Four Colorado universities have been designated institutions dedicated to mental health and hunger support, according to a Monday announcement from the state Department of Higher Education.
Colorado State University, Colorado State University Pueblo, Fort Lewis College and Metropolitan State University of Denver checked the state’s boxes to earn a “Hunger Free and Healthy Minds” designation for their work to end hunger and address the mental health needs of their students.
“We are extremely proud of the four campuses receiving ‘Hunger Free and Healthy Minds’ designations today,” said Angie Paccione, executive director of the state’s higher education department, in a news release. “These campuses are working hard to ensure their students have the necessary supports and resources to be healthy, fulfilled and engaged citizens. They are true Colorado leaders and innovators in this work.”
In February, the state released a checklist system guiding universities on how to better address hunger and mental health issues on their campuses. The universities who earned the designation either already had or implemented several programs on their campuses to better meet students’ needs.
To meet the hunger-free designation, the four campuses met the following criteria:
- Operate a food pantry
- Provide Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) enrollment assistance
- Hold at least one food security awareness event per year
- Collect and report on student food insecurity
To meet the critieria, CSU Pueblo implemented an online appointment service for students to schedule a time to visit the school’s food pantry, the news release said.
As The Denver Post reported last year, a 2018 survey administered by the Hope Center for College, Community and Justice at Temple University captured responses about housing and hunger from students at Community College of Denver, Metropolitan State University of Denver, University of Colorado Denver and the University of Denver.
Forty-one percent of the 3,011 Denver students surveyed said they worried about running out of food before having money to buy more.
To meet the mental health designation, the campuses met the following criteria:
- Include mental health resources on course syllabi or on the back of all new student ID cards
- Offer multiple mental health programs
MSU Denver, for example, offers free yoga classes and nutritional counseling to students affiliated with campus, the news release said.
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