For students who have found themselves out of dining hall block meals and needing food, a solution is set to come soon. Food-For-All, Undergraduate Student Senate (USS) and Aramark are all working together to allow students with excess meal plans to donate their block meals.
USS Vice President of Campus Betterment Gabby Brill and Zach Hewson are two of the main forces leading the revamped meal donation plan. Set to take place in February of next semester, the donated meals will be available to all students who do not have an unlimited meal plan set up already.
The idea came about when last year’s VP of Campus Betterment Pablo Venezuela and his team began a similar project a couple of years prior but it did not develop the way they had originally hoped. According to Brill, the original meal donation program was not advertised well to students.
“Our goal is to expand the marketing aspect of the program so we can get more students donating, as well as more students using the block meals,” Hewson said. “We plan on running a trial period in January to get all of the kinks out.”
The program will require student’s names and Boxer ID numbers, which is what the USS was hoping to avoid.
“We wanted to give the students anonymity since food insecurity is something we want to take seriously to make sure each student feels safe,” Brill said. “We are hoping to create a way that the students can sign the form and a confidentiality agreement so student’s information can stay between Student Senate, Food For-All and Aramark.”
Hewson used Willamette University as a successful example of this type of program.
“Willamette has a very good system going with their dining services as far as donating meals and their type of declining balance,” Hewson said. “But with how things work here, the information we need is the same as if they were creating an account with Aramark.”
In previous years the senate has tried using other ways such as vouchers, but felt it singled students out too much.
“We want students to feel like they aren’t being shown off for being different and when everyone is swiping cards and you hand in a ticket it’s easy to feel like you are on the outside,” Hewson said.
They hope the new-style form will give students the security they hope for. The form for the donation of block meals will be up on the Student Senate website when it is completed next semester. According to Brill, a system to use with declining balance money (DB) does not sound likely.
“Students wont feel the same way about donating their DB because it can be carried over to the next semester,” Brill said. “The students are okay with donating meals because they know if they aren’t used, they are put to waste.”