The new year marked the beginning of a new student support program at the University of Tennessee. Dubbed the Big Orange Meal Share program, students can now donate their unused guest meals or contribute funds to benefit students in need.
In an official release from the university, the program is designed to provide some respite for students juggling the demands of college life and who may come up a bit short when it comes time for a meal. Similar initiatives are popping up at universities across the country and range from meal share programs like that at Tennessee, to campus-run food pantries.
The Big Orange Meal Share is a partnership between Tennessee’s Office of the Dean of Students, Student Government Association, Office of Family Engagement and Volunteer Dining. 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 university community are also able to make contributions.
A donation of $7.87 will provide breakfast for one student in need, while $9.18 and $11.03 will provide lunch and dinner, respectively, at the university’s all-you-can-eat campus dining facility. Donations will go to a central fund from which student meals will be paid for. 100% of the donations will go directly to funding student meals.
Students in need of meal assistance can apply for the Big Orange Meal Share program through the Office of the Dean of Students website. Meal share applicants must be a currently enrolled student at The University of Tennessee, and must be in good standing with the University, that is, not carrying any disciplinary sanctions. Once an application is received, the office will work with each student independently to determine their needs.