As a college student do you find yourself being on campus for hours during the week and you’re hungry but don’t have a meal plan, or do you find paying for food on campus to be expensive?
The Swipe Assistance Program is an evolution of the previous Emergency J-point program. Before, students would need to pay per item. Now, it’s a swipe-in system with your student ID and after you swipe-in, it’s all you can eat meals. When the dining facilities made changes to its program, Ravin Craig, Oh SNAP coordinator, aligned it with new systems to support students that may be food insecure.
“The idea is we’re giving swipes to students to help them get through the week when they are on campus,” Craig said. “So they can meet their nutritional needs, eat a meal every day on campus is the idea. And it’s free.”
Students are given a number of swipes based on how many days they plan on being on campus weekly. If students have a meal plan they would be less likely to be considered for free swipe. Swipes go directly into your student ID in two business days.
Max Flores, a fourth-year Wildlife major, wasn’t aware of emergency swipes. According to Craig, only 23 students have signed up for the Swipe Assistance program for the fall 2021 semester.
“I like catch myself spending a lot of money at the Depot because I haven’t been at the J since a freshman,” Flores said. “I try and take advantage of most free programs HSU has.”
According to Kaitlynn Gerton, a dining service employee, without the swipe system, meals costs:
Breakfast – $7.25
Lunch/Brunch – $9.75
Dinner – $10.25
The other portion of the program allows students who have meal plans to donate swipes to the Swipe Assistance Program to help other students in need. According to Craig, they are still working out the details on how to do that.
How does the Swipe Assistance Program work?
- Students need to email email@example.com and ask for the Swipe Assistance program. Craig follows up with those emails and sends a series of questions for students to answer. The questionnaire helps Craig understand what students may need and helps her connect students to other food resources on and off-campus.
Where Can Students Use Swipes?
- The swipes can only be used at the J dining services for any meal of the day. Swipes can not be used at the Depot or at the College Market Place.
Can students get more free swipes?
- After students have used up all their free swipes they can reach out to Craig by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will follow up with students to give more swipes to those who need them.
Will the Swipe Assistance Program be available for future semesters?
- “Definitely next semester,” Craig said. “As long as I can keep it going, there will be a version of this for as long as I have control. And you know even past me leaving, people are invested in this happening. The thing I can’t guarantee — that it will work the exact same way.”
How Can Students Stay Updated or Learn More?You can find more information about the Swipe Assistance Program on Oh SNAP’s website www.hsuohsnap.org. You can follow Oh SNAP’s Instagram @hsuohsnap to stay updated on different food resources and other on-campus activities.