On Sept. 20, Texas Woman’s University launched the Swipe it Forward campaign, which is hosted by the Swipe Out Hunger organization.
The Swipe it Forward campaign aims to improve food security for TWU students, and both students and faculty helped out with the campaign by donating two of their dining meal swipes per week. Swipe it Forward is a collaboration between Swipe Out Hunger, TWU Housing and Dining, Chartwells and the CARE office.
“When there are national surveys done around food security and college students, it’s pretty normal now to see about one in three students can experience some level of food insecurity,” Director of Health and Wellbeing Michelle Kelly said. “One in three is fairly common, but at times we’ve seen it creep up to even 40 percent and higher of students dealing with some type of food security.”
Sophomore child development major Raniya Terry is the president of the Swipe Out Hunger Organization at TWU and explained how she got involved with the organization.
“I got involved with this campaign [through] a friend,” Terry said. “One day she was telling me she was going to go to a Swipe Out Hunger meeting and I was intrigued. I was like ‘What is that?’ So I went to the meeting, I sat down and, honestly, after that first meeting, I wanted to be part of something special that helps college students get assistance.”
Kelly said that she got involved with the campaign through her job at Health and Wellbeing Initiative, where their focuses are on a variety of areas, including nutrition literacy and food security.
“We felt it was very important that you can’t talk to students about how to cook nutritious meals at a more basic level [if] they’re worried about where their next meal is going to come from, or about the limited resources they may have for it,” Kelly said. “From the very beginning, that has been an important goal for Eat Well, which is comprised of a collection of faculty and staff all over campus who have expertise in this topic.”
Terry said that, by becoming involved with this campaign, she learned to become more patient and that students who face food insecurity may not be comfortable opening up about it to others.
“When they come up to the table and inquire about the Minerva’s Market or Groceries to Go!, they still may not feel comfortable reaching out and asking for help,” Terry said. “As an organization, we want to continue to promote that we’re here to help. But, at the same time, we have to allow the ones that do need assistance to come to us because we don’t want to overstep in any way and just allow them to feel comfortable.”
When the campaign was finished, the final count for the meal swipes donated was 991.
Featured illustration by Stephanie Vo
Clarise Tujardon can be reached via email at email@example.com.