The SHOP begins research to better inventory for students

The SHOP will be doing research to better serve the needs and wants of the students who utilize the resource. - Managing Editor / Abigail Twiford

Rowan University has recently announced that the SHOP will be doing research for those who have utilized it at some point in their academic careers.

The project, which allows for participants to be paid up to $75 for the narrative interview and reviews of the transcribed interview and final narrative for accuracy, is being funded by the Hunger-Free Campus grant. 

The Hunger-Free Campus Act was signed into law and allocates $1 million to aid in helping campuses reduce hunger among their student populations. Traditionally, colleges have used the grant to help students sign up for SNAP benefits, establish or expand food pantries, create meal swipe sharing or meal voucher programs, or buy food for struggling students at campus stores.

Rowan used the funds differently.

The engineering department partnered with the SHOP to write a grant proposal that would allow for research to be done that would allow for the university and the SHOP to better understand how food insecurity affects students, and how it specifically manifests on Rowan’s campuses. 

One of the main reasons the university, the engineering department, and the SHOP wanted to do this research is because student food insecurity is getting worse. While the SHOP used to serve about 100 students a week, they are now reporting serving about 100- 200 students a day, marking a major increase in utilization and need. 

Justin Major, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of experiential engineering education at the university. He has been leading the research and overall spearheading the project.

“So it’s gotten substantially worse, a lot worse. And that means that we need to not only figure out how we can feed more students but also need to figure out what the problem… what is causing this problem on campus? And maybe how can campus start to solve the problem,” said Major. 

Besides the series of interviews that the research teams are conducting, the project is split into two parts. The first part involves the research students inventorying the food the SHOP has and creating a system to inventory the food better. The second part comprises of the team creating a better system for checking students in when they arrive to shop.

Andrew Perrone is the assistant director of the Office of Volunteerism and is closely involved with the research for the SHOP.

“This will give us a better understanding of not only who’s coming to the shop, but when they come, what are they what are they looking for so that we can hopefully have a better understanding of that,” said Perrone.

Interviews are being conducted among roughly 20 students currently, both in person and via Zoom. While the research is ongoing and not due to be published until next year, some preliminary results are expected by the end of the semester. The research team also hopes to have some software for registering students and their selections from the SHOP done by this summer as well. 

For comments/questions about this story DM us on Instagram @thewhitatrowan or email