When junior Anagha Uppal met with Melissa Shivers, associate vice chancellor of student life and dean of students, to discuss the issue of UT students in need of meal assistance, an idea was born—the Big Orange Meal Share.
The program, which launched this month, allows students to donate their unused guest meals and allows others to contribute funds to benefit students in need.
“Students have a lot of priorities including class and extracurricular activities. Unfortunately, some students aren’t just worried about their grades, they also have to worry about where they will get their next meal,” said Shivers. “This program is one big way that we can help address that problem.”
Uppal, who is studying computational social science in the College Scholars Program and is a member of the university’s chapter of the Food Recovery Network, brought the idea to Shivers after learning about similar programs at other universities.
“Many students on this campus have fought hard for the right to go to college and work for a better future, overcoming a large number of difficulties in the process, and just need some assistance,” said Uppal.
Students can donate any or all of the five free guest meals they receive with their meal plan each semester.
Faculty, staff, alumni, and members of the community are also able to make contributions. A donation of $7.87 will provide a breakfast for a student in need while $9.18 and $11.03 will provide a lunch and dinner, respectively, at the all-you-can-eat campus dining facility, Presidential Court Café.
Students who are in need of meal assistance can apply through the Office of the Dean of Students website. Once an application is received, the office will work with the student to determine their needs.
The Big Orange Meal Share is a partnership between the Office of the Dean of Students, Student Government Association, Office of Family Engagement, and Volunteer Dining.