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EDITORIAL: Meal swipes show when students come together, anything is possible

Photo illustration by Sarah Brownell.

Senior Alexandra Garay began a petition three months ago titled, “CMU students feeding CMU students – creating a meal swipe donation program!”

Nearly 6,000 people have signed the petition since its creation, calling for Central Michigan University to make a change. Others provided social media posts and support.

The effectiveness of her effort was immediate.

One week after Garay began calling for students to rally together, President Bob Davies announced in his Nov. 27 Presidential Perspectives blog the university would be moving forward toward a meal “swipe bank” and $1 meal option at the Down Under Food Court.

The programs were launched Jan. 6 and have been in place for the spring semester.

Students came together, expressed their frustrations and forced programs into action. They didn’t wait for the administration to make a change. As a matter of fact, the students were the change.

That’s the power of coming together.

Executive Director of Auxiliary Services Cal Seelye agreed. The students, not the administration, made the real difference in pushing to fight food insecurity.

"Did the student feedback on Twitter and the poll that went out impact our timeline or expedite things? Absolutely," Seelye said.

The Central Michigan Student Labor Union, following Garay’s petition, organized a protest outside of the Real Food on Campus (RFoC) dining hall. That was another aspect of forcing change that the administration took into notice.

Many of the stories we begin writing and investigating came from comments on Twitter and Facebook. For the meal swipes scenario, we wouldn’t have found out about the situation if it wasn’t for students sharing their opinions.

Within the next week, we’ll be publishing a story about complaints regarding our cafeteria food that stems from Aramark, the company that runs the dining halls on campus.

Again, we wouldn’t be able to write stories like these if students don’t speak up.

If it’s a post on social media, anonymous tip to our office or, if you’re up for it, a face-to-face conversation, we take every interaction with fellow students on campus seriously.

We are here to represent you, even if you don’t always agree with us, and communication is important to the way we work as a whole. 

Come together, share your opinions and help make our university a better place for everyone.