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Southern Miss Joins Universities Worldwide in Historic Effort to Fight Hunger

Fri, 12/19/2014 - 17:17pm | By: Van Arnold

The University of Southern Mississippi has joined ranks with approximately 50 universities worldwide that have united to address the global issue of hunger. Leaders from these universities recently signed “The Presidents' Commitment to Food and Nutrition Security” – a declaration acknowledging their pledge to make food insecurity a priority.

The initiative reads, in part: “We, the undersigned – presidents, chancellors, and leaders of universities – acknowledge hunger, malnutrition, and food insecurity to be a critical threat to a sustainable world. A lack of access to sufficient, nutritious food destabilizes countries, endangers national security, compromises individual and economic productivity, and robs our youngest generation of opportunities for a healthy, prosperous future.”

The Hunger Forum and public signing ceremony held Dec. 9 at the United Nations in New York marked the first time universities around the world shared a collective focus on ending food insecurity.

Southern Miss President Rodney D. Bennett placed his signature alongside colleagues from several universities, noting that global hunger remains a critical issue that must be addressed and defeated.

“I always appreciate the opportunity to support causes and organizations working to address issues like global hunger,” said Bennett. “I am pleased that our faculty, staff, and students are involved in efforts to help reduce the number of families and children who go to bed hungry each night, not only in third world countries or across the United States, but also here in our own state of Mississippi.”

Southern Miss has taken an active role in fighting hunger as a participant in “Let's SAAC Hunger Week” held each November and sponsored by the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and the Center for Community and Civic Engagement. The University collects canned food items through a series of events held on the Hattiesburg campus. Conference USA member institutions participate in the initiative through conference-wide community outreach efforts. 

Affiliates of Universities Fighting World Hunger, a worldwide collection of more than 300 colleges and universities, have met annual since 2006 to share ideas and best practices related to local and global hunger. In February, leaders from more than 30 universities in the United States, Canada and Central America gathered at Auburn University to discuss taking collective action against food insecurity and malnutrition. From that meeting, the Presidents United to Solve Hunger (PUSH) coalition was formed.

PUSH member institutions include land-grants, liberal arts, faith-based, historically black and Hispanic-serving colleges and universities from five continents. For more information about PUSH, visit: