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April 7, 2021 LA GRANDE, Ore. – The “starving college student” is an image that lived too strongly in the mind of political science major Keegan Sanchez, so he worked to change the stigma.
Upon returning to college from military training for his junior year, ASEOU President Sanchez found himself in need of food swipes at Eastern Oregon University. He was financially unable to purchase swipes and realized that he had become one of the many college students who struggles to afford food while completing their post-secondary education.
Refusing to believe that he was the only one in the area facing this problem, he worked with ASEOU and Sodexo to bring the Swipe Out Hunger program to EOU and provide support for many of the students who found themselves in similar situations.
“We’ve created a swipe bank, in which Sodexo will donate one swipe per mandatory meal swipe on campus to populate the bank initially,” Sanchez said.
Working with ASEOU, Sanchez and other committee members plan to hold events for the further collection of swipes. Noticing that many students had unused meal swipes when the terms ended, Sanchez found a way to utilize all swipes, so none went to waste.
“We will host swipe drives where we’ll ask students with meal plans to donate up to 10 swipes a term,” said Sanchez. “Then, we will use those meal swipes we collect and give them out to students who are facing food insecurity so they have something to eat.”
He also felt it was important to include that all students are welcome to apply. As the case manager, it is his duty to see all of the students who apply. Upon first application it is a no-questions-asked policy. Although Sanchez is aware that he will be unable to feed a student for a full term, he hopes that he will be able to help those who need it most.
“It’s no questions asked. The first time you apply, I’m not even going to think twice, I’m just going to click approve and put your information down. Once you start requesting more, we’ll start requesting more information and providing additional resources…I don’t see a situation where I’ll ever say ‘no’ to a student,” Sanchez said.
Students in need of these services or interested in donating up to 10 swipes, can find information on the ASEOU website or eou.edu/swipeouthunger.
For more information about “Swipe Out Hunger” visit eou.edu/swipeouthunger. To learn more about ASEOU visit eou.edu/csi/aseou.
By PR Intern Emily Andrews
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