George Washington University is once again partnering with Swipe Out Hunger, a national nonprofit addressing food insecurity on college campuses, to provide an easy way for students, faculty and staff to support their peers experiencing food insecurity. The end of semester donation campaign is running now through May 31.
“Swipe Out Hunger is a great program, and there's no cost to the university,” said Emily Dieker, director of GWorld. “100% of all of the funds donated go directly back to supporting our students in need.”
The Swipe Out Hunger campaign was first introduced at GW in November 2020 through a partnership established through GWorld and GW Dining.
Students cannot receive a refund for unspent money on their GWorld cards, nor can they transfer funds between accounts or to their student account to pay tuition. GWorld Dining Dollars and Colonial Cash balances can be spent year round and always roll over to the next academic year. Graduating students’ GWorld cards typically expire on Sept. 1. However, they can purchase an Alumni GWorld card and transfer any remaining balance to that card.
Swipe Out Hunger offers an alternative for students who will have unspent money to help their peers in need, especially coming out of the pandemic and as inflation continues to rise this spring. Food insecurity is a nationwide issue, and a recent Swipe Out Hunger study showed that 35% of college students said hunger has impacted their ability to study since March 2020.
“We're going into finals, and students who are hungry can't study or write papers as well if they don’t have the energy to do so,” said Andy Sonn, director of Student Life who oversees The Store. “So, these donations really are vital to students doing well. It ties in directly with their academic success.”
Students can donate through the GET Mobile app, which is where students and employees can manage their GWorld accounts. Once students are in their account, they can select “Meal Donations” and choose the account (Dining Dollars or Colonial Cash) and the amount to donate. The transaction is then approved and made immediately.
Every dollar donated goes directly into purchasing food that can be stocked in The Store. GW’s food pantry purchases items from places such as Wegmans or Aldi and works with Capital Area Food Bank in securing donations. The Store prioritizes healthy items, Sonn said, and considers gluten free and vegan diets in purchasing and accepting both perishable and non-perishable food items.
The Store is a student-run organization and has about 100 volunteers making the operation possible. Sonn was quick to credit the leadership team of senior Mira Zelle, junior Sua Cho Jung and junior Leonela Tase Suerio, in addition to graduate coordinator Kelvin Williams.
The Student Association has given funds for purchasing food, while the Division for Student Affairs helps with staffing and funding. Parents, students, alumni, faculty and staff have also given enough so that The Store has an ongoing endowment.
“It’s an amazing sense of community,” Sonn said. “It also shows the generosity of the GW community.”
The Swipe Out Hunger campaign will build on that sense of community as it encourages peers helping peers to tackle an issue that affects many.
“Every donation makes a difference,” Dieker said. “Whether a student gives 50 cents or $25, it all adds up and makes a big difference to students in need. I’m excited we have this Swipe Out Hunger partnership and are part of the solution to swiping out hunger at GW.”
Donating GWorld funds through Swipe Out Hunger is completely voluntary, and donations are not considered tax deductible. All donations are split evenly between the Store and the Abrahms Family Fund. The GWorld Office is available to answer any questions or for assistance with the GET app.