey Anti-Hunger Coalition.
Over 80 people attended, representing 15 colleges and universities and seven community partners. The event began with student speakers describing their own experiences with food and housing insecurity. This was followed by a panel discussion featuring Sara Goldrick-Rab from Temple University, who is the leading scholar in the US on college student basic needs insecurity.
The panel highlighted both the extent of the problem and proposed potential solutions. Finally, attendees engaged in breakout groups focused on research, advocacy and policy to discuss next steps within New Jersey.
“The student speakers and panelists provided insight into the problems of food and housing insecurity, as well as concrete steps that New Jersey colleges and universities can take to help their students,” said Cuite. “We hope to hold another meeting next year to further explore these issues and highlight progress that has been made.”