The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Program to help keep students' plates full

 

September 16, 2018



College students often end up with a lot on their plates.

Many are living away from home for the first time and adjusting to life in a small space with a perfect (or maybe not so perfect) stranger, while juggling academic challenges, car payments, work and study demands.

Unfortunately, food is sometimes the one thing missing on that proverbial plate.

I’m delighted that Eastern New Mexico University has unveiled a new program this fall to address that problem.

The Greyhound Meal Exchange was born out of a collaboration between Eastern’s Student Affairs Office, the ENMU Foundation, and Sodexo (the company that provides on-campus dining).

Jeff Long, vice president for Student Affairs, said the Greyhound Meal Exchange was designed to “offer short-term help while we find long-term solutions.”

A number of faculty and staff members have provided in-office pantries and collected funds for starving students over the years, but Long hopes that having a system to provide students with “a robust meal in the dining hall” will be a more sustainable answer.

Gayle Singleterry and Hannah Spearman are with ENMU’s Sodexo; Singleterry is the general manager, and Spearman is the unit marketing coordinator. Together with Long, they have been helping spread the word about the Exchange since classes began in August.

Spearman said faculty and staff are key to identifying students who need a helping hand, and getting them to the Student Affairs Office.

“It’s important they come in here,” she said. “The university has so many resources. This is like a crisis intervention.”

Long will work with those students on a case by case basis.

Discretion is priority, he stressed. “We are very conscious of not embarrassing them.”

Students who need help with meals will receive the same kind of tickets used by many groups on campus, Singleterry said. Larger numbers of meals can be added to an electronic card.

Each ticket or swipe earns the holder admission to the dining hall.

“Once they’re in the door, they can stay as long as they want and eat as much as they want,” Spearman said.

The Exchange is funded at $8 per meal through donations handled by the ENMU Foundation. A number of ENMU groups have already had fundraising challenges to kick off the program. Current students can also donate “swipes” of their own meal plans to fellow students.

If you have a hankering to help out a hungry Hound, you are invited to join in the effort.

Donations may be made to the ENMU Foundation, ENMU Station 8, Portales, NM 88130, or online at: enmu.edu/greyhoundmeals

Betty Williamson has a soft spot for college students, especially hungry ones. Reach her at: [email protected]

 

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