Document Type

Research Report

Original Publication Date


Journal/Book/Conference Title

VCU Leadership Development Program 2018 Team Projects

Date of Submission

October 2018


The underlying causes of food insecurity are complex and often intertwined with related issues that affect a student’s ability to meet even basic needs, such as housing, employment and health care, forcing them to choose between their well-being and their education. The latest Hunger in America report finds that about 10 percent of Feed America’s 46.5 million adult clients are college students. That equates to 2 million full-time college students. “Of those surveyed by the emergency food services network, roughly 30.5 percent of students reported that they were forced to choose between food and educational expenses at some point over the last year.”1 In response, colleges and universities, including VCU, have sprung into action, and the number of campus food pantries at higher educational institutions has risen from a handful in 2009 to more than 500 in 2017.2 But changing food insecurity to food security goes beyond providing just food. It involves a comprehensive approach to providing resources that address the causes and results of being food insecure. Ram Essentials is a holistic approach to addressing basic needs insecurity among VCU students by asking the question, "What is essential for our students to be successful?" The project focuses on raising the awareness of all existing VCU resources and disseminating them widely through a single user-friendly portal to enhance students’ experience, academic achievement and physical and mental well-being.

Is Part Of

VCU Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute Publications