Studies of college student food insecurity emphasize the personal characteristics of students and their individual health outcomes, reflecting trends in public health to encourage individual lifestyle changes. More recent work in public health diverges from this focus to encourage conceptualizing health issues not as individual failings but rather as failures of larger systems that are necessary to support health and well-being, implicating the availability of grocery stores, adequate wages, and other contextual barriers to healthy eating. We argue that college student food insecurity should not be conceptualized in terms of the factors affecting individual students but in terms of how the institutional context of the university both creates the conditions under which some students are more likely to be food insecure and also neglects to address these structural failures. Using the framework of structural violence to examine specific ways that these failures occur and are made invisible in the case of college student hunger, we examine recent changes in universities. Unfortunately, these efforts support the focus on individual efforts and success, which contribute to higher rates of food insecurity for students than the general population.

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