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Ithaca College students donate meal swipes to peers in need

Universities across the country are recognizing and reacting to the growing food insecurity of students on campus. University-run food pantries are now a regular service on campuses, as are programs that leverage the power of campus dining services.

Ithaca College is latest campus to offer the latter option in the form of a partnership with Swipe Out Hunger. According to an official university release, beginning this fall Ithaca students with a college meal plan will have the option to anonymously donate one of their allotted guest passes to fellow students in need of a meal.

Ithaca has partnered with the Swipe Out Hunger organization, which now works with 46 colleges across the country. To date, Swipe Out Hunger reports that its campus programs have provided over 1.4 million meals to students.

Ithaca students can elect to donate one guest pass per semester to a “bank” created by the Office of Student Financial Services. Those passes will then be distributed to students in need by placing the donated swipes onto students’ campus cards.

This fall marks the beginning of a year-long trial phase, during which the college’s Student Financial Services will collect data — including the number of passes donated and the number used — to assess its effectiveness.

“I’m thrilled with the collaborative efforts between students and staff to launch the Swipe Out Hunger program,” says Jeff Scott, general manager of Dining Services at Ithaca College. “This is a huge step toward supporting our community.”

Students interested in receiving donated passes can contact Student Financial Services anonymously via email. Students will not be required to have a college meal plan in order to receive donated passes, and only Student Financial Services and Ithaca’s ID card office will know their identities. Students wanting to donate a fall semester guest meal swipe will be able to sign up between August 29 and September 19.

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