Scaling Student Advocacy to End Campus Hunger and Homelessness
Rise is building an online training program to teach college students how to address student hunger and homelessness on their campus. We will prepare 40 student organizing fellows--predominantly students of color and students from low-income backgrounds--to train 25 students each to advocate for solutions to campus hunger and homelessness. Rise’s digital curriculum and training program will enable students to lead campaigns even if their campuses do not reopen during the grant period because of the coronavirus.
Please describe the mission of your organization.
Rise is a student-led nonprofit organization advocating for policies that make public higher education free and accessible to all.
In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
- Central LA
- East LA
- South LA
- County of Los Angeles
- City of Los Angeles
In what stage of innovation is this project?Expand existing program
What is the need you’re responding to?
As many as 1 in 5 Los Angeles Community College students experiences homelessness, and 2 in 3 face food insecurity according to 2016 research from the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice. Rise’s own survey research from March 2020 suggests that the coronavirus outbreak has exacerbated this basic needs crisis by causing unexpected layoffs and campus closures. This project will build on the basic needs advocacy campaigns Rise launched on 4 college campuses with 25 student organizers in 2019 through the LA2050 Grants Challenge. To meet the growing demand for basic needs programs, as well as students’ overwhelming desire to participate in this advocacy, Rise plans to lead an online advocacy course in 2020. In partnership with existing student organizations, we will train 1,000 or more students to scale our campaign to end student hunger and homelessness in Los Angeles.
Why is this project important to the work of your organization?
Rise is the leading student advocacy organization dedicated to college affordability. Our work is dedicated not only to the idea that all students deserve to be healthy and safely housed on their path to graduation, but also that student advocates are best positioned to lead this change.
Outside of LA2050, Rise has led campaigns to make 2 years of community college tuition-free in California and stop tuition hikes at the California State University and University of California systems. However, if students in Los Angeles continue to struggle with food and housing needs on a large scale, those wins and policy changes will not deliver on their full potential to help all students. This project is essential to fulfilling the promise of those policy victories by ensuring that when we tell students that “community college is free,” they know that also means they will be free from hunger and homelessness on their path to graduation.
Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?
- Direct impact
- Indirect impact
Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.
Our proposal will:
- Benefit low-income communities and communities of color: If these communities can access basic needs resources, they will be more likely to enroll in and graduate from college, creating a more equitable higher education system in Los Angeles.
- Destigmatize student hunger and homelessness: By changing the cultural perception of hunger and homelessness, we are creating a safe place for students to come forward and seek help, as opposed to feeling shame and isolation.
- Highlight institutional responsibility and action: Our advocacy puts pressure on higher education institutions to stay true to their commitment to student learning by investing resources in the basic needs that students require to graduate.
Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.
This project will succeed if we scale our LA2050 Advocacy Corps across 20 or more campuses and institutionalize them with a sustainable growth model (e.g., creating partnerships with existing campus organizations that receive funding as a registered student organization). This approach is crucial because Rise’s first year building the LA2050 Advocacy Corps has underscored the need for multi-year advocacy. Our strategy informs the metrics we have selected for this project:
I) Leading a high quality online advocacy course measured through pre and post surveys.
II) Teaching 40 student organizing fellows to lead basic needs advocacy trainings via our online curriculum, measuring quality through pre and post surveys of their trainees.
III) Increasing the number of campuses with basic needs advocacy campaigns from 4 in ‘19-’20 to 20 in ‘20-’21.
IV) Building a network of 1,000 student advocates through partnerships. These student advocates will be trained by our student organizing fellows to carry out our basic needs advocacy campaigns digitally and/or on campus.
V) Engaging 20,000 students in advocacy actions. In 2019, the average number of students engaged by Rise’s LA2050 Advocacy Corps on any campus was ~1,000. This number refers to the number of students who have taken an advocacy action with Rise (e.g., signing a petition, showing up to an event, or sharing their story). Applying this metric to the 2020-2021 program, Rise’s indirect reach from advocacy will be at least 20,000 students (1,000 students X 20 campuses).
VI) Measuring increases in students’ access to nonprofit or public benefits using data provided by campuses where Rise has an established campaign (e.g., a new food pantry at Los Angeles Trade Tech College serves 300% more students by becoming permanent and full-time).
When campuses deliver on the changes students advocate for, the resulting increases in food and housing security among students will increase college matriculation and college completion in Los Angeles.
Which of the learn metrics will your submission impact?
- College matriculation
- Community college completion
Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?
- Access to the LA2050 community
- Host public events or gatherings
- Communications support
- Office space for meetings, events, or for staff
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