Date of Thesis

Spring 2021


This thesis explores the prevalence of food insecurity at Bucknell and examines the contributing factors. Two research questions frame the present study: 1) What factors contribute to food insecurity on Bucknell’s campus? And 2) How do students at Bucknell experience food insecurity? Additionally, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on college student food insecurity is explored. The theoretical framework used in this thesis is Bourdieu’s theory of social reproduction. This framework coupled with a phenomenological approach to analyzing the data are the most appropriate for the present study because food insecurity is a systemic phenomenon, maintained by institutions but lived as an individual experience. Prior literature is reviewed in order to understand the scope of this issue on college campuses. Similar to the pilot study (Curtin 2019), the current study found a presence of food insecurity at Bucknell. The current study found that this presence was dramatically increased by the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, findings show adverse effects of food insecurity on student’s academic and social lives as well as negative health impacts. This issue at Bucknell has roots in the unwillingness of University administrators to be transparent with and listen to their students.


food insecurity, COVID-19, College, Administration

Access Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Type

Bachelor of Arts



Second Major


First Advisor

Sue Ellen Henry

Second Advisor

Katharina Vollmayr-Lee

Included in

Education Commons