App uses extra meal swipes for good cause

By Tiffanie Hwang, Staff Writer

It all started two years ago as a response to an NYU student who anonymously posted on NYU Secrets that he or she only had a few dollars for food to get through the next two weeks. Many comments from other NYU students flooded in, offering to buy or provide a meal swipe to the anonymous student. Those posts were the inspiration behind the new club Share Meals.

Almost all NYU students can recall, especially from their freshman year, having an excess of unused meal swipes left at the end of the semester. These meal swipes do not roll over to the next semester and hence, most often go to waste.

Share Meals allows students to sign up to either offer any number of their extra meal swipes onto the website, or to receive and use any of these swipes. The site then matches students based on their availability in their schedules, and then the students can meet up, dine together and meet a new peer. It aims to not only utilize the meal swipe excess, but to also fight against hunger and loneliness, especially within the college setting.

Recently, Share Meals officially became an NYU All-Square Club.  According to Stern sophomore Darien Cheng, treasurer of Share Meals, many food events are already being planned for the upcoming months to come.

“The club will also start hosting not just food events, but also community service opportunities and weekly meetings,” Cheng said. “We also wanted to partner up with other organizations at these meetings too, and talk about topics like food insecurity that is prevalent in college campuses like NYU.”

One issue the club’s members have found is that currently, all the meal swipe exchanging is done on Share Meals’ website. This means students have to wait a day for the website to pair them up with another student at a future time instead of being able to utilize another student’s meal swipe at their own convenience or at that moment. However, Share Meals is planning to release an app that will be available to all NYU students to download and use their NYU email to create an account.

“The app will be in real time so it will show if anyone is currently offering a meal swipe and if anyone needs one,” Cheng said. “Then the student will be able to chat with them, like ‘Hey, want to meet at this dining hall?’ and so then students are able to offer and use meal swipes at a faster and more convenient way.”

Share Meals currently has over 100 meal swipes waiting to be used by students who need them. It’s a great way to not let those extra swipes go to waste as the semester reaches it last few weeks.

A version of this story appeared in the Dec. 7 print edition. Email Tiffanie Hwang at [email protected]