Meal swipe donation program targets food insecurity on campus

Damon Stone, News Reporter

The Student Government Association recently approved a new program which would allow students to donate excess meal swipes to peers who may be in need. 

Once the program goes into effect, students will be able to donate swipes on the 4th, 8th, and 12th week of each semester to students struggling with food insecurity. During those weeks, students will be able to donate one swipe per selected week. For every four meal swipes that students donate, the WKU Restaurant Group will donate one as well. 

Students who are struggling with food insecurity can then request those swipes up to two times per semester in either a five or 10 meal block plan. The total donation pot for meal swipes is up to 1,000 swipes per semester and the donated swipes should roll over each semester as well. 

“I know a lot of other SGAs around the country that have this program up and running where students could help other students out,” Cole Bornefeld, SGA Senator-at-Large, said. “I wanted students to have the opportunity to help other students out. I think about students that may, at the beginning of the semester, decide whether they want to eat and get some meal swipes, or buy that textbook in one of their classes; we want everyone to be able to eat.” 

The meals will be distributed through university ID cards and will be accepted at Fresh and Hilltopper Hub. Students on campus believe that this new program will help those in need, providing a new option for those struggling with meals.

“Already if I have leftover meal swipes, I’ll help out a friend that doesn’t have a meal swipe, so I think it’s great for those who go home on the weekends or just don’t need them,” Kelly Sherman, a psychology major, said. “On days where I help my friends, it’d be nice if I could continue to help them or other people that might need them.”

“That sounds good to me,” Hannah Crist, a psychology major, said. “I already have leftover meal swipes and I have one of the cheaper meal plans.”

Generally, students on campus share the same sentiment that it is in their interest to help their fellow peers when it comes to food insecurity. 

“I think that we as Hilltoppers should always strive to make sure our peers are helped out and have the same opportunities and options open to them as well,” Bornefeld said. “It’s ultimately up to students, whether or not they donate the swipes; students are going to have the opportunity to take advantage of the program if they’re struggling through food insecurity. The fact that [the university, WKU Restaurant Group and Aramark] were willing to come up with a proposal speaks volumes to their character; they truly have the students’ success on their mind at the end of the day.”

News Reporter Damon Stone can be reached at [email protected].