As universities nationwide wind down for the year, many students will have leftover funds on their dining accounts. While last minute convenience store purchases will likely be in order, Salem State University students decided to invest their leftover funds in a more noble cause.
According to The Salem News, as the semester came to a close last week, Salem State students spent the last of their Clipper Card funds at the Salem Diner – but not on themselves. Instead, students paid for meals for random citizens from their university’s surrounding community.
Recipients of the free meals ranged from construction workers and other random patrons of a local diner to those less fortunate. One student asked if she could get her food to go, so that she could send her meals to a local homeless shelter.
As part of the Clipper Card Meal Plan students are allocated a set amount of “Dining Dollars” per semester. These funds can then be used at various dining locations around Salem’s campus for students to make purchases.
At Salem, Dining Dollars roll over from fall to spring semesters but expire at the end of each academic year, and for some students, the remaining balance come the end of the year can be significant.
This is a practice that institutions across the nation could easily promote as a means to give back to the communities they call home. Aside from teaching an important lesson to students and giving them an opportunity to give back themselves, this is also a way to ensure that the money spent on meal plans is put to good use – perhaps better than stocking up on candy bars and soft drinks at the university convenience store.
What better way to spend some of your leftover funds than to provide a meal for someone who needs it? Well done, Salem.