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ASG pilots meal swipe donation program

<p>According to the Miami Climate Survey, there is a significant number of students that are food insecure.</p>

According to the Miami Climate Survey, there is a significant number of students that are food insecure.

Miami University’s Associated Student Government (ASG) is working with the Student Success Center (SSC) to facilitate a swipe donation pilot program for students to give their extra food swipes to students in need. 

The swipe donation pilot program allows students who have extra swipes on their meal plan to donate them to the SSC the week before Thanksgiving. The SSC staff members will then donate the swipes to students who are food insecure and request help. 

ASG members Effie Fraley, Shelby Frye and Ben Waugh started working on the program in early 2019. They read a statistic from the Miami Climate Survey that said a significant amount of Miami students have to worry about where their next meal will come from.

“After reading this survey, we wanted to start a program to help students at Miami,” Waugh said. “Other schools have programs like this, and we wanted to follow in their footsteps.” 

Fyre said Thanksgiving week was chosen as the pilot week for the program because the majority of students will leave campus for Thanksgiving break and have extra swipes to donate.

The senators reached out to the assistant director of SSC, Cory Duchesneau, to help them initiate the program.

“We knew the center was there to help students,” Frye said. “We wanted to help students who struggle with food to have a painless process to ask for swipes.”

Frye understands that there is a stigma surrounding the socioeconomic status of students at Miami. There are students who are in need of help but are afraid to tell their friends or reach out for assistance. 

“Twenty-five undergraduate students have come to us asking for food specifically,” Duchesneau said. “But we estimate that there are a total of 50 because not everybody comes and asks.” 

ASG will hold a table on the second floor of the Armstrong Student Center near Emporium from Nov. 18-22 where each student is able to donate up to seven swipes of their meal plan for students in need of food assistance. 

ASG will be collecting swipes at the following times:

  • 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 18 

  • 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Nov. 19 

  • 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.  on Nov. 20

  • 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Nov. 21

  • 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 22

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ASG will also have senators available in dining halls around campus during that week to take donations. 

ASG senators will have tablets and ID readers to collect the donations. With help from Brian Woodruff, the director of housing and operational services, and Angeline Smith, the administrator of campus cards, ASG created an event through MyCard to read students’ ID cards for them to donate meal swipes. 

“When a student taps their ID card, they are consenting the program to take their extra meal swipes for the week,” Frye said. 

If a student does not have their student ID card, they can donate swipes by entering in their unique ID. 

The swipes will then be distributed to students in need through SSC’s Miami Cares program. 

The program helps students pay for housing, food, clothing or laptops. SSC works with students individually to determine their exact needs. 

Students who are in need of aid can go onto SSC’s website on the student and family resources page, and press on the housing, food, apparel and laptops (Miami Cares) tab. On this page, students are able to complete a Miami Cares resources form, to indicate their level of need and provide their name and email. An SSC staff member will then be in contact with the student to assess their needs and make a plan. 

SSC can help students who need help for as long as they need it: a week, a month, semester, year or their entire time at Miami.