Talking hunger: understanding food insecurity on campus

Understanding and addressing food insecurity at the University of Melbourne.

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.

University of Melbourne Staff

Associate Professor Gyorgy Scrinis [School of Agriculture and Food]

Dr Jane Dyson [School of Geography]

Professor Craig Jeffrey [Australian Indian Institute]

Charlene Edwards [Melbourne Social Equity Institute]

Eugenia Zoubtchenko [Melbourne Social Equity Institute]

Student Co-researchers

Rafaela Anja
Louisa Ellis
Aasha Sriram
Mia Zentari

For information about this project, please contact:

Eugenia Zoubtchenko
Research Assistant
Melbourne Social Equity Institute
Phone: +61 3 8344 7238
Email: ejz@unimelb.edu.au