Making New York State’s College Food Environments Healthier and More Equitable
Healthy Food, Healthy Lives
November 23, 2021
Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that satisfies their dietary needs and food preferences.
The link between food and health is clear. Nutritious food can act as medicine, helping to prevent and manage disease. But too much food, too little food, food that is not nutritious, or food that is not culturally appropriate can have serious health consequences. NYHealth’s Healthy Food, Healthy Lives priority area works at the intersection of health and food to improve access to healthy and affordable foods, reduce food insecurity, and promote equity. To help leverage new and existing opportunities that promote promising policies and scale best practices, NYHealth issued a Request for Proposals (RFP), “Advancing Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives.” Through this RFP, NYHealth is supporting organizations across New York State working to improve food and nutrition quality; increase access to healthy and affordable food; and grow participation in food benefit and nutrition incentive programs. In 2021, NYHealth awarded the Research Foundation of The City University of New York (CUNY), on behalf of CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, a grant to participate in this initiative.
Under this grant, CUNY will spearhead a campaign to promote a healthier food environment on its campuses. As the largest urban public university in the country, CUNY serves a diverse community of more than 270,000 students across 25 campuses, as well as comprises 30,000 faculty and staff. Through this project, the Healthy CUNY initiative will partner with the Center for Science in the Public Interest to launch a student-driven, faculty-supported campaign to change the current food landscape into a healthier one at CUNY. Healthy CUNY will recruit and train student advocates to engage campus stakeholders and help them secure meetings with key members of university leadership. Student leaders will work collaboratively with the CUNY administration, individual campuses, and the CUNY University Student Senate to create a strategic plan to transform campus food spaces into places that support healthier choices. CUNY staff and student leaders will also build connections with State University of New York faculty, staff, and students to use the tools and lessons learned from its campaign to power a statewide movement on their campuses.