A growing number of colleges across the country are recognizing student hunger, and the need for additional resources for low-income students that need a meal. The latest institution to join this trend is Rider University, where a program has been started that enables students to donate guest swipes from their meal plan to fellow students in need.
As reported by student publication, Rider News, the new meal swipe donation initiative began earlier this month, enabling the option for guest swipes from student meal plans to be donated. The swipes will be anonymously assigned to students who have leveraged Rider University's food pantry. The program has already been approved for next fall.
“Here we are at a private school — it’s a wake-up call to all of us to realize just how many of our own students are in need,” said Jan Friedman-Krupnick, the university’s assistant vice president of student affairs, in a Rider News interview. “I know of students that I’ve worked with who have not had food to eat. It’s really great to enhance what the food pantry is doing by providing meals for people.”
Rider joins a growing roster of campuses to donate unused student meal swipes, with the likes of UConn and the University of Minnesota seeing success in recent months.
Friedman-Krupnick approached Rider’s dining services provider, Aramark, about whether a swipe donation program was doable. It was determined that students could donate guest passes to students who did not have a meal plan and needed to use the university's food pantry.
“In the pantry, we don’t have hot foods; we just have non-perishables,” Friedman-Krupnick said. “Aramark agreed to partner with us, and within five minutes after the form went out, we had ten people who donated.”
According to the Rider News report, Rider's financial aid office estimates that some 30% of students fall within the low-income guidelines, suggesting that a number of Rider students have limited financial resources and could be in need of food insecurity services.