Starting next semester, students with dining plans will be able to donate spare swipes to those who go hungry. Campus Dining Services and Tiger Pantry have teamed up to create a pilot program where students will be able to donate up to 10 meal swipes, which will go to students who are registered Tiger Pantry clients.
Swipe donation programs have been a goal of various Missouri Students Association platforms for years. It’s encouraging to see that students will now have the chance to help others with their excess swipes, but there are still limitations. Students can only donate a maximum of 10 swipes, which have to be donated before the last two weeks of the semester. Swipes can also only be used at all-you-can-eat locations, not at a-la-carte locations.
It’s great that a program has been created, but adjustments to the limits would allow students to help more people. While it is understandable that the program has a deadline to prevent an influx of last-minute donations, most students do not know they will have swipes left over until the last couple-week stretch. Allowing students to donate swipes until the very end of the semester may not allow every donated swipe to be used, but it is better that somebody could be helped, rather than nobody benefitting.
The cap on the donation of swipes also seems unreasonable. No one buys a dining plan intending to have leftover swipes — it just happens. If someone has 30 more swipes than they need, buying 40 blueberry muffins from Emporium is less fulfilling than buying 30 hot meals for someone in need. Allowing people to donate would place less guilt on students with a plethora of swipes and help those who aren’t as fortunate.
Because Tiger Pantry is an MSA auxiliary and MSA members have wanted a program similar to this for so long, MSA should make sure to promote this program early and often, so that students know that they have the potential to help do good.
While the program could use improvements, it is a good start to help students who need swipes and students who need to get rid of them. In the meantime, if students are looking to use swipes to help others, Tiger Pantry sets up tables outside of a-la-carte locations like Emporium for students to buy nonperishable items with swipes and then donate. If you are looking to help a fellow student in need with your meal plan, take all of the opportunities available to you.