Bulletin News

Partnership to reduce student food insecurity


The SUNY Cortland community will soon be able to help fight food insecurity on campus with a swipe of a card or the click of a button. It’s all part of an upcoming initiative created by campus food pantry SUNY Cortland Cupboard and Cortland Auxiliary Services along with national program Swipe Out Hunger. 

An organization that partners with more than 450 colleges and universities nationwide to end student hunger, Swipe Out Hunger has helped supply more than 4.8 million meals to students in need. Its resources will strengthen the university’s ongoing efforts to supply food to all students who need it. 

Students, faculty, staff and other member of the Cortland community can support the program by: 

  •  Donating a guest meal with an on-campus meal plan. 
  • Making a direct monetary donation, either in-person through the Cortland Auxiliary Services Office or online through the SUNY Cortland Campus Store. 

The anticipated start date for collecting donations is after the Thanksgiving holiday break, said Rebecca Sexton, marketing manager for Cortland Auxiliary Services. 

The partnership with Swipe Out Hunger will come at a critical time. According to the Center for Hunger-Free Communities, food insecurity has become worse across the country. Locally, more students used the Cortland Cupboard last year than any year since it opened in 2017. 

“The partnership with Cortland Auxiliary Services on Swipe Out Hunger would allow even more assistance to students to increase food access,” said Lauren Scagnelli ’12 M ’14, certified health education specialist, health educator and board member of SUNY Cortland Cupboard.  

“This would allow students to get hot meals and join their friends to dine. Swipe Out Hunger is especially useful for students who don’t have a lot of time to cook meals due to other obligations such as classes, work or other extracurricular activities.” 

Students with meal plans will be able to fill out donation forms at the cashier station of any dining facility on campus. Faculty, staff, students without meal pans and community members will be able to visit the Cortland Auxiliary Office in Neubig Hall or go to www.cortlandcampusstore.com and click the Swipe Out Hunger banner.  

The new program will be invaluable to students, Scagnelli said.  

Even if a student has a job, they cannot always afford groceries, she explained. Levels of food insecurity can also change over time depending on circumstances. The result is a critical campus health issue that too often stays hidden and unnoticed except to those suffering. 

Scagnelli said the Cortland Cupboard’s board of directors is excited to begin this partnership to help students with their basic needs and reach their full potential academically. 

SUNY Cortland President Erik J. Bitterbaum noted that The Cortland Cupboard has been invaluable to students in need of nonperishable food items and personal care products.  

“To be able to evolve to now offer the ability to get a hot meal is amazing,” Bitterbaum said. “With this new partnership with the Cortland Cupboard, SUNY Cortland Auxiliary Services, and Swipe out Hunger, we’re excited to see what potential this program has.” 

Those interested in receiving donated meal passes should fill out the meal request form at www2.cortland.edu/cupboard or email Cortland.cupboard@cortland.edu. Students do not need to have a SUNY Cortland meal plan to receive donated passes, and only SUNY Cortland Cupboard and Cortland Auxiliary Services will know their identity.