Eastern Michigan University's “Enlighten U” bites into food insecurities among college students

Lolita Cummings, Aesha Mustafa, Casey Lamont, and Melissa Thrasher on the set of the "Enlighten U" video podcast.

YPSILANTI – Food insecurities and how it affects college students is the subject of Eastern Michigan University’s May 2024 episode of “Enlighten U,” a mental health podcast for students. 

Approximately 23% of undergraduate and 12% of graduate students experience food insecurity, according to a recent study conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics at the U.S. Department of Education.

Casey Lamont, an EMU alum who recently graduated with a master’s degree in marketing, grew up in rural Appalachia, Tennessee. On the podcast, she shared her experience of growing up with food insecurities and how those fears and stigma continue to affect her today. 

Aesha Mustafa, Ph.D., a frequent guest expert, is also on set and provides analysis, sound advice, and valuable resources for students who want to stretch their food dollars and eat healthier foods.  Mustafa is a licensed therapist and an assistant professor in EMU’s Department of Leadership and Counseling. She is also co-owner of the Integrative Empowerment Group in downtown Ypsilanti.

Lamont has lived on college campuses for many years and is adept at locating food-related resources. She visits Swoop’s Food Pantry on EMU's campus weekly and encourages other students to do the same. 

The pantry is located in Pierce Hall on EMU’s campus. It provides the EMU community with food and non-food item assistance, along with additional resources, to positively impact students' well-being. Lamont is a familiar face at Swoops Food Pantry. She often picks up food items several times a week from Swoops to make herself meals in her home.

“Swoop’s Pantry is an excellent resource for students who may need an extra hand,” said Lamont. “No matter your circumstances or budget, Swoop’s has resources that help reduce the stress that comes from food insecurity.”

Along with Swoop’s Food Pantry, Mustafa discusses on the show how food insecurities are becoming more prevalent due to the high costs of food and explores how other various resources can support those who are food insecure. She also provides educated and valuable advice on the importance of seeking and having affordable food options that are readily available for college students. 

June’s episode of “Enlighten U” will teach students how to use summer break as a time for relaxation, rejuvenation and self-care. 

For more information about “Enlighten U,” contact Lolita Cummings at lcummin2@emich.edu and Melissa Thrasher at mthrashe@emich.edu. Email messages with guest and topic suggestions can also be sent to Enlighten_U@emich.edu. “Enlighten U" is available on all major podcast streaming services and EMU's YouTube Channel

About Enlighten U
“Enlighten U” is an Eastern Michigan University-produced podcast for college students as they experience unique stressors, including academic pressures, personal growth, social challenges, and more. EMU executive director of media relations and social media Melissa Thrasher and EMU public relations professor Lolita Cummings serve as co-hosts. Each episode is released each month and welcomes a student or alum and a subject-matter professional. Episodes of “Enlighten U” address mental health topics like imposter syndrome, financial strain, grading anxiety, adjustment to campus life, social media harms, social justice, and more.

About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 13,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and its graduate school. National publications regularly recognize EMU for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. Visit the University’s rankings and points of pride websites to learn more. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website. To stay up to date on University news, activities and announcements, visit EMU Today.

May 14, 2024

Written by:
Melissa Thrasher

Media Contact:
Melissa Thrasher