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Swiping out hunger is BW senior's goal

Photo of Erin NeffWe like to think that a college is a place of equal opportunity, but BW neuroscience and psychology senior Erin Neff '21 is helping the campus understand that some students need assistance meeting basic needs.

A Wisconsin HOPE Lab 2018 study of 43,000 college students at 66 schools in the U.S. found 36% of students are not getting enough food to eat.

At BW, a 2017 applied sociological research project revealed 28% of students were at risk, and 55% of students have experienced some form of food insecurity.

Committed to holistic support

Swipe Out Hunger BW logoNeff is part of a movement called Swipe Out Hunger, a national nonprofit committed to ending college student food insecurity. After advocating to bring the program to BW, the Brain Center for Community Engagement and Dining Services are rolling out the Swipe Out Hunger program at BW this fall.

Dining Services is allowing students to donate their guest swipes to the program this year. Students in need of a meal can complete a request form and meet with BW's Americorps representative in the Brain Center to discuss what additional resources may be available to support them during their time at BW to ensure their success as a student.

Bringing the campus together is one of Neff's goals with this program. She believes that the donor will receive a sense of empowerment supporting another student, and the receiver knows that the community supports them.

Developing leadership skills for life

Neff believes this is one of the most rewarding programs that she has participated in at BW. She said, "I learned how to take an interest, ask the questions my mind was eager to understand and find out how I can use that knowledge to help others."

Through advocating for this program, Neff says she has engaged in investigating, collaborating, advocating for change and staying the course in seeking institutional reform. She believes that these skills will help her as she moves on from BW and takes her persistence and dedication to pediatric neurology.

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