UNC Asheville Senior Ron Dumas ‘22 Joins Student Leaders From Across Eight NC Universities To Address Food Insecurity On College Campuses

December 9, 2021

(Story courtesy of  the NC State University Institute for Emerging Issues)

Students and faculty from eight NC universities gathered at NC State University’s Hunt Library on Nov. 5, 2021, to work collectively on one of the most pressing issues of our time—food insecurity. After a day-long summit where students pitched different policy recommendations, the group came to the consensus to focus future efforts on increasing food access on college campuses. As a group, the students will refine their recommendation and move it forward over the next few months by presenting it to policy leaders.

The students met as part of the inaugural PILOT 21 (Policy Innovation Leaders of Tomorrow) program organized by the Institute for Emerging Issues. The initiative was an effort to encourage cross-campus collaboration between NC universities (Duke, NC A&T, NC State, UNC Asheville, UNC-Chapel Hill, Wake Forest, Shaw and UNC Wilmington).

“Being a part of the PILOT 21 program gave me the opportunity to work with a lot of different students with a lot of different perspectives, to come together and cultivate a broad strategy to address food insecurity on our campuses and in our communities,” said UNC Asheville senior Ron Dumas ‘22. “It’s been a great growth opportunity as far as public policy and a great opportunity to work with people and really get something done as a student.”

Students heard from many experts in policy and food insecurity throughout the day, including U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes (CT), Dr. Jack Daly (Duke Sanford World Food Policy Center), Dr. Andrew Smolski (NC State University), Mike Darrow (Feeding the Carolinas), Rep. Zach Hawkins (D-Durham), Sue Hinman (Granville County Commissioner Chair) and Elizabeth Outten (Novant Health).

PILOT 21 is supported by the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation on behalf of retiring board of trustees member Jane Smith Patterson, who participated in a similar project in the 1960s when she was an undergraduate at UNC-Chapel Hill. Being part of the effort captivated her interest and launched her into a career in public service.