SUNY Delhi Pioneers SUNY-Wide Initiative to Fight Student Hunger

SUNY Delhi Pioneers SUNY-Wide Initiative to Fight Student Hunger

SUNY Delhi helping to Fight Hunger
"Swipe It Forward" utilizes a campus meal swipe system for donated meals.

In an effort to address the reality of student hunger and food insecurity, SUNY Delhi has developed a proactive new program, Swipe It Forward, designed to offer a discreet way for students in need to receive donated meals on their meal swipe account. To recognize the launch of the program, representatives from SUNY administration and Governor Andrew Cuomo's Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) visited the Delhi campus Wednesday to discuss the initiative and how they hope it will lead to a SUNY-wide strategy to expand on existing efforts to end hunger among college students.

SUNY Delhi fighting Hunger Left to right: John L. Graham (SUNY Assistant Provost for Student Affairs), Michael Laliberte (SUNY Delhi President), Susan Zimet (Food and Anti-Hunger Policy Coordinator for the NY Governor's Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance)

Affecting 1 in 3 college students nationally, food insecurity threatens a student's ability to focus in class, stay in school, and feel part of the campus community. In addition, there is a stigma around being low-income and shut out from a communal space such as the dining hall. Swipe It Forward allows students to anonymously request meal swipes on their cards from an online meal bank where students with unused bonus meals are able to donate them.

SUNY Delhi's Food Insecurity Task Force developed the program in collaboration with Swipe Out Hunger, a national non-profit organization working with over 80 campuses nationwide. The first of its kind within the SUNY system, Swipe It Forward will be implemented at SUNY Delhi in Fall 2019.

"We are exceptionally pleased with the leadership and excellent work taking place to address student hunger at SUNY Delhi," said John L. Graham, Associate Provost for Student Affairs for SUNY. "As we continue to work assiduously in service to students to address what is now a national challenge on the higher education landscape, it will take the collective efforts of key internal and external stakeholders to develop and sustain long-term solutions. Supported by the Chancellor and the SUNY Board of Trustees, the Food Insecurity Task Force is developing a comprehensive intervention platform of strategic partners such as Swipe Out Hunger to widen our existing efforts to complement the excellent support our campuses already provide to students through on and off campus food pantries and community-based partnerships with food banks and emergency food assistance service providers."

"We view SUNY Delhi as early adopters of innovation and Swipe Out Hunger as the next phase of important relationships needed to achieve the long-term goals of the Food Insecurity Task Force," Graham continued.

According to Tomás Aguirre, Vice President for Student Life at SUNY Delhi, Swipe It Forward offers an empowering experience for students on both sides of the issue. "It is an innovative solution in educating students about this nationwide problem that also allows for a thoughtful and dignified way to offer or receive support between fellow students. I'm proud that our task force has actively sought solutions to food insecurity on our campus and can now serve as the model for other SUNY campuses."