Vanderbilt University has amended its meal swipe donation program to enable students to donate side items from campus dining halls on a year-round basis. The initiative, established last year, initially allowed donations during select periods throughout the semester.
According to a report from the university's student publication, The Vanderbilt Hustler, beginning September 3 students are able donate a meal swipe side from five of the university's dining locations at any point throughout the academic year. The donation program will convert the sides into cash value that will be donated to the Nashville's Second Harvest Food Bank. Each meal swipe side donated will accrue enough money for the food bank to provide a meal for four people.
The program will not be available at all Vanderbilt dining locations. Specifically excluded are the university's all-you-care-to-eat locations. The included dining locations all leverage a standard swipe that consists of an entree with a set number of sides.
Also excluded from the side donation program are Vanderbilt's Munchie Mart locations. A c-store concept, Munchie Marts aren’t included because donating a side makes it difficult for students to get a full meal out of their swipe, explained David ter Kuile, Executive Director of Campus Dining, in a statement to The Hustler.
The donation program began at the end of last year, spurred by a resolution passed by the student government.
At its inception, the program limited students to donate sides during specific times to fundraise for certain projects, e.g. events around natural disaster relief. The move to a year-round structure, however, is expected to provide ongoing aid to Second Harvest Food Bank and the greater Nashville area, while still being able to divert resources to specific relief causes as directed by the Vanderbilt Student Government.