Swipe it Forward expands to include 4 additional dining halls


Joshua Plutchik

(Joshua Plutchik for WSN)

Bruna Horvath and Adrianna Nehme

Students can now donate meal swipes at four additional dining hall locations through Swipe it Forward, the Student Government Assembly’s meal swipe donation program. The program — which now allows students to donate meal swipes at nine dining halls and redeem them at five — began accepting donations on Tuesday. Students can start to redeem meal swipes on Feb. 7.

The program will also process donations and redemptions with an electronic system, which will allow students to access donations at the Lipton, Downstein and Third North dining halls, as well as at the Kosher Eatery and the Jasper Kane Café. During previous semesters, each participating dining hall had its own collection and redemption system.

Students who do not have a meal plan — and those who have run out of meal swipes or dining dollars — can use their NYU ID to redeem a meal swipe at any of the five participating dining halls. Students can now donate at 18 Below, the Marketplace at Kimmel, the Palladium dining hall and the UHall Commons Café, which student government leaders hope will encourage more students to use the program.

Stern first-year Sasha Beck said Swipe it Forward allowed her to redirect her unused meal swipes during past semesters and give back to students in need.

“I had so many,” Beck said. “I felt bad that I couldn’t really do much more. It’s also hard because with a meal plan, you have a certain amount but you don’t know if you’re going to use all of them. It’s harder to donate in the beginning than at the end.” 

In addition to using Swipe it Forward donations, students can apply to the Courtesy Meal Program, which provides students facing food insecurity with a complimentary 75 dining dollar credit up to three times each academic year.

Despite Swipe it Forward’s updates this semester, some students have continued to push for additional changes to the program’s donation system. Currently, students are able to redeem 10 meal swipes per day for personal use, but can only donate up to three every day. CAS first-year Lily Mobraaten, who donated her extra meal swipes at the end of last fall semester, said it would be beneficial if students could donate more meals per day. 

“It would make more sense to be able to donate as much as you can,” Mobraaten said. “I didn’t even have enough days left to donate all of them. I wanted to donate everything I had left to make sure that everyone had access to food.”

During previous semesters, the program struggled to obtain enough meal swipe donations to meet student demand. In November, SGA chair Ron Hall announced that Swipe it Forward only had 13 meal swipes remaining in the program’s virtual bank. Hall is currently leading a student government campaign to increase meal swipe donations, tabling at dining halls and putting up posters around campus. 

“Our big focus is trying to get those donations,” Hall said, encouraging students to donate a meal swipe the next time they visit a dining hall. “You’re going to really, truly, just transform students’ lives.”

Contact Adrianna Nehme at [email protected] and Bruna Horvath at [email protected].