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A Week in the Life of a University of Minnesota Anti-Hunger Advocate: Part Three

This is the third of a three-part series for Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week 2020 written by University of Minnesota’s Swipe Out Hunger’s Co-President, Gigi Otten. Over the last few months, her and her incredible team of student advocates have galvanized on campus and beyond to create lasting change in the face of so many obstacles. We asked her to tell us how the Swipe Out Hunger team at University of Minnesota made it happen!

A New Way for the New Year

This last semester forced the UMN Swipe Out Hunger team to reform its program. The Big C hit the pause button on our entire Swipe Drive program. We hope to continue the Drive in the future, but supplement it with our new found partnerships. Throughout this saga, our Advocacy and Social Media Team Leaders (and by that I mean everyone in our six person club) have been working hard to let students know of the constantly shifting food resources available to them. They are constantly keeping our Instagram and Facebook page updated and in tip-top shape. They also write letters to a number of state and federal legislatures to expand our growing network of support. After little persuasion, we convinced Minnesota Gov. Waltz to declare College Food Insecurity Awareness Day for the second year in a row. Alongside other Swipe Out Hunger chapters in Minnesota, I met with Senator Tina Smith’s (D-MN) staff (who are working on a bill for emergency aid to college students even after the pandemic!), to share our story and advocate for our community. Trey got his picture in the newspaper! And we haven’t even finished fall semester.

L to R: Swipe Out Hunger Co-President Trey Feuerhelm, Team Member Madeline Gothel, Team Member Meredith Song, and Social Media Lead Alara Reed

Nevertheless, there is still work to be done. During all of these successes, more and more students found themselves facing hardship. As we head towards another semester, the new year promises new complications. Funding from the CARES Act and other COVID related resources runs out with the turn of the new year. The loss of these programs will mean renewed uncertainty with even more students finding themselves choosing between tuition and food.

Learn how after the UMN Swipe Out Hunger team galvanized their college, they then invited their community and legislators to the fight to end student food insecurity all Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week from November 16 – November 20, 2020:

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