This session includes two presentations with Q&A.
Empowering Those Who Seek to End Hunger :: Data Science Solutions for the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic
Presented by Walter Bialkowski, Marquette University; Jeff Joslyn, Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin; Ganhua Lu, Marquette University
More than 400,000 people in 35 Wisconsin counties (10.2% of the population) were served annually by Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin (FAEW) prior to January 2020; however, in the subsequent one month period the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an increase of 10,000 unemployed people (approximately quadrupling the number of unemployed). This dramatic spike in unemployment exaggerated underlying disparities in our community, forcing many additional families to rely on the public service FAEW provides to receive healthy and nutritious food. These unprecedented challenges, created by the COVID-19 pandemic, also magnified the imminent need of FAEW to segment food distribution networks (termed “members”) based on local needs and optimize food distribution practices. Through data-driven innovation led by Marquette University faculty, and with crucial collaborative guidance from FAEW staff, mentored students are developing and implementing visual analytics and business intelligence solutions that optimize food distribution across counties in FAEW’s service regions, together building a novel infrastructure supporting FAEW’s healthful and reliable food distribution network. These deliverables will directly and immediately enable FAEW to meet the challenges spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic with success, and sustain their crucial role in Milwaukee’s longer-term economic recovery. The outcomes of this project will help end hunger by mapping essential data that reveal the key factors driving FAEW’s success while identifying opportunities to build local emergency food system capacity now, and into the future. Identification of these factors and accordant solutions will also serve to better prepare food distribution practices on the regional, state, and national level for future, unexpected challenges.
Addressing Unmet Student Basic Needs: A Collaboration with the National League of Cities, Higher Education, and Community Partners
Presented by Sue DiBella, University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Michael Bartlett, National League of Cities; Sonya Pearson, College of Southern Nevada; Angela Rose, City of Las Vegas
Last spring as the pandemic was unfolding, the National League of Cities provided an innovative approach to a thorny issue: It offered cities across the country, along with their higher education partners, the opportunity to join a Community of Practice focused on addressing unmet basic needs among post-secondary students. They recognized that unmet student basic needs—such as food, housing, and transportation, child care, mental health, and digital access—can often derail college plans and impede our students’ workforce success. Through its Community of Practice, universities, community colleges, and community partners in 13 U.S. cities were asked to join the discussion of how to align resources across systems and overcome these challenges.
In this CUMU Best Practice Session, leaders from one city’s cohort, along with National League of Cities Program Manager Michael Bartlett, will discuss this collaborative approach to addressing our students’ most fundamental challenges. Participants will learn some national best practices and can share what they may be doing to address student basic needs at their home institutions.