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Otterbein students band together to fight food insecurity on campus

Otterbein students band together to fight food insecurity on campus

Food insecurity has become a growing barrier to student success at universities across the United States. At Otterbein, students are coming together to support classmates and find solutions to the problem. Two new initiatives were introduced this year to do just that.

At the end of fall semester, when students need to perform their best for final exams, the Center for Community Engagement organized the first Got Swipes? program. With a meal plan, students pay in advance for their food. Since the plans do not carry over to the next semester some students may have meal “swipes” left over that they can’t use before they leave for break. The Got Swipes? program allows those with extra swipes to share with those who have none.

A second, larger initiative is the Promise House. The Promise House was born from a conversation during fall semester to address key socioeconomic barriers students face while in college, including food insecurity. Through the Promise House, students offer a series of services to help their peers succeed, including a campus food pantry, Ohio Benefits Bank counseling, peer advocacy, and educational workshops. Ten student Peer Advocates have taken the lead of this effort, and are responsible for recruiting additional volunteers and assisting students throughout the academic year.

In order to “pay it forward,” the Promise House is home to a food co-op where students can access free, healthy food. It also offers monthly meals, Dine-on-a Dime cooking lessons for students, and volunteer service opportunities mentoring local youth and serving at local food banks, the Otterbein Community Garden, and homeless shelters.

As a new Cardinal, there are a variety of meal plan options and fantastic treats waiting for you at Otterbein’s many dining options. Find out what students say are their favorite foods and where you can get them on the New Cardinals website.