According to a Colorado State University survey, nearly 10 percent of students attending identify as experiencing food insecurities.
Students experiencing these uncertainties do not have access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. Rams Against Hunger is a program Colorado State University conducts through the office of Student Leadership, Involvement and Community Engagement (SLiCE) in an effort to provide emergency relief for students experiencing food insecurities.
There are several avenues by which the Rams Against Hunger program assists those students in need, including the Meal Swipe Program. The program provides dining center meal swipes to students who are selected to participate in the program each semester.
“Students receive a total of 75 meals per semester,” says Jen Johnson, assistant director of community engagement and volunteer programs. “Unfortunately, with our resources based solely on donations, we have over 200 students currently on the wait list to get into this meal swipe program.”
“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 Services. So the department investigated ways it could legally contribute to this program while being fiscally responsible. From its efforts and a co-partnership with the SLiCE office, the CSU Student Day of Giving was developed.
Held on Oct. 16, World Food Day, the CSU Student Day of Giving allowed students with on-campus meal plans to donate up to two of their unused guest meal swipes. These donations were directly invested into the Rams Against Hunger: Meal Swipe Program and will provide resources to more students on the wait list.
“The response was overwhelmingly positive,” says Jason Scott, project and program manager for Residential Dining Services. “To see so many students willing to donate and help their fellow Rams was truly inspiring.”
Through the one-day donation event, 1,720 individual meals were donated and collected for Rams Against Hunger.
“We had stations set up at every entrance of our dining centers during lunch and dinner hours,” says Royce Lahman, meal access coordinator for Residential Dining Services. “With everyone walking through the door that day, we saw roughly 23 percent of students donate to this program.”
“With such positive feedback and Dining Services’ ability to support this program, we hope to continue the Student Day of Giving in the future,” Poore says.
Thanks to this first program’s success, Residential Dining Services and the SLiCE office plan on conducting this campaign again in the spring semester.