Students at Ohio University donated nearly 500 meal swipes to their peers in need in just a single week. Now in the wake of its overwhelming success, university officials have decided to extend the meal swipe donation initiative.
According to The Post Athens, the meal swipe donation pilot program was launched as a means to help eliminate food insecurity among Ohio University students. The pilot is part of the larger Bobcats Helping Bobcats program that enables students to provide a range of assistance to fellow students in emergency situations.
The initiative enabled students -- regardless of which meal plan they had -- to donate up to three meal swipes between September 30 and October 6. The donated meals swipes are then given to students who are facing food insecurity, after students in need simply and discreetly apply for the program online.
Once the application is submitted, the university's assistant dean of students will then speak with applying students in person and if approved, the donated meal swipes are then loaded onto the student's account and OHIO ID card. The meal swipes can be used at any campus dining hall or on-campus dining location, and the swipes will expire a the end of the semester in which they were given.
Students with Flex meal plans -- which come with more discretionary funds for use on campus -- can also donate extra swipes or make purchases with their Flex Points at on-campus markets and donate non-perishable food items directly to the university's food pantry.
As for improving the program going forward, university officials believe that word of the program got out too late to effectively capture the attention of a large group of students and donations. Students received the initial information about the meal donation program via an email from Ohio University Culinary Services.
There are already plans to continue the program next semester, with plans for a donation window during the week immediately preceding spring break, as its a time when students leave early and will likely have extra meal swipes to give.