Food for thought: Why you should attend the Illinois Higher Education Food Insecurity Summit


Brandon Beckwith

Sadie Romero, Staff Writer

An issue that may have a negative impact on nearly half of all college students, including those at the College of DuPage, will get a statewide spotlight on campus this March. College of DuPage will host a public event called the Illinois Higher Education Food Insecurity Summit on March 13, 2020. The 6-hour long summit will discuss points regarding food insecurity, as it has become a prevalent issue for a staggering 28% of all college students across the nation who are considered to have very low food security; and another 19% who experience low food security, according to the Association of American Colleges and Universities.


After the 2016 Fuel Pantry initiative organized by the COD Phi Theta Kappa chapter, the college raised extensive awareness towards the issue of food insecurity across campus. The Courier reported last fall that by October 2019, more students went to the Fuel Pantry for help than in the entire 2018 school year.


Mary Anderson, Phi Theta Kappa’s Chair of the Fuel Pantry, describes the pantry’s primary goal as “fueling the minds and bodies of students.” A sufficient amount of food intake each day is especially vital at COD, being a setting where students constantly put forth energy towards their classes. 


Fuel Pantry volunteer and COD student, Mona Adhami, said that by providing the Fuel Pantry as a resource, students are more inclined to help through donations and volunteering. 


“I think it is important for students to be aware of the issue so that they can help try to find a solution,” she said. “I am taking classes full time here. There was no requirement for me to do any kind of volunteer service or anything like that. I am just here at my own will, wanting to help. I think when other students are made aware of certain issues and problems going on in the community, they can take the steps to help find a solution to that.”


Adhami said it is just as essential to attend the Illinois Higher Education Food Insecurity Summit. The event contributes to the network of support towards those who are struggling to find their third, second or even first meal a day. By addressing the issue at hand and evaluating resources across campus, like the Fuel Pantry, students and faculty become more educated and are more willing to help.


The summit will feature Donna Beegle, the founder of an international consulting firm, Communication Across Barriers, as the keynote speaker. Communication Across Barriers creates presentations, workshop training and community development for their clients. This will teach effective ways in approaching not only food insecurity but overcoming poverty across communities and organizations.


Panelists and external organizations on the local level, such as Northern Illinois Food Bank, will attend, as well as speaker, Lauren Walizer, from Washington D.C.’s Center for Law and Social Policy, representing the national level. 

Tickets for the Illinois Higher Education Food Insecurity Summit can be bought online at for $55 through March 2, and will then be made available at $70 up until the day of the summit. For additional information, you may contact (630) 942-3687.