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Arkansas students are repurposing leftover dining dollars

Students the University of Arkansas are getting the most out of their meal plans via their campus card and Razorbucks, the students’ flex dollars accounts. A partnership between the student government, dining service vendor Chartwells and the university’s Full Circle Food Pantry is enabling students to convert their leftover Razorbucks into meal vouchers.

Per a report from The Arkansas Traveler, the program enables students to donate their unused dining dollars or cash at any of Arkansas’ on-campus dining halls. These funds are then converted into vouchers via Chartwells, allowing students or anyone with a university ID to cash them in for a hot meal.

Donating unused dollars is quick and easy, and also ensures that students and staff are benefitting from meals that could otherwise go to waste. The donation drive began with the past spring semester, with meals being distributed throughout the academic year. Those close to the program explain that the donations are designed for students to help students, as well as provide relief for hunger needs on campus.

Via the Meal Donation Program, Arkansas’ Full Circle Food Pantry has also partnered with Club Red, an on-campus convenience store . In this way, students can also use the repurposed dining dollars to buy snacks, microwaveable meals and other food items not offered in the university’s dining facilities.

The program has acted as a sort of extension to the services already being offered by the university’s food pantry, particularly as the food pantry does not provide freshly cooked meals. With the Meal Donation Program’s meal vouchers, food options for those in need are extended beyond just canned goods and other non perishables. Following the early success of the program to date, those close to the project plan to expand the donation period to cover both semesters.

Per Arkansas University’s student government website, these are the results between Fall 2013 and Spring 2014:

  • Number of meals donated: 200
  • Donation total: $1,000
  • Length of program: December 2-20 and April 29- May 5

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