Date of Award

Summer 8-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

First Advisor

Simone Camel


The use of the Nutrition Environment Food Pantry Assessment Tool (NEFPAT) along with an examination of food pantry management systems will fill a needed gap in the understanding of the effectiveness of college on-campus food pantries. This descriptive, exploratory research study is designed to assess 4-year and 2-year higher education food pantries in the state of Louisiana. Specifically, food pantry management, nutrition education provided, and available food items will be assessed using the validated Nutrition Environment Food Pantry Assessment Tool (NEFPAT). This study assessed: (1) the characteristics of the food pantry management system, including the presence of nutrition professionals; (2) the on-campus food pantry using the NEFPAT’s objectives of a) increasing client choice for nutritious options; b) establishing marketing of more healthful products; c) increasing provision of various forms of fruits and/or vegetables; d) increasing provision of various types of fruits and/or vegetables; e) promoting additional resources; and f) planning for alternative eating patterns. Food pantries served as subjects of this study; managers, volunteers, or sponsors of the on-campus food pantries were asked to provide information about the pantry’s management. Researchers conducted observations at the pantry locations. The inclusion criteria for the colleges and universities were: (1) 4-year college/university or 2-year community college in the state of Louisiana with a physical address; and (2) colleges/universities who were found to have a food pantry on the college’s/university’s website. Those excluded from this study were: (1) colleges/universities who refuse to participate in the study or do not respond to recruitment efforts; (2) those whose website do not identify a pantry being in existence or who post “food pantry is coming soon”; (3) those institutions classified as “other” or as “trade schools.” Twenty-three of 54 eligible institutions clearly identified having a campus food pantry on their website. Sixteen of the 23 eligible institutions agreed to be a part of the study. This was a response rate of 69.6%. Descriptive statistical analysis, scaled/continuous data, categorical data, relationships among the variables, and non-parametric tests were all used for statistical analyses. Of the 16 institutions assessed, 12 were classified as a 4-year university and four were classified as a 2-year community college; additionally, 14 were considered public institutions and two were considered private institutions. Five institutions offered a nutrition/food science/dietetics degree. The majority of food pantries were managed by student affairs/student services (62.5%) departments, and only one institution was managed by their nutrition and dietetics department. The majority of institutions were sponsored by their university/college foundation (31.3%). One institution had an unmanned food pantry on campus that was managed by an external organization not affiliated with the institution. Of the 16 food pantries, 37.5% were members of the Feeding America nonprofit organization, or they had an established partnership with a food bank that was part of the Feeding America nonprofit organization. As a whole all 16 institutions assessed need to work on providing resources to clients who use the services of on campus food pantries. For those five institutions that have a nutrition/food science/dietetics degree, they should consider assessing their nutrition students to create materials and assessing their nutrition faculty to sit on advisory boards or councils to provide advisement regarding nutrition environment. Recommendations for increasing marketing efforts of the on-campus food pantry should be considered. Additionally, pantries have the opportunity to explore ways to increase monetary donations and grant funding to purchase items targeted to healthy food items. Providing food pantry volunteers with nutrition education needs improvement. Focusing on these improvements will help increase the overall NEFPAT score and nutrition environment.