Dining rolls out program to allow students to donate a side year-round

VSG and Dining partner to expand donations beyond disaster relief to Middle Tennessee food bank


Vanderbilt’s student center. (Hustler Multimedia)

Rachel Friedman, Editor in Chief

Campus Dining announced that students will be able to donate a side at checkout from certain dining locations year-round.

As of Sept. 3, students can donate a side from a meal swipe at Rand, Commons, Kissam, The Pub and Local Java at any point throughout the academic year. Money donated will go to Second Harvest Food Bank, and each side collects enough money for the food bank to feed four people.

The program will not be available at all dining locations. EBI will not be included because it utilizes an all-you-care-to-eat structure, rather than the standard swipe of an entree with a set number of sides. 

Students can also not donate sides at munchie marts. Munchie marts aren’t included because donating a side makes it difficult for students to get a full meal out of their swipe, Executive Director of Campus Dining David ter Kuile said in an email to The Hustler.

The program began at the end of last year, spurred by a resolution passed by the VSG Senate, VSG president Frances Burton said. The donate-a-side option was not active at the beginning of the year because Campus Dining was developing marketing materials to promote the program, Campus Dining Marketing Manager Jessica Williams said.

Previously, students would be given the option to donate sides only during specific periods in the school year to fundraise for certain projects, typically relating to natural disaster relief. Now, the donate-a-side program will run all year, and while donations will usually go to Second Harvest Food Bank, they may be diverted to specific causes at the direction of VSG, Williams said.

The program is significant in that it provides an easy and tangible way for students to affect the local community in a tangible way, Burton said. 

“I think this is a very direct way that students can easily make an impact in the local Nashville community because all its takes is donating one side,” Burton said.