community cafe

alleviating food insecurity on the uc berkeley campus


Feb 2020 - May 2020


Society, Health, Accessibility


Illustrator, Medium, User Testing


Cal Dining


Grace Lam

Project Lead

Aryan Nair

Community Engagement

Jake Nuesca

Product Design

Jasmine Chen

Space Design

Natalie Deng

Community Engagement

Neema Rashidi

Community Engagement


Joe Watz

Director of Business Development @ Cal

Christopher Henning

Executive Director of Dining @ CalDining


We partnered with Cal Dining on their new food insecurity initiatives, Pizza with a Purpose and the Community Cafe. The purpose of the programs are to provide a stigma-free, healthy, and sustainable option for food insecure students on campus.

Our partner

Cal Dining is UC Berkeley’s on-campus dining provider. Their focus is to nourish the community at Cal, with an emphasis on developing sustainable solutions that ease the students’ transitions to UC Berkeley and provide the groundwork for them to excel. Joe Watz is the Director of Business Development at Cal. Chris Henning is the Executive Director of Dining at Cal Dining.

The problem

Cost of living in the Bay Area is the highest in the nation. Rising housing costs and tuition are forcing students to reduce food intake or disrupting eating patterns at times, due to a lack of money and other resources. Campus and community partnerships are therefore unable to keep pace with the growing number of students who identify as food insecure.

Who is our user?

UC Berkeley students

who experience food insecurity, either consistently or at certain points in time

Our users need...

More resources that mitigate and educate about food insecurity in Berkeley, especially in the face of the pandemic.
An environmentally conscious and accommodating service that does not sacrifice quality for affordability.
A safe space that discusses and recognizes food insecurity as a prominent issue on campus and connects students with the community around them.


To address the lack of knowledge about food insecurity, we created an educational report to serve as an informational resource for Berkeley students. By combining Pizza with a Purpose and Community Cafe, we were able to design assets and create a strong brand to communicate the atmosphere of a safe space for students to have affordable food on campus.


Food Insecurity Report

How might we engage with the Berkeley community and spread awareness about the program and the issue of food insecurity?

Coronavirus has shaken the global economy and its effects will be felt for years, but one of its most immediate, observable effects is decreasing access to affordable, healthy food.

To work in the space of food accessibility, we must now understand how the issue has been exacerbated due to the health crisis.

We conducted user interviews with:

  • Students experiencing food insecurity
  • Members of the UC system who work in alleviating food insecurity among students
  • External organizations combating food insecurity in the greater East Bay community
We compiled these points into an article here.


Pizza Box Redesigns

How might we design to-go containers, utensils, and pizza boxes that are sustainable and convey the overall brand and social impact?

Originally, we focused on ideas that would make our pizza box stand out, while being sustainable and eco-friendly.

Upon recognizing that the cost of reinventing the pizza box did not outweigh the benefit, we focused our attention on designing the graphics on the box.

We put together a series of different design concepts that we found to be effective so we had options to choose from once we fully understood our brand identity.

Of the many different design concepts, some of our favorites revolved around black print to give the box an artisanal feel.

Because we are marketing to Cal students, I tried to combine these concepts into a graphic that Cal students could uniquely identify with and feel connected to.


Space Designs

How might we create an integrated branding campaign that communicates the connection and purpose between both programs and the social impact on students?

In this initial process, we sought big picture ideas to get a feel for how we envisioned the end product. We explored different ways to add character to the space within the guidelines set by Cal Dining.

During menu creation, we experimented with different ways to make Pizza With a Purpose unique to the Berkeley community (i.e. naming the pizzas after campus trademarks).

We decided that an infographic that runs along the counters and walls would be effective in staying aligned with the brand of the two establishments, while simultaneously conveying the purpose and social impact of both initiatives.

When creating the logo, we tried to communicate the freshness of the ingredients used in the Cafe as well as the community it hopes to build through the common purpose of eradicating food insecurity.