Swipe it Forward to help students with food insecurity
Haljit Basuljevic – Contributor
Students Services staff and Chartwells have employed a new program called Swipe It Forward, which allows students to provide meal donations to those on campus who are food insecure.
Dean of Student Services Jules Tetreault says that Swipe It Forward hopes to establishes a communitarian-based model where fellow students can look out for
those lacking a consistent, nutritional support. As of right now, students can donate extra meal swipes or “dining dollars” to Connecticut Hall, where there are also instructions on how to do so.
After the swipes are donated, Tetreault distributes the collected donations, whereby students lacking funds can head to the Student Services office, and receive an extra meal from their beneficiaries.
What constitutes a student as food insecure is either they do not have enough money to purchase food on a daily basis, or do not have enough food to satisfy their hunger, according to Aleyra Lamarche of the AmeriCorps Vista program.
“Or they’re not eating healthy,” said Lamarche. “If you’re eating a bag of chips a day, or say something like a cup of noodles, you fall under that category,”
“Our hope is that with any program is that it will be used for students who
need it,” said Tetreault. “We’re trying to eliminate any obstacles that we can between students who are food insecure and those who are receiving it.”
Tetreault said there is difficulty in trying to identify those students who are food insecure and encouraging them to come forward and ask for the intended resources. This, he said, hopes to be alleviated by the exposure for the program expected to follow.
He also said that any fear of abuse for the Swipe It Forward program is given scarce attention, as the goal for this entire system is to raise awareness of the many problems students that lack resources face. This, and other future projects, he added, is to help eliminate the stigma of many students with impoverished standards.
So far, almost no advertisements have been put up for Swipe It Forward. According to Tetrault, the plan is to create and disperse more stations throughout campus so students gain more exposure. Despite this, he added that at least 15 students have already donated.
Tetrault stated the issues Swipe It Forward confronts is a part of a much broader narrative.
“Because we know it’s not just food. We know that students are homeless,” said Tetreault, “Some can’t take care of their siblings. Nor afford textbooks. This is part of a much bigger issue.”