Recent data indicate between 9-50 percent of college students lack consistent access to adequate, nutritious foods, also known as food insecurity, at some point in their college experience. The Alabama Campus Coalition for Basic Needs (ACCBN) is a network of college and university campus coalitions seeking to address college student food insecurity. ACCBN aims to develop and expand campus-specific strategies to reduce student hunger; provide technical assistance for campus coalitions; and create opportunities for networking among participating colleges and universities.
The ACCBN Engage Assessment aimed to determine best practices of engagement and collaborative efforts within campus coalitions.
Study Design, Settings, and Participants
A mixed-methods design was utilized for this study. Campus coalition representatives from two- and four-year institutions were recruited to participate in an online survey followed by a virtual, semi-structured interview.
Representatives completed an online survey on coalition structures, processes, and development based on two validated surveys: Coalition Effectiveness Inventory and Level of Collaboration Scale. Afterwards, representatives participated in a semi-structured interview with questions aimed at elaborating upon survey responses. Data from the survey and interviews were analyzed using descriptive analyses and thematic coding, respectively.
Results from the study offer practical applications and best practices for building and maintaining campus coalitions, including the recruitment of key members, support of administration, and use of technology in coalition building and maintenance. Additionally, findings offer insight into challenges of providing campus-based food aid resources during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ACCBN Engage Assessment provides valuable information for institutions seeking to build a campus-based food security coalition. Future studies should evaluate the impact of engagement and collaborative efforts on student food security status.