Food is a basic human right, many students struggle to find affordable and adequate nutritious food while in college. Around 1 in 3 students face food insecurity, campuses, university systems, states, and the federal government needs to do much more to address student food insecurity. With 1 in 3 students never finishing their degree the Federal Government Accountability Office released a report in 2018 that stated, “investment in higher education is at risk if college students drop out b ecause they cannot afford basic necessities like food.”
Aramark is an American foodservice, facilities, and uniform services provider to clients in areas including education, healthcare, business, prisons, and leisure. Around 600 colleges and universities across the country outsource services like management of dining facilities to Aramark, which is also the main supplier to CoreCivic one of the largest privately-funded prison systems. If your institution uses Aramark as a contractor, it is supporting a deeply racist and unethical company. That is focused on profit and not on the health and welfare of students or society.
Abolish Aramark on your Campus
Find out if Aramark is operating on your campus
Obtain a copy of your University’s contract with the company by asking for it or filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
Organize your campus to get your university to commit to ending and/or not renewing your contract with Aramark.
Food Insecurity Data Collection
In order to make lasting changes in addressing student food security, more data may need to be collected. By getting your campus or state to regularly collect data, progress can be tracked and administrators may be more willing to enact change. General national research exists but having data specific to your campus can highlight the experiences of students on your campus and allow the tracking of the issue over time.
There are several hundred campus food pantries throughout the United States. Food pantries are ways for students to receive free food and other basic necessities that can help support them staying enrolled in college. If your campus does not have a food pantry, advocating for establishing one is a great way to get the conversation started around student's basic needs access on your campus.
Swipe Out Hunger Program
Swipe Out Hunger is a national organization that works to set up meal swipe donation systems on campuses across the country. Meal swipe donation systems allow students to donate their extra meal swipe or dining dollars to a fund that then allocates them to students in need of support. This is a great low-cost way to help food-insecure students and raise awareness about hunger on your campus.
After hosting a hunger strike focusing on the issue of hunger on their campus, students at the University of Kentucky got their Aramark campus provider to start a “Dollar Cafe” that provides students nutritious lunch and dinners for just $1.00. Any campus that has Aramark as a provider can point this as proof that this Dollar Cafe concept can be implemented on their campus.