Symposium Event


Bellarmine hosts community food security symposium

Campus Cares

Bellarmine University will host an inaugural community-campus symposium on food insecurity in Louisville 5-7:15 p.m., Thurs., Nov. 17 in Frazier Hall. Community members, faculty, staff and students will discuss the issue in a “think tank” style approach and propose solutions. Dare to Care and the Greater Louisville Project will share recently released data on the current state of food insecurity in Metro Louisville.

Admission is free and the event is open to the public. Heavy appetizers will be served during the reception from 5-5:30 p.m., and the program will officially begin at 5:30 p.m. Please RSVP here for planning purposes. This event is sponsored by the Center for Community Engagement and Campus Ministry.

“With our institutional mission to be an inclusive Catholic university, we will invite conversations around food insecurity through the lens of faith and spirituality and how we are called by our diverse faith and worldview identities to tackle this issue,” said Dr. Elizabeth Byron, Director of Community Engagement at Bellarmine.

We caught up with Dr. Byron to learn more about the event:

Q: What inspired this event?

The President’s Task Force on Community Engagement that is made up of faculty, staff and students sought an opportunity to bring together community and campus members in a meaningful way that would drive direct change in our local community. The topic of food security is a critical need in Metro Louisville and touches the lives of community and campus members. With Thanksgiving around the corner, we wanted to focus on the effort to make sure that people are fed in healthy and sustainable ways. This fall, the Greater Louisville Project and Dare to Care released data on food insecurity in Louisville, so we invited the two groups to come and speak about their data and help lead us in an interactive think tank to assess gaps in what the city is currently doing to address the issue. In addition, Hope Buss is joining the dialogue as a grassroots community organization that focuses on creating food security in West Louisville.


Q: What can attendees expect to glean? 

The symposium will start with a cultural potluck in which any attendee, who chooses to do so, can bring a dish to share with the group. While people are mingling, we will also post the Greater Louisville Project data around Frazier Hall for people to consider for the evening. At 5:30, we will invite the Greater Louisville Project, Dare to Care and Hope Buss representatives to the stage to speak on their knowledge of food insecurity in Louisville and thoughts around changes needed to address this issue. From there, Drs. Martha Carlson Mazur, Environmental Science, and Chelsey Franz, Athletic Training, will lead the entire audience in an interactive activity of assessing the current state of the city, in the dimensions of culture, education, healthcare and the environment (relating to food security). Once the activity is completed, the audience will sit at tables and analyze the group data to determine where the gaps exist and how we can make a plan of action for the spring 2023.  

Q: Why is food insecurity an important issue for our campus to focus on and engage with? 

Food insecurity is a critical concern and impacts a number of Bellarmine community members as we have seen a major uptick in the number of Knights Food Pantry users this fall, 2022. Not only that, but Bellarmine stands by its mission to educate students mind, body and spirit with a focus on service to improve the human condition. With this as our university focus, the  symposium will be an outlet for students to engage in local concerns, hear from stakeholders, and be a part of creating action-oriented solutions.  


Q: Are there any emerging approaches/challenges/trends people are seeing with the issue of food insecurity?

Inflation is absolutely driving challenges to meeting basic food needs as families are having to decide what to prioritize. Leaving the grocery store with milk, bread, and eggs can cost an arm and a leg and so more families and community members are looking for support from grassroots organizations like Hope Buss and larger nonprofits, such as Dare to Care. These organizations are working to meet the needs, but will need the support of community to donate and volunteer.


Q: How does this work fit into Bellarmine’s wider commitment to community engagement? 

Community engagement has been named a strategic priority of the university as we seek to institutionalize engagement in in all areas of campus, including teaching, service and scholarship. The following statement is our university commitment to community engagement: Deeply embedded in the heart of Louisville, Bellarmine will be an engaged partner to expand learning opportunities, enhance career networks and economic growth, and advance equity and quality of life for its neighboring communities. By connecting the campus, the community, and the curriculum through engaged scholarship and action, we will enhance social and civic engagement, including faculty, staff, and student-led, asset-based initiatives.

Symposium Event 2

Tags: Community



Located in the historic Highlands neighborhood of Louisville, Kentucky, Bellarmine University is a vibrant community of educational excellence and ethical awareness that consistently ranks among the nation’s best colleges and universities. Our students pursue an education based in the liberal arts – and in the distinguished, inclusive Catholic tradition of educational excellence, the oldest and most rewarding in the western world. It is a lifelong education, worthy of the university’s namesake, Saint Robert Bellarmine, and of his invitation to each of us to learn and live In Veritatis Amore – in the love of all that is beautiful, true and good in life.