CU Denver recently earned its Hunger Free Designation from the Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE). This designation comes at a critical time, as 47% of college students nationwide experience food insecurity, based on data from the nonprofit organization Hunger On Campus. CU Denver’s Hunger Free designation seeks to reduce hunger for Lynx students, faculty, and staff, thereby improving the holistic health of its community.
Campus Tools to End Hunger
CU Denver worked with CDHE to ensure it met four core program requirements: operate a food pantry, provide Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) enrollment assistance, hold at least one food security awareness event per year, and collect and report on student food insecurity.
According to CDHE, “When students are concerned about where their next meal is coming from, food insecurity can lead to a lower GPA, poor mental health and a limited social life.” Hayase Yoshizumi, CU Denver’s health promotion & engagement coordinator, worked with CDHE to increase awareness of hunger on campus and broaden programs that address food insecurity. “We offer various food assistance programs such as our Food Pantry. And our Mobile Food Pantries (continuing Spring 2022) and Farm Fresh Produce Pick Up’s (ending this year) are accessible to students, faculty, and staff,” Yoshizumi said. “Additionally, our staff can help connect you to other food pantries in your local area, and navigate health and wellness resources on campus.”
7 Dimensions of Wellness
The Hunger Free designation contributes to CU Denver’s holistic vision for student wellbeing. The campus follows the 7 Dimensions of Wellness to foster educational success alongside mental and physical health: emotional, spiritual, physical, social, environmental, financial, and creative.
Senior Vice Chancellor for Strategic Enrollment and Student Success Monique Snowden, PhD, wants to continue CU Denver’s focus on the whole student. “Student success depends on many factors, including food security. Besides providing academic opportunities, we need to help students navigate potential impediments to their success,” Snowden said. “Ultimately, we want our students to graduate—and to lead fulfilling lives.”