Food insecurity amongst college students has increased in recent years, giving rise to on-campus food pantries and other food donation programs. One of the food insecurity initiatives gaining significant momentum on campus is Swipe Out Hunger, a program that sees student donate unused dining hall swipes to fellow students in need of a meal.
The program has added a number of campuses over the past year, and according to a City Pages report, the University of Minnesota is the latest institution to join the growing roster of campuses.
Swipe Out Hunger was introduced in the form of a pilot program on Minnesota’s campus this week, and will aim to redistribute some of the routinely unused swipes from student meal plans. As part of the program, a three-week donation drive will be held at campus dining halls each semester where students can donate any or all 10 of their allotted guest passes — valued at $9 per meal — to other students in need.
Students needing to leverage the program can apply for meal swipes at the university’s Boynton Health Services. Health services will then distribute meal swipes on a case-by-case basis in increments of five.
Should the pilot program prove successful, university officials expect to extend the initiative, with future plans to allow students to donate standard unused meal swipes in addition to guest passes. Signs are positive thus far, as Minnesota students donated more than 300 meal swipes, at a total value of roughly $2,700, on the first day of the donation drive alone.
With the addition of Minnesota, Swipe Out Hunger now has 28 participating college campuses across the country. The University of Minnesota’s implementation is the first with food-service vendor, Aramark.