Nursing Professor Takes the Long Road to Fight Student Hunger

A faculty member at Montclair State University (MSU) School of Nursing in New Jersey recently devised a challenging way to combat campus food insecurity.

Andrew Scanlon, DNP, associate professor of nursing, biked the length of New Jersey on September 14 to raise funds for his campus’ food pantry. The distance was approximately 200 miles and took 13.5 hours.

[Above: Professor Andrew Scanlon with MSU mascot Rocky the Red Hawk on the day of his big ride. (Photo courtesy Montclair State University)]

“One of the things that impressed me when I first came to Montclair State was their services for students, like having their own food pantry,” says Scanlon, who came to MSU from Melbourne, Australia. “That got me to thinking about global food insecurity, and I got to be very depressed about that, but then I thought, ‘Well, maybe I can do something about it.’”

The school of nursing supported Scanlon by publicizing his ride and creating a crowdfunding page with a goal of $1,000. As of September 25, it had reached $1,720.

“That may not seem like a spectacular amount of money, but it’s that much more support for the food pantry and more meals for students, and hopefully it has resulted in more awareness for people to donate to the pantry going forward,” Scanlon says.

Scanlon views the problem of student hunger through the school of nursing’s ethos, “Think global, act local.”

“There’s a lot of bad things in the world, and it can seem too much to be able to make a difference on any one particular issue,” he says. “But if you look at these problems locally, you can find ways to help that don’t necessarily require a big bike ride or getting [publicity], yet still make a difference for your students and the community.”

Mariah Bohanon is the associate editor of INSIGHT Into Diversity. This article ran in the November 2019 issue.