The idea for Swipes for Swoop’s originally came from EMU 2018 student government senator and Swoop’s volunteer, Lewis Jacques. Like most universities and colleges, EMU’s dining meal plans come with a declining balance component (known as “Flex Dollars” at EMU) for students to use on extra meals and convenience items at dining locations. For EMU students, these Flex Dollars must be used by the end of each academic year. After consulting with other students, Lewis discovered that many students reported having excess Flex Dollars that they had no use for and were going to go to waste as a result.
At the end of the 2018 Winter semester, students were encouraged to donate excess Flex Dollars at EMU Dining Services’ cash registers. The goal was set at $2,500 to provide 10 EMU students experiencing food insecurity with $200 Flex Meal Plans in the upcoming 2018-2019 academic year. With 448 participants, EMU met and exceeded this goal in one day, on April 9th, 2018, and raised $5,000 in Flex dollars, thus providing 25 students with $200 Flex dollars each. The generous response of EMU students is so moving and inspiring that Swoop’s Pantry and EMU Dining Services collaborated again in 2019 to make this campaign an annual tradition.
In April 2019, EMU Dining Services and Swoop’s Pantry set the goal to $5000 and EMU rose to the challenge! As a result, EMU Dining Services provided 25 installments of $200 Flex Dollars to Swoop’s Pantry users again in the 2019-2020 academic year utilizing a similar application process. This successful collaboration highlights the barriers many students face while earning their degree, and the willingness of students to assist their peers who are in need.
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