Student Government Association and SFA Dining partnered to create “Try Me” cards, a program for students without a meal plan get a chance to have a free meal.
After filling out the contact information on the back of a card, students can visit either the East College or Baker Pattillo Student Center cafeterias and use the card to receive a free meal. Dining services will gather the cards, contact those students and collect data to find out why the students do not have a meal plan to try and get them one.
SGA President Christopher Moore, senior sports business major from Carrollton, reached out to Director of Auxiliary Services Carrie Charley after getting the idea while helping out with the food pantry during the snowstorm earlier in the year.
“I pitched this idea… and I was like ‘Hey, we want you to know [that] in an effort to fight food insecurity, we want to have some meal vouchers for students,’” Moore said. “Especially during finals whenever people are worrying more about tests and maybe disregard their eating habits, mental health or well-being… She immediately was like ‘Oh we love this idea, let’s move forward with this.’”
After getting in touch with Marketing Manager for Aramark Tiffany Gonzalez, the idea became a reality, and they were able to give out cards at events like Trader Jacks.
“I think they have been really successful so far,” Moore said. “Especially during such trying times, I think it’s important that we do everything that we can to make our students’ lives better. And if that’s a free meal at our dining hall or the East College cafeteria, then that’s what we’re going to do.”
Charley said the main reason each group participated in the creation and distribution of the cards was because they’re for the students, and the groups wanted to let them know they are not left behind when it comes to meals.
“I manage our dining contract, and it’s my job to make sure [Dining Services] are fulfilling their obligation to provide the best dining experience for our students,” Charley said.
She said that after Moore reached out to her, he shared a plan for students that could work in the upcoming weeks leading to finals and the end of the semester. They were able to come up with the idea of an “open house” at the dining halls to provide opportunities for the commuter students to experience what having a meal plan will entail for them.
“It is a free meal experience, but we would love to reach out to students to learn about their experience as well as make sure they know about voluntary meal plans options for next year,” Charley said.
Along with helping students feel welcomed when it comes to their meals, Gonzalez also said dining services have been using the Food Committee for feedback from students to bring new items to the dining halls along with more pop-up special events.
“We are hoping students take advantage of the offer and visit the dining halls,” Gonzalez said. “With this opportunity, every student will get a chance to do so.”
Moore said he hopes this is something that will continue after this semester.
“We just wanted to have that for our students and show that we care for them and if there's anything that they ever need to always reach out to us for that, especially fighting food insecurity and mental health,” Moore said.