Colorado State University’s Rams Against Hunger program seeks to assist students who experience food insecurities. One avenue for this assistance is the meal swipe program, which provides dining center meal swipes to students who are selected to participate in the program each semester.
Those students receive a total of 75 meals per semester added to their RamCards, explains Jen Johnson, assistant director of community engagement & volunteer programs. “Unfortunately,” she adds, “with our resources based solely on donations, we have over 200 students currently on the waitlist to get into this meal swipe program.”
Enter CSU Dining Services.
“With so many students currently enrolling in the program and waiting to get in, we saw this as an opportunity for Dining Services to help out more,” says Liz Poore, director of residential dining.
After investigating ways on how it could legally contribute to the program while remaining fiscally responsible, the department decided on a co-partnership with the Student Leadership, Involvement and Community Engagement (SLiCE) office and the “CSU Student Day of Giving” was born.
Held Oct. 16th (World Food Day), the event was conducted campus wide and enabled students with on-campus meal plans to donate up to two of their unused guest meal swipes to the Rams Against Hunger Meal Swipe Program. At the end of the day, a total of 1,720 individual meals were donated, providing additional resources to the Ram’s Against Hunger Program that will allow it to increase the number of students it can support.
“This will help out tremendously,” Johnson says.
“The response for this inaugural event was honestly overwhelmingly positive,” adds Jason Scott, project and program manager for CSU Dining Services. “To see so many students willing to donate and help their fellow Rams was truly inspiring.”
“We had stations set up at every entrance to our dining centers at lunch and dinner hours,” explains Meal Access Coordinator Royce Lahman. “With everyone walking through the door that day, we had 23 percent of students donate to this program.”
“With such positive feedback and our ability to support this program at Dining Services, we hope to continue the Student Day of Giving into the future,” Poore notes. In fact, Residential Dining Services and the SLiCE office already plan on conducting the campaign again in the spring semester.
CSU’s Rams Against Hunger program is conducted through its SLiCE office in an effort to provide emergency relief for students who “do not have access to sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.” According to a CSU survey, nearly 10 percent of students attending identify as experiencing food insecurities.