According to surveys conducted in 2018 and 2020, 1 in 4 OHSU students is food insecure. This means they don't have dependable access to safe or nutritious foods. Food insecurity not only negatively impacts physical and mental health, but also has been shown to interfere with academic performance (Patton-Lopez, Lopez-Cevallos, Cancel-Tirado & Vazquez 2014).
OHSU student food access resources
Check out our Food Resource Center (FREE grocery items for OHSU students on the Portland campus)
The Food Resource Center provides no-cost, nutritious foods for OHSU students. Visit the website for open hours when you can shop for free, or for a link to order online then pick up food at the Student Center or Roberson Life Sciences Building. The FRC is open to all OHSU students who can come to Portland, including OHSU students based on regional campuses, as well as to Wy'east Scholars and CDI Summer Interns.
If you are an OHSU employee seeking food resources, please email email@example.com for employee resources.
If you’re not an OHSU student or employee, but are seeking food resources, please visit the Oregon Food Bank – Food Finder website.
Have you applied for SNAP benefits?
Due to a recent temporary expansion, more OHSU students likely now qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Eligible students can receive up to $234 per month for food. See SHW's SNAP page for details
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides monthly food benefits up to $234 per person. With the 2021 temporary expansion, we expect many more OHSU students to be eligible (including graduate-level health professions students who previously did not qualify, but have an EFC of 0 on the FAFSA). View our SNAP webpage for details
OHSU's Food Insecurity Task Force, the Provost's Office, Student Health and Wellness, and Food and Nutrition Services have partnered to offer a 10% discount for OHSU students.
- Just swipe your OHSU student badge at check out at OHSU-owned dining locations to receive 10% off.
- View the flier for a list of locations offering the discount.
- For any issues with using your ID badge to get the discount, please email Cho Mung in Food and Nutrition Services.
For students on West Campus, Anne's Deli is sponsoring a meal discount.
- Students pay $18 to receive a voucher worth $25.
- Preset your OHSU Student ID badge to purchase your voucher.
- View this flyer for additional information!
Our Student Basic Needs Task Force is comprised of OHSU staff, faculty and students from across campus working to develop comprehensive ways to help our students have consistent access to meeting their basic needs. The Task Force has identified housing, food, transportation, emergency preparedness, and many other topics as key issues to address. We currently meet monthly.
If you are interested in being involved, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Findings from 2018 food insecurity survey of OHSU students
In Spring 2018, Student Health conducted a Student Food Insecurity Survey. Some key findings:
- The top three financial burdens that affect students' food security included housing costs, expenses related to education, and transportation costs, in that order.
- Not having enough time to work or prepare food from home was also mentioned as a top barrier by over 10% of students.
- More than 36% of students experience physical effects - lightheadedness, hunger pain, or difficulty concentrating - from lack of food every few months, with 21% experiencing these symptoms every month or more.
- More than 23% of students thought a lack of food impacted their academic performance every few months, with 11% feeling the impact about every month or more.
- When asked how often they felt stressed because of worry related to eating or feeding their family, 27% felt stressed at least every few months, with 16% experiencing stress about every month or more and 7.5% experiencing stress every week or more.
You can find the 2018 Food Security research study here.
The New York Times has also reported on the growing prevalence of food insecurity on university campuses across the United States, so this issue is not unique to OHSU students.
Findings from 2020 food insecurity survey for OHSU students
In Summer 2020, a follow-up study surveyed 175 OHSU students to assess changes in food security after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and the shelter in place order. The survey found that:
- 27.4% of students surveyed were food insecure before and after the shelter in place order.
- The use of the University’s food resources dropped significantly after the pandemic began, while the use of community resources stayed the same or went up (SNAP use went up by 3% and unemployment benefits went up by 4.8%).
- Among the food insecure students, rates of food-related stress went up and these students reported reduced quality of foods purchased, difficulty accessing non-food resources, being likely to use a future on-campus food pantry and reduced motivation to cook healthy.
- Limitations of the study were the small sample size and only collecting data 2-3 months after the shelter-at-home mandate.
You can find the 2020 Food Security research study here.
References: Patton-López, M. M., López-Cevallos, D. F., Cancel-Tirado, D. I., & Vazquez, L. (2014). Prevalence and correlates of food insecurity among students attending a midsize rural university in Oregon. Journal of nutrition education and behavior, 46(3), 209-214.