Sustainable Solutions to Overcome Poverty

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"When food is considered a basic human right - then, we can begin to make strides in the fight to eliminate hunger."

SSTOP Hunger: Sustainable Solutions to Overcome Poverty supports on-campus initiatives and organizations with a focus on solving hunger and malnutrition. The committee unites the Universities Fighting World Hunger and Presidents United to Solve Hunger chapters on-campus. On December 9, 2014, UK President Eli Capilouto signed the President's Commitment to Food and Nutrition Security at the United Nations in New York City, a declaration acknowledging the University's commitment to making food insecurity a priority. The point person is Dean Cox of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment and the lead Department is Dietetics and Human Nutrition. 

The purpose is to facilitate communication between and provide resources to hunger-related organizations in order to engage Faculty, staff, and students across disciplines in developing and implementing a strategy to solve hunger and malnutrition through hunger awareness and consciousness-raising, fundraising, advocacy, and academic initiatives (teaching, research, and outreach). 

Ensuring student success and well-being by meeting basic needs is a growing challenge for communities across the nation, where it is estimated that 1 in 6 adults and 1 in 5 children do not know from where their next meal will come.  Food insecurity, as defined by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), is the lack of reliable access to affordable, healthful food due to limited financial resources. 

To determine the prevalence and implications of food and housing insecurity among students at UK, the UK Department of Dietetics and Human Nutrition (DHN) and Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies (WRD) collaborated with students to administer a survey across campus.  The demographics of 1632 students completing the Fall 2017 student survey were shown to be representative of the UK Fall 2017 student body. 

Key findings:

  • 43% of surveyed UK students experienced some level of food insecurity
    • 24% experienced low food security
    • 19% qualified as hungry, meaning they experienced very low food security
  • 8% of surveyed UK students indicated some form of housing insecurity
  • Of those surveyed UK students who experienced food insecurity,
    • 43% had a meal plan and were most likely to have either the Resident White 10 or the Resident Basic 7 weekly plan (10 or 7 meals a week)
    • 54% lived off-campus,
    • 61% reported having a paying job, 25% worked more than 20 hours a week, and
    • 67% earned less than $10 an hour.
  • Food and housing insecurity negatively impacts student success by:
    • Hindering academic attainment – food insecure students were nearly six times more likely to have a cumulative grade point average of less than 2.5, more than one third did not purchase all of the required course materials and 11% had to suspend their studies due to finances.
    • Limiting intake of healthful food - 85% of food insecure students bought the cheapest food available, even though they knew it wasn’t the healthiest, and more than half did not have foods that met their dietary needs.
  • Leading to poor health – food insecure students describe their health as poor and more than half of food insecure students felt overwhelmed, exhausted, lonely, and/or sad. 

Download the PDF iconFull Basic Needs Report

Hunger in America

Hunger in America 2014 - God's Pantry Food Bank


Director of Community Outreach: Amanda Hege, RD, LD
SSTOP Hunger:




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