New York City, NY — by Molly Koch
This story was originally published on New York University’s Washington Square News.
The student government’s Swipe it Forward program is one of the few resources for food-insecure students on campus, allowing those with meal plans to donate extra meal swipes to fellow students who need them. The essential program is continuing this semester, but a number of new restrictions are making it unnecessarily difficult to access for the students who need it the most.
The program addresses a prominent need on campus — a total of 41% of student respondents in a 2019 Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development study met criteria for food insecurity at NYU. With Manhattan being the most expensive place to live in the United States, going to college in New York City exacerbates any financial difficulties students may already have. Some students depend on Swipe it Forward week-to-week just to put food on their plates.
Despite the need for a program that comprehensively addresses food insecurity on campus, NYU has restricted students’ eligibility to use Swipe it Forward, and made it so that even eligible students can only use it once per week. However, a singular meal a week does not comport with the needs of food-insecure students, who face a daily — if not hourly — struggle.
The program becoming more exclusive is only the first of its problems. Swipe it Forward is already limited in its dining locations, with only 5 out of the more than 15 dining locations on campus offering the free meals. When you also take into account the fact that students can only use one swipe a week, a program that was already not enough becomes even more inadequate.
Read the rest of the story at Washington Square News.