Cal State Fullerton has relaunched a feature in its iFullerton campus app called Titan Bites that links students in need with a free meal. Titan Bites will help to tackle food insecurity among Fullerton students by alerting students in need of excess food from campus events.
According to student publication The Daily Titan, the Titan Bites feature is the result of a collaboration between Auxiliary Services Corporation’s Dining Services, Associated Students, and campus IT. Titan Bites was created to alert students when free food is available on campus.
Titan Bites was first introduced in 2017, following a report about rising food insecurities among college students on CSU campuses. The original iteration of the alert system operated through the student portal and sent texts and emails to students to alert them about leftover food from on-campus events. Students signed up through the university portal to receive the notifications.
In a statement to the Daily Titan, Rommel Hidalgo, vice president of information technology and chief information officer, said that the initial version of the system was tedious because it required several steps to sign up and send notifications. The process was so labor intensive that the free food would often run out or be removed by the time the students in need were notified.
Following the pandemic, university IT began discussing ways to revive Titan Bites, but the system still held phone numbers and emails of students who had already graduated. Hidalgo told the Daily Titan that campus IT had to first clean up that data before refocusing its efforts on how to make the process simpler for both students and those responsible for sending notifications.
Titan Bites now enables clubs hosting events on campus to easily register in the iFullerton app to enable alerts for students about extra food that may be available. The alert includes the type of food available and where the food can be picked up. The app will also send out a second notification informing students when the food is no longer available.