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Just Keep Swiping, Just Keep Swiping: How Colleges are Leveraging Swipe Programs

Amidst the rapid changes college campuses have been forced to take as a result of COVID-19, we wanted to offer some bright spots of how several universities have continued to leverage the success of their swipe campaigns. Their collective efforts have successfully helped and empowered students struggling with food insecurity, especially during this uncertain time.

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) 

As of March 2020, more than 32,000 swipes have been donated, breaking UCLA’s 2019 swipe record by more than double. Because many meal plan holders were asked to leave campus during the time of their Swipe Drive, it presented an opportunity to secure greater Bruin participation than usual. UCLA’s record milestone is an example of how a community continuously comes together to provide support and relief during a crucial time.

University of Minnesota Twin Cities (UMN)

UMN student advocates held several Swipe Drives earlier in the semester, reaching their goal of 1,000 swipes by mid-February. As a result, students are able to continue to access support from Swipe Out Hunger and receive hot meals from the single dining hall that remains open to serve remaining students in need. Moreover, students who had previously requested swipes have the option to return them if they have left campus and have no use for them. The university’s ID card office has been managing all these returns and continues to distribute meals to those who are requesting assistance through the Swipe Out Hunger program. UMN’s growing swipe bank with the help of returned, unused swipes demonstrates the value of community partnerships.

California State University East Bay (CSU East Bay)

CSU East Bay previously held a Swipe Drive earlier in the year and swipes are still being distributed among students in need. CSU East Bay’s perseverance early on in the semester has had tremendous positive impact for students currently affected by COVID-19, highlighting the significance of year-round student mobilization and advocacy efforts.

The University of Southern Mississippi (USM)  

USM led a Swipe Drive earlier in the year that enabled the Eagle’s Nest pantry to continue providing meals to those who rely on the resource. With residence halls and dining services still open and operational, students are able to fulfill their basic needs. USM’s dedicated student community has remained strong and steady during an unprecedented time.

The University of Iowa 

University of Iowa has been in contact with students who previously applied for meal assistance about remaining operational dining halls. For those who do not plan to use their remaining swipes, students will have the option to return them so they can be redistributed to students facing food insecurity. Students at the University of Iowa are remaining resilient and collectively helping their peers most in need.

Calvin University

Remaining funds on student community dining plans will carry over to the 2020-2021 academic year for students to use. Graduating seniors will receive refunds based on the percentage of meal funds already used but may waive this option to donate unused meal points to their Swipe Out Hunger program. Seniors may also request to have their remaining meal points transfer to a sibling currently attending the school, or to a sibling who will enroll in the next academic year. Calvin University students’ dedication shows the various possibilities there are to eliminate (generational) food insecurity on campus. 

California State University Monterey Bay (CSU Monterey Bay) 

Although their annual spring Swipe Drive may not take place in light of COVID-19, CSU Monterey Bay campus leaders are looking towards a brighter future. They were recently informed about the partnership between Swipe Out Hunger and CBORD, the tech company that provides their campus meal cards. CSU Monterey Bay leaders plan to capitalize on the opportunity in the future to gather more swipe donations via the CBORD GET Student app. This ability to plan for the future of their campus’ food security efforts strengthens the community’s spirit today.

These schools and others are rapidly adapting during this uncertain time and the Swipe Out Hunger team could not be more proud of their efforts in helping one another. Together, we will persevere and emerge as a stronger community. 

If you have any updates on your Swipe Out Hunger program, reach out to alexa@swipehunger.org

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