Boston University has launched a new meal swipe donation program that enables students to give unused meal swipes to fellow students in need. The project is called Terrier Meal Share, and after a soft launch this semester the project is already making waves on campus.
According to an official university release, Boston University students can access Terrier Meal Share via an online portal where they can donate extra guest dining hall meal swipes to other students. Those needing short-term assistance via the meal donation program can sign up and have five meals deposited on their Terrier Card to be used in any BU dining hall.
The process is completely confidential and has, to date, served 18 students who have requested meals. Since going live, more than 100 meals have been donated to Terrier Meal Share by students, in addition to the 250 meals swipes that BU Auxiliary Services initially donated to the pool. Every meal donated by a student will be matched by Auxiliary Services with another free meal.
BU administrators began brainstorming ways address food insecurity on its campus roughly 18 months ago after consulting with other colleges on logistics. Neighboring Boston institutions Emerson College and Suffolk University are both members of the College & University Food Bank Alliance and have implemented food bank initiatives for students. BU opted for the meal donation program joining a host of other institutions to implement similar meal swipe initiatives.
“We knew we needed to create a way to give students access to quality meals in a way that treats them with dignity and respect,” says Paul Riel, associate vice president for auxiliary services. “We didn’t want to make them feel different, but still find a way to get a free meal on their card. That way no one would know the genesis of where that meal came from.”
The Terrier Meal Share program has been made possible by the efforts of a number of campus departments. The project is sponsored by BU's Auxiliary Services, Dining Services, the University Service Center, Financial Assistance, and the Dean of Students office, and the web portal was built by Information Services & Technology.