New research to investigate food insecurity on campus
A significant proportion of university students in Australia experience food insecurity. Socio-economic and cultural differences affect students’ ability to access healthy, nutritious and affordable food on campus.
Poor nutrition and food-related stress can negatively impact the academic performance and mental health of the most vulnerable students. Until recently, this has largely been an invisible issue. Most universities in Australia, including the University of Melbourne, do not have institutional policies or programs in place to support students experiencing food insecurity.
A new research project at the Melbourne Social Equity Institute, funded by the University Student Services and Amenities Fee Grant Program, aims to address this.
Talking hunger: understanding food insecurity on campus will use participatory research methods to gain a better qualitative understanding of the problem at the University of Melbourne and brainstorm possible solutions.
Student co-researchers will be trained to interview other students about their experiences of food insecurity. These interviews will be edited to make a short podcast that aims to start a conversation about student food insecurity on campus. Participants will then be invited to a workshop to co-design possible solutions, findings from which will be edited into a short report.
The project is being led by Gyorgy Scrinis, Associate Professor in Food Politics and Policy in the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, and co-ordinated by research assistant Eugenia Zoubtchenko. The project is also supported by Dr Jane Dyson (Faculty of Science), Professor Craig Jeffrey (Australian Indian Institute), Dr Victor Sojo (Faculty of Business and Economics) and Charlene Edwards (Melbourne Social Equity Institute).