Meal 'Swipe Bank' to be implemented in spring 2020


An employee swipes a student's CentralCard on Nov. 20 at the Real Food on Campus cafeteria.

At the start of the spring 2020 semester, Central Michigan University students will have access to a Swipe Bank and $1 meals.

During the last week, students, parents and community members have taken to social media and discussed the need for a meal swipe donation plan

A group of students and staff had already been in the progress of creating a program.

The Swipe Bank will start on Jan. 6, 2020 and will allow students with food insecurity to request swipes.

"At the end of every semester, there are a significant number of unused guest passes; that will be the foundation to start the program," President Bob Davies said. "Students who have food insecurity will be able to request swipes and then they will be given to them on their ID card."

Students will also be able to donate swipes to program throughout the semester to help their fellow students with food insecurity.

“We are going to rely on the honesty of the individuals,” Davies said. “If someone requests, we are not going to ask questions, we’re not going to second guess, they will be given the swipes.”

In a statement addressed to CMU students on Nov. 21, Director of CMU’s Residence Housing Association, Mary St. John, wrote that she was working with Campus Dining and Student Auxilary Services to start a $1 meal program.

The program will provide unused meals from the Down Under Food Court that will be sold Monday through Thursday at 5:30 p.m. after the food court closes.

"There will be salads and chicken, based on what was not purchased during that day," Davies said. "Right now, all that food is being composted because they can't keep it."

Each meal will cost $1 to fund the cost of the program, and any of the excess funds will be used to create more food insecurity programs. 

Davies said that the social media posts, protest, and petition didn't necessarily expedite the program, but did raise the issue and made it much broader. 

"I think it provided a platform for students to increase the urgency of the situation," Davies said. "There was already a committee put together by RHA and they were working through some ideas."

Davies announced this initiative on Wednesday, Nov. 27 on his Presidential Perspectives blog.