Date of Award

Spring 2021

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Economics, PhD

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Melissa Rogers

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Brian Hilton

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Guillermo Douglass-Jaimes

Terms of Use & License Information

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Abstract

College students in California are unable to meet their basic needs for survival, leaving students across the state without consistent access to food, housing, and health care. Emergency programs and services, both public and private, exist on most college campuses to address students' basic needs. Unfortunately, due to the stigmatization of basic needs insecurities and a lack of widespread knowledge about these services, students who need help meeting their basic needs are not connecting with the programs and services on campus that can help them. This dissertation contends that college students experiencing homelessness, housing insecurity, and food insecurity would benefit from the use of a mobile application that assists users in finding and accessing on-campus and off-campus services, such as housing services, food services, health care services, financial services, personal care services, and LGBTQ+ student services. Using the frameworks of design science research, public participatory GIS, and critical GIS and tools such as Esri's QuickCapture, Esri's Web App Builder, React Native Listings, Termly, ATLAS.ti, Qualtrics, and Google Forms, this dissertation illustrates the design, development, implementation, and evaluation of a model of a mobile application, the Campus Cares Community App, that connects student users with basic needs services. The dissertation includes a literature review of all of the studies conducted on college students' experiences with basic needs insecurities in the U.S. and California and a review of the public policies shaping college students' experiences with basic needs insecurities. The literature review shows that despite the increased empirical examination of college students' experiences with basic needs insecurities in recent years, there have been few uses of geospatial tools, methods, or artifacts to support research about this topic or development of solutions to address this problem. Geospatial methods can help researchers to document, describe, and analyze data about students' experiences with basic needs insecurities because these conditions are experienced geographically. Many applied geospatial tools can be useful in addressing this problem because these tools provide user-friendly, cost-effective methods for connecting people with other people, locations, and institutions. In addition, the dissertation presents a comprehensive explanation of the iterative process of designing and developing a model of a mobile application in consultation with important stakeholders and potential users, such as students and staff who work with students experiencing basic needs insecurities. Three iterative cycles were performed, during which processes such as: reviewing existing tools to support service navigation, collecting information about software and applications for designing the application, selecting and testing multiple programs and applications, creating a model of an application showing proof of concept of the idea, brainstorming ideas for the app with potential users, naming the application, and developing a template of the application occurred. The evaluation of the model of the mobile application employed the System Usability Scale (SUS) and five open-ended questions to assess the usability of the application. The five participants who responded to the survey containing the SUS and the evaluative open-ended questions found the Campus Cares Community App to be usable and useful. The participants also shared ideas for improvements and revisions to the application which can be applied in future iterative cycles. A mobile application to support students experiencing basic needs insecurities is feasible, usable, and beneficial. College administrators can consider implementing the Campus Cares Community App on their campuses as an additional instrument of mitigation to support students experiencing basic needs insecurities.

DOI

10.5642/cguetd/224

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