Assistant Professor Amy Mobley from the Department of Nutritional Sciences received a Provost’s Teaching Innovation Mini Grant to incorporate a new experiential learning module into her Principles of Community Nutrition course (DIET/NUSC 3230 course). The purpose of the Community Action Poverty Simulation Kit (CAPS) is provide an opportunity for students to role play the lives of individuals, ranging from single parents to older adults, who are living in poverty and increase their awareness of the challenges and stresses faced in day-to-day life that would have an impact on nutritional status and health. The simulation was held Monday, March 7, 2016 in the North Reading Room of the Wilbur Cross Building.

The issue of poverty in community nutrition is an important concept for students to fully understand in order to develop a sense of empathy, understanding and future skills working with low-income populations however; many undergraduate students have not experienced or interacted with individuals who are facing the multifaceted issues of poverty in the United States and therefore may not be effective in their future work. Poverty is the number one risk factor for low or very low food security, or the inability to obtain sufficient quantity and quality of food. In 2014, 14.8 percent of the US population–46.7 million people–lived in poverty.

The Community Action Poverty Simulation Kit (CAPS) was developed by the Missouri Association of Community Action and implemented across the country.