This study looks at the outcomes from an innovative participatory action research (PAR) project implemented at the University of San Francisco (USF), to address a community problem; food insecurity amongst undergraduate students. The context of this study shows the unique possibilities for Jesuit education to address campus issues such as food insecurity, given its emphasis on engagement and reflection, and tenants of care for the whole person. In this project, the overlap between PAR and Ignatian pedagogy reinforced and uplifted ideals of community and social change, and served as an example of the possibilities when using community-based research methods within the Jesuit education context.
Students who partook in this project went through meaningful transformations which resulted in increased feelings of hope and agency. Moving through research, action and reflection collectively gave students an opportunity to build relationships and combat their perception that they had to struggle with food insecurity alone. This transformation occurred through the PAR process as the students; (A) developed new understandings about college food insecurity, (B) explored their conflicting feelings about our work, (C) shifted their understandings of social change, and (D) gained a sense of hope. This experience, grounded in PAR and reified through the Jesuit mission of their university, resulted in a transformative experience for students who left feeling invested in, and invigorated by the possibilities of a food secure campus.
"Hope through action and reflection: Participatory action research in Jesuit higher education,"
Jesuit Higher Education: A Journal: Vol. 12:
2, Article 8.
Available at: https://epublications.regis.edu/jhe/vol12/iss2/8