Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Journalism (MA)

Degree Level





Lucy M. Brown

Committee Member

Jan L. Wicks

Second Committee Member

Gerald Jordan


food insecurity, hunger, stigma, marketing, public service announcements (PSAs)


The Jane B. Gearhart (JBG) Full Circle Food Pantry is a student-led program that provides food assistance for members of the University of Arkansas community. This thesis project includes a social media strategy plan that aims to increase the overall awareness of the pantry and its multifaceted services to decrease food insecurity levels at the University of Arkansas. This plan intends to create behavioral changes that expand usage of the pantry and social media engagement among UA students. Grounded in data-driven insights, this plan is designed from (i) literature on food pantry marketing techniques; (ii) a review of the pantry's current social media practices; (iii) a needs analysis generated from interviews with the JBG Pantry's board members; (iv) an attitude, usage, and behavioral online Qualtrics survey conducted among 205 students and (v) a copy-test of a proposed public service announcement (PSA). The author constructed a series of actionable recommendations from this mixed methodology research, fortified by the Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) theory of persuasion.

The author recommends various communication tools and strategies, including an image PSA to share online and post on the pantry's website and other social media platforms. The proposed PSA serves as a master design from which other communication tools and e-mail announcements may be created and disseminated among clients, donors, and new subscribers. The author suggests the production of shorter video formats to be used across the social media ecosystem to align with the media preferences of Generation Z. This plan also recommends implementing a consistent nomenclature and design system and a consistent posting schedule.