One Card office helps Lakers to “Swipe Out Hunger”


Samantha Weber, Staff writer

At the end of last semester, Mercyhurst University started a new campaign called Swipe Out Hunger. This campaign is helping combat student hunger and food insecurity on college campuses.

Swipe Out Hunger allows students to donate their unused meal swipes to other students who are in financial need, rather than having these pre-purchased swipes going to waste and expiring at the end of the semester.

When Mercyhurst switched to fully online classes toward the end of last semester, many students chose to go home early and finish out the semester remotely.

Since many of these students had extra meal swipes that they were not going to use that semester, they were given the option to donate their extra meal swipes to the students who needed them and were still on campus.

“We have such a diverse meal delivery system on campus and honestly, there is a lot of waste in the dining plans. It’s not anyone’s fault, but students have no problem running out to get food from outside sources while letting their meal plan go unused,” said John Patterson, the director of the OneCard office.

Patterson designed the software for the campus to be able to implement this campaign.

Students are encouraged to download the GET app on their phones. Through this app, students can keep track of their swipes, dining dollars and bonus bucks. It is also on this app where students can donate their swipes if they are not planning on using them.

Donations can happen at any time. However, for meal swipes students can only donate five at a time with a limit of 10% until the last two weeks of the semester, when students can donate however many swipes they want.

The only limitation with dining dollars is that they have to already be in your account before you are able to donate them. When you donate a meal, they all go to one account until they are needed and then they are dispersed into the proper accounts of students. Patterson explained how he got involved in making this campaign.

“I attended a webinar on Nov. 14, 2019 and at the conclusion reached out to Emily Kass, the National Programs Coordinator at Swipe Out Hunger and told her I wanted to register Mercyhurst University with the program. I started working to build the infrastructure to make it work,” Patterson said.

He then reached out to organizational leadership associate professor Anne Zaphris, Ph.D. because he heard her class was building a similarly-minded team for their class project. They set up a meeting and decided it would be a great fit for their project and would help a good cause.

When the campaign first came out, it was heavily advertised on Mercyhurst social media to help spread the word to as many students as possible. Last semester, when this program was first introduced, there were over 1,400 meals donated.

Keep this opportunity in mind to help other Mercyhurst students throughout the semester, and don’t be afraid to reach out if you are in need of a meal.