Update (12:30 p.m.): As of 12:16 p.m. Nov. 29, the Office of Annual Giving at Colorado State University raised over $120,264 for this year’s Giving Tuesday. Associate Director of Giving Tuesday Thea Rounsaville wrote in an email to the Collegian that Rams Against Hunger raised $73,290 to provide 10,470 meals for students facing food insecurity. Another $46,974 were raised to fund other causes at CSU.
Banking on people still having money after Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, the Office of Annual Giving at Colorado State University raised over $54,000 as of 5 p.m. on Tuesday for students facing food insecurity during this year’s Giving Tuesday.
The goal of Giving Tuesday this year was to raise $50,000 to support Rams Against Hunger, an organization that provides access to dining hall meals for students facing food insecurity. Money raised as part of Tuesday’s fundraiser will be given to Rams Against Hunger to purchase meals from Housing and Dining Services. There are currently over 200 students who are waitlisted for the program, according to Thea Rounsaville, the assistant director of Annual Giving at CSU.
If accepted into the program, students receive a meal plan of 75 meals for a semester that they can use at any of the on-campus dining halls. Rounsaville said Housing and Dining Services has been very supportive of Rams Against Hunger.
“They give us the absolute lowest cost meal that they can,” Rounsaville said. “They did a great program for students that lived in the residence halls where they were able donate two of their guest swipes on World Hunger Day.”
Donations amounting to $50,000 will allow Rams Against Hunger to purchase 7,142 meals, an amount that more than doubles last year’s goal of 3,000 meals, according to Rounsaville. It is unlikely, however, that this will be enough to cover every student looking to get into the program.
“I don’t think we’ll be able to support every single student that’s on the waitlist,” Rounsaville said. “We’re going to try to reduce that number the best that we can, but, unfortunately, I don’t think it’s enough to support every student that applies.”
Rams Against Hunger was created in response to a survey that showed 10 percent of the student body was suffering from food insecurity, according to Assistant Director for SLICE, Jen Johnson. Johnson said the program is conscious of affirming people’s dignity while helping with them fight food insecurity.
“When you’re swiping in, nobody knows how those swipes are paid for, whether it is a Rams Against Hunger swipe or any other kind of swipe,” Johnson said. “It’s really nice in that respect.”
Although CSU is taking part, Giving Tuesday – or, #GivingTuesday – is also recognized globally as a day to practice generosity. In 2015, 98 countries amounted donations totaling $177 million dollars, according to the website for Giving Tuesday. The organization’s website encourages helping out via time, donations, goods, or voice.
For Giving Tuesday at CSU, Rounsaville said the majority of donations come from alumni, followed by faculty and staff.
“It’s a lot of people that work here that are out-of-pocket trying to do what they can to feed the students that they personally interact with on a daily basis,” Rounsaville said.
While not there yet, Johnson said the University is getting closer to offering enough programs to support those who struggle to pay for food.
“Right now we have the meal swipe program, we have a mobile food pantry that comes once a month to campus, and the student government has little pocket pantries at various offices across campus,” Johnson said.
Johnson also mentioned work that Aggie Village does to offer fresh produce from local farmers, as well as a collaboration with Larimer County to offer on campus access to federal benefit programs like food stamps.
Rounsaville also said help is coming from fellow students.
“We actually have a lot of students that donate to Rams Against Hunger as well,” Rounsaville said. “It’s a great way for student to give back, even if it’s just $10, to help one of their fellow Rams in need.”
Those who are struggling with food insecurity can visit the website for Rams Against Hunger for more information and other ways to find assistance.
Collegian reporter Ty Betts can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @tybetts9.