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USG committee plans swipe donation program for charity

A new committee in the Undergraduate Student Government has proposed a plan to donate unused swipes at the end of the quarter to a local food bank, among other projects to help others and make campus greener.

USG’s Sustainability Committee was created this year, and is headed up by the director of sustainability, Dustin Homan, a fourth-year in agricultural and extension education.

“(We) strive to make The Ohio State University a sustainable campus and a national leader in student-led, green initiatives,” Homan said in an email.

Homan said Nick Messenger and Emily DeDonato, the president and vice president of USG, looked at where the university was headed and decided that the green sustainability initiative was moving forward. Homan said the two then decided to create the sustainability committee.

“You think of sustainability as this huge umbrella, you know, so what does that mean? So we kind of challenged our committee members to say, ‘What does sustainability mean to you?’ And so for Shane (Ingalls), sustainability meant, let’s not waste our food,” Homan said in an email.

Ingalls, a second-year in business, came up with a program called Swipes that Save, which would give students the option to donate any unused meal swipes at the end of the quarter to a local food bank, Homan said.

USG is taking the program to the senior director for dining services, Zia Ahmed, to work with dining services to approve the program, Ingalls said. USG is hoping to be able to implement the program by Winter Quarter 2012. Details about how exactly the system will work are not available yet.

Ingalls said he worked with his dad in the past at a food bank in their hometown, which had some influence on his idea to donate extra swipes.

“I feel there’s a possibility for quite a bit of money to be raised by students,” Ingalls said. “A lot of kids don’t want to donate to charities where they don’t have the money, but this is something where you’ve already paid the money and so you’re kind of just redirecting it. But in the same way, students are helping people, which I think is a great thing anytime you can have that happen.”

Araina Johnson, a fourth-year in biology and anthropology, said she doesn’t have a meal plan anymore but would consider getting a commuter plan if the plan goes into effect.

“I had a really big meal plan, especially for me,” Johnson said. “If I would’ve got the same thing, I would’ve had a ton at the end and I would have loved to have been able to donate those.”

Johnson said the project seemed like a positive one.

Laura Grudzinski, a first-year in middle childhood education, said she has a meal plan and would be happy to use her excess swipes for this.

“I’m probably going to have extra (swipes), so they might as well be put to use,” Grudzinski said.

Johnson said that while she lives off-campus, she might get a meal plan now, knowing that the extra swipes will go to those who might need it.

“Either way I’d be paying for food and whatever I don’t use would be given to charity,” Johnson said.

Grudzinski said a lot of students will be using leftover swipes at campus convenience stores to buy things they don’t need. She said that by donating them, the swipes can be used for a good cause.

Eric Weber, a first-year in microbiology, said he doesn’t expect to have extra swipes but would like to have the opportunity to donate them if he did.

The committee is also looking to implement other green projects such as using paper from printing labs, which have only been printed on one side and making them into notepads using the blank side, Homan said.

The committee is also hoping to plan a sustainability conference with other student organizations to work together to find a collective direction for green projects.

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