LAWRENCE — For many people, October is a month for pumpkins and Halloween festivities. But at the University of Kansas, October is also Hunger Awareness Month.
The awareness program is aimed at educating the community about hunger on campus and ways to address it. Coordinated by KU Fights Hunger, the series features events organized by student organizations, departments and faculty members. Students can join the fight against hunger by participating in a campus hunger survey, providing goods for a campuswide food drive and attending the KU Hunger Summit.
“Many people don’t realize that hunger is a very real problem for some of our students,” said Jeff Severin, director of the KU Center for Sustainability. “This month is an opportunity to engage in discussions around the causes of hunger. We encourage everyone to participate in campuswide events and join the conversation about how to solve hunger at KU.”
A full list of KU Hunger Awareness Month events and activities is available at the KU Fights Hunger webpage.
The hallmark event of Hunger Awareness Month is the KU Hunger Summit, a forum for students, faculty, staff and community members to engage in conversations surrounding food and nutrition security. The event will take place 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 23 at The Commons. Attendees will identify specific initiatives to address hunger and malnutrition involving academics and outreach, and Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little will provide opening remarks for the event.
“Part of the University of Kansas’ mission is to build healthy communities,” Severin said. “We understand that a community cannot be strong when its members’ most basic needs are not met. KU is committed to providing a healthy environment for all students on campus and engaging in conversations and research focused on national and global food security.”
Gray-Little has signed the Presidents’ Commitment to Food and Nutrition Security created by Presidents United to Solve Hunger, an initiative to unite university presidents and chancellors for cooperative engagement with issues of food security. Goals include developing a new generation of problem-solvers committed to ending hunger and sharing information across campuses regarding food security research and anti-hunger strategies. KU joins institutions worldwide dedicate to solving issues of food security.
The community can also get involved with Hunger Awareness Month by taking a five-minute survey on food needs designed to quantify hunger at KU. The results will be used to design resources for those in need of food support.
Additionally, from Oct. 19-31, KU Fights Hunger will host a campuswide food drive. Donations will go to Just Food and their more than 40 partner organizations across Douglas County, including the Campus Cupboard, a food pantry operated at the Lutheran Campus Ministry building in partnership with the KU Center for Community Outreach. Jayhawks can drop off their donations of nonperishable food items at one of the food drop-off locations on campus. Participants can also make monetary donations with Just Food’s online donation form.