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Swipe It Forward

By Samantha Latos; For the Clock
On November 24, 2017

Swipe It Forward 

Samantha Latos

For The Clock 

Plymouth State University held Swipe It Forward for the first time this week, continuing into next.

It is an existing charity campaign that was successful at other campuses such as the University of New Hampshire.

It started on November 14th, and will continue to run until Tuesday, November 21st. During this time, students, faculty, and staff with meal plans may donate one meal swipe per person. Those without meal plans are encouraged to give a cash donation, because it is for such a great cause. Donations can be made at the registers at Prospect Hall, and the Union Grille.

Many people helped make this event possible. The Student Support Foundation worked with Sodexo and the Morgridge Family Foundation, who are their creators and sponsors.

Emily Sullivan, member of the Student Support Foundation, thinks that Swipe It Forward is successful so far. “We had a small goal of between 50 to 100 meals and we exceeded that in only the first day of the campaign”, she said. Those who donated, or will donate during this week will receive a colorful paper hand, on which they can write their names, and place on the window of the Prospect Hall. After the first day alone, the window was covered with them. 

Swipe It Forward does not directly involve food waste, but it does involve food insecurity. Rachelle Lyons, Research Assistant Professor, researches the connection in order to find solutions. “There is definitely a relationship between hunger and food waste”, she said, “In the United States, we produce more than enough food to feed our population twice over. Yet, forty percent of the calories never get consumed, and they go to waste.” The fact that people go hungry in this country is especially despairing, because it is avoidable. All of the food that Americans waste should instead be going to citizens who need it. “We have a huge food waste problem, which then contributes over to greenhouse gas emissions”, Rachelle said, “It seems so silly that we are letting that happen when there are people who are not getting enough to eat.” Although Swipe It Forward is not actively preserving food, it is helping distribute meals to the people in our community who need it.

Casey Krafton, advisor for the Student Support Foundation, hopes that Swipe It Forward will become an annual event. “I want this to be a sustainable program, this is the first time we are doing it, which is why it seems so condensed”, she said, “We are trying to figure out what we need, and how to make our efforts address that need.” This is a pre-existing event, and applying it to PSU was tricky, but worth it.

It is crucial to provide meals to as many PSU students as possible.

Rachelle said, “It’s so important to provide food for our community members, because it's an immediate need. Swipe it Forward is a way we can accomplish that action.” The Student Support Foundation wants the people of our community to take care of each other, and integrating this campaign into our school will benefit everyone.

All of the donated meals will be put into a virtual meal bank, and the process for distributing meals is to be determined. Students may be able to apply for grants of ten meal swipes, but that will probably have to change. Ten swipes will likely not be enough for the students, and so the plan will change in order to adequately help them.

Casey and Rachelle believe that it is important to know the difference between feeling hungry, and not having access to food. Students who struggle with food insecurity are facing a much greater risk. Swipe It Forward is meant to aid students who have finished meal plans, and do not have access to meals. “In our research, we found that people were not sure of the difference between feeling hungry and being deprived of food”, Casey said, “There’s a difference between skipping lunch and then really craving pizza, and not having a place to get food. That may be not having access to cooking, or not being able to afford food, and we want people to recognize the difference.” Eating at the Prospect Hall is usually the best bet for students, because they do not have to worry about having the means to cook, or otherwise prepare food. PSU’s Prospect Hall offers hot meals that are much simpler to access than anywhere else on campus.

Students who find themselves without food are encouraged to reach out to the Student Support Foundation, and they are also encouraged to visit the food pantry, which is located in the back of Belknap Hall. There are many resources in Plymouth for anyone who is struggling with access to food.

The Student Support Foundation is always looking for new members. They meet every monday at 7:30 in Belknap Hall, where the food pantry is located. Anyone who is interested in joining this club should contact Emily Sullivan at ers1011@plymouth. edu. 


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