‘Swipe It Forward’ merges with ‘Swipe Out Hunger’

Sofia RositaniReporter

Swipe It Forward is a meal swipe donation initiative on Southern’s campus that is now going to become a part of a national organization called ‘Swipe Out Hunger.’

Swipe It Forward was created on Southern’s campus to help students who are food insecure. This type of insecurity is a nationwide problem on almost all college campuses.

This organization offers many different opportunities for students to help another student in need, such as Swipe Pantry’s that allows students to donate their swipes in one area. These swipes can be used for places like Connecticut Hall, Student Center, and the Bagel Wagon.

According to Swipe Hunger’s website, “Swipe Out Hunger is dedicated to building partnerships with universities to implement both innovative and proven common sense solutions to address college student hunger.”

AmeriCorps Vista at the Student of Affairs Office Sarah Rodgers is pushing for the campus to be a part of Swipe Out Hunger. Rodgers said she has noticed many more students have been using Swipe It Forward on campus. Faculty have also been paying to donate swipes to students.

“A lot of it comes down to education around the program and that a lot of the students one, don’t know that there is three meal swipes if they need them and they have to get them from the Deans of Student Affairs Office,” Rodgers said, “or if they are not the ones in need they can help a student out, simply by swiping your card and saying ‘X amount of swipes’ is taken off so that someone can have a meal.”

Rodgers said she has noticed it is being used but more students can be helping with this program, especially with the amount of students on campus who eat at Connecticut Hall.

Rodgers will be on campus until July and is a part of Americorps, a program from the Federal Government that puts volunteers, or service members, into different areas of the country focused on different projects, she said.

For Rodgers, Southern is the site where she is doing her service, and Swipe It Forward is a big area she has been focusing on in the year she has on campus. She does more capacity building service rather than direct service.

“[My focus for Southern is] creating systems, marketing creation of the center, not as direct, but capacity building to create something on this campus that can function after I leave,” said Rodgers.

Student Government President Alexis Zhitomi said it is hard reaching out to food insecure students on campus because it can be difficult for them to find help.

“[It is] hard to target those certain populations because you don’t know who is food insecure on campus so how do you reach out?” she said. “How do you get the news out to these students that benefit from it?”

Zhitomi said one thing SGA can do to improve this program and to help the students who are food insecure is to talk more about this issue on campus and this organization.

Southern does not have any way to tell if a student is food insecure. Instead, Southern has an open-door policy; if the student needs a meal swipe then they can go to the Dean of Student Affairs and get a swipe that they need. Some may think there would be a problem going forward with this, but Rodgers said she does not feel worried about problems that can happen with this organization such as overuse and students abusing the system.

“I hope that they start using it. We have seen good numbers of people using it but we can always generate more giving out swipes,” said Rodgers “so there is a fear that we can run the bank dry, but there is enough to put on this campus that if that would happen we would be able to fill that bank up again.”

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