Mason addresses food insecurity

Studies show 1 in 4 college students struggle to afford their next meal, and that students experiencing food insecurity are 43 percent less likely to graduate.

Mason has a vision to eradicate student food insecurity on our campuses by giving all students reliable access to nutritious and sufficient food transforming the life trajectory of thousands of Mason's students.   

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The goal: 'Taking hunger off the table'

Food insecurity is more prevalent than many people realize, particularly among college students. 

President Gregory Washington and Vice President of University Life Rose Pascarell talk about the Patriot Pantry and other university resources that support student success as Mason works to eradicate food insecurity on campus.


Food insecurity is a symptom of a larger problem and we're seeing food insecurity increase with college students on college campuses."

Rose Pascarell, Vice President, University Life

The goal is to take hunger off the table, and if we can take hunger off the table, we could put more books on the table."

Dr. Gregory Washington, President of George Mason University

Food insecurity is a barrier for many college students

Matthew Carlos of Mason's Student Support and Advocacy Center talks about how food insecurity is a challenge for college students nationwide and what the university is doing to assist Mason students. Watch the video. Read more.

 It’s really difficult to concentrate and succeed at your highest potential as a college student when you’re experiencing food insecurity.”

Matthew Carlos, Assistant Director,
Student Support and Community Outreach

Patriot Pantry Challenge

President Gregory Washington challenged the Mason Nation to donate 5,000 lbs. of nonperishable food and hygiene items to the Patriot Pantry. George Mason's Office of University Branding accepted the challenge. Watch the video below.

Up to one-third of students nationally are impacted by food insecurity.


During the past three years, Mason has seen a 172 percent increase in student use of the Patriot Pantry.

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Rescuing our future to ensure a healthy planet, healthy people, healthy economies, and healthy societies will be the central organizing cause of the rest of our lives. It is our job to conduct research to find solutions to our overlapping grand challenges – and to educate students to solve them.”

Dr. Gregory Washington

Student News

Mason PhD student’s personal experience shapes his passion for improving food access

Food insecurity is something that Drew Bonner, a second-year sociology PhD student at Mason, experienced before he knew what to call it. His firsthand experience with food deserts inspired his research into food access. Find out more about him. 

Mason student Drew Bonner works to improve food insecurity at Mason. Black man wearing glasses and a light green long sleeve shirt.
Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services/George Mason University

Around Campus

Enhancing food security through aquaponics

Food insecurity on college campuses is a rising, problematic trend that Mason is committed to combating. George Mason University Sustainability and the Greenhouse and Garden’s Program are contributing to these efforts, promoting healthy eating and helping Mason Patriots achieve food security. One way this team is enhancing food security on campus is through the recent installation of a new aquaponic food system located at the Presidents Park Greenhouse (PPG) on the Fairfax Campus. Read more.

Greenhouse and Gardens Program manager Donielle Nolan demonstrates the aquaponics system.
Greenhouse and Gardens Program manager Donielle Nolan demonstrates the aquaponics system.

Alumni News

Mason alum finds a way to make sure low-income students don’t go hungry

Mason alum Gabe Segal is focused on raising awareness of the financial strain that the cost of student lunches and breakfasts can place on low-income families if they do not qualify for free or reduced meals under federal income eligibility guidelines. Read more.

Mason alum Gabe Segal stands in front of a food buffet.
Photo by Ron Aira/Creative Services/George Mason University
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