Spelman and Morehouse have historically housed legendary advocates for change through their college matriculation and current students are upholding the tradition of speaking out. A group of about 25 students from both Atlanta HBCUs are on a hunger strike, with hopes of changing school policy.
“Can I get a swipe” a phrase echoed throughout the semester as students without meal plans try to make their way into the cafeteria.At many colleges and universties students who do not have meal plans or live off campus hang around university cafeterias, asking students with meal plans for swipes for entrance and food, in order to eat for the day.
The hunger strike began on November 2, aims to push the campus food vendor Aramark to establish procedures to allow students who purchase meal plans yet do not consume the meal to donate the unused meal swipes to hungry students unable to afford the pricey meal plans.
As with most undergraduate instititutions, students residing in campus dormitaries are required to purchase a university meal plan, whether they need it or not. Spelman College junior Lillian Thomas a vegan who does not eat most of what the campus chefs dish out participates in the hunger strike.
“Out of the 21 meals I get per week, I might use about 5, so it would be easy for me to donate my unused swipes to Spelman students who are actually in need of the food,” says Thomas, reported by Crossroads News.
Those on strike are hoping that their consumption of only water and vitamins will last about two weeks yet they are willing and prepared to go the long run and revive hunger strikes next semester if need be. The students participating in the strike will be monitored by doctors for the duration of the protest to not jeopardize physical health. Students unable to particpate by abstaining from eating will protest by not eating their campus provided meals.
Spelman and Morehouse are just two of thousands of college campuses with hungry students and not the only ones taking action. The Swipe Out Hunger program began at the University of California, Los Angeles back in 2009 and has spread to campuses across the country. The program partners with colleges and food providers to allow students to donate from their meal plans to students and people in need. Bringing the Swipe Out Hunger program to Spelman and Morehouse would allow many students who experience financial hardships a comfortable college experience.