The Food Access and Justice Campaign was launched in the spring of 2017 to address the issue of food insecurity faced by undergraduate and graduate students as the costs associated with seeking a higher education continue to skyrocket. In the spring of 2018, the Food Access & Justice campaign expanded grassroots efforts to address food insecurity by forming the Food Access Coalition with the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity, People's Market, MassPIRG's Hunger & Homelessness campaign, the Food Recovery Network, and the Americorps VISTA member, and the Food Security Coordinator from the Dean of Students Office.
Currently, the campaign is focused on ending UMass’s Pouring Rights Contract with Coca Cola, a company that is currently the number one plastic pollutor in the world, committing numerous labor and human rights violations. The campaign has formed a Pouring Rights Taskforce to negotiate the contract, consisting of members of the UMass administration, Student Government, and members of the campaign. Through the new contract, we also hope to build relationships with local and sustainable beverage providers and strengthen community ties.
- Collaborated with the Dean of Students Office to write a grant proposal to hire an AmeriCorps VISTA member to build capacity to improve food security among students.
- Promoted Supply Closets around campus that provide basic health and hygiene products to students free of charge.
- Organized screening of the documentary “A Place at the Table” and a panel discussion with professors and student organizers on food insecurity, as both a local and national issue.
- The Coalition organized the Student Food Security Forum to highlight students are impacted by food insecurity.
- The Coalition coordinated and mobilized students for a rally Hampshire Dining to protest the rising cost of meal prices.
- Led a protest advocating for the ban of single-use plastic bottles on campus by creating a plastic bottle fence in front of the Whitmore building.
- Formed the Pouring Rights Taskforce to negotiate the exclusive Coca Cola contract with the administration and student government.
- Reached dozens of students through special events and teach-ins about Pouring Rights and reimagining are food and beverage sourcing.