The Colorado Department of Higher Education announced on June 21 that four colleges – Colorado State University, Colorado State University Pueblo, Fort Lewis College, and Metropolitan State University of Denver – were receiving the Hunger Awards for their work to end hunger Free and Healthy Minds have received and address the psychological needs of their students.
This comes after the department’s publication Checklists for the Hunger Free and Healthy Minds campus to encourage the state’s post-secondary intuitions for higher education to apply for the Hunger Free and Healthy Minds campus designations. Colleges and universities in Colorado used the checklists to implement four core programs and six targeted initiatives to earn the Hunger Free or Healthy Minds award.
“It is so important that Colorado colleges in Pueblo, Fort Collins, Durango, and Denver support their students and communities, and we encourage others to do the same,” said Governor Jared Polis. “Colorado breaks down barriers and stigma, and makes it easier for students to focus on learning by working to quench hunger and provide mental health services.”
“We are proud to be one of the first institutions in the Colorado Department of Higher Education to receive the” Hunger Free “and” Healthy Minds “awards,” said CSU President Joyce McConnell. “This reflects the effective work of our dedicated employees to support our campus community. Additionally, we reflect that, as a university, we are taking on our role of tackling food insecurity and supporting resources for the mental health of our students. I want the people here at CSU to know that the resources are there for them and encourage them to use them. Asking for help when it is needed is a sign of strength. “
The four campuses, which receive a Hunger Free award, all operate food pantries, provide assistance with enrolling in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), host at least one food security awareness campaign per year, and collect and report food insecurity data from students.
At the CSU, Aries against hunger – operated by the Office of Student Leadership, Participation and Community Engagement (SLiCE) – offers a range of services to assist students, faculty and staff with food insecurity. Services include a pantry, a swift meal program, pocket supplies, and personal assistance with navigating through federal eligibility.
CSU Pueblo has implemented an online appointment service for students to make an appointment to visit the Pack Pantry. Its aim is to offer all-round services to the students who visit the Pack Pantry.
This year, Fort Lewis College’s Environmental Center and Gender and Sexuality Resource Center are partnering with Grub Hub to host “Drag Me to Mother Earth,” a drag show focused on sustainability and food security and the pantry of the Campus benefits through donations. Grub Hub will be handing out free food at this event.
In addition, the four campuses that have received a Healthy Minds award offer multiple mental health programs and include information on mental health resources on the curriculum or on the back of all new student ID cards.
The CSU health network offers a range of Psychological support resources for CSU students, including a strong partnership with the university’s social media team, who regularly take over CSU’s Instagram stories to share content related to mental health. These efforts regularly reach more than 10,000 students.
MSU Denver offers free weekly yoga and Zumba classes on Healthy Pursuits for students. MSU Denver is also partner to provide free nutritional advice to students, faculty, and staff, both in person and in a telemedicine format.
“We are very proud that the four campuses received the Hunger Free and Healthy Minds awards today,” said Angie Paccione, Executive Director of CDHE. “These campuses work hard to ensure their students have the support and resources they need to be healthy, fulfilling, and engaged citizens. They are true leaders and innovators in Colorado in this work. “
The state’s master plan for higher education, Colorado Rises, requires 66% of adults to earn a certificate or degree by 2025. To get there, Colorado needs to remove the barriers to academic success, some of which were highlighted above.
The Colorado Department of Higher Education contributed to this story.