One Swipe Gives back to Georgetown
5th annual One Swipe program donates 486 meals to local kids
Dateline: February 23, 2015
This Valentines Day, Southwestern University collaborated with Sodexo for the fifth year in a row to help those in need in Georgetown. “One Swipe” is an annual event where students, faculty, staff and members of the community come together at Southwestern in order to cope with social responsibility by giving back to the Georgetown community.
Don Gregory, Southwestern’s head men’s soccer coach, and his Paideia group, “Coping with Social Responsibility,” launched One Swipe in 2010. That year, he worked with Alejandra Barnes, Brianna Garcia, Ellen Hoyer, Evan Schmidt, Kayla Bogs (who attended this year’s event), Rachael Nowlain and Tony Pollreisz to start making a difference. Since then, the event has become somewhat of a tradition at SU with more and more people actively participating each year.
One Swipe is simple. Every time a Pirate Card is swiped at the Commons on Valentine’s Day (this year on Monday, Feb. 16), students, faculty, staff and members of the community have the choice of donating their swipe to feed the less fortunate. Participants have the option of swiping again to pay for their own meal or going elsewhere for lunch. Then, Southwestern students partner with Sodexo (the University’s food service provider) to deliver the food locally to The Caring Place, Meals on Wheels, and local area high schools.
Gregory explains, “We decided to have One Swipe take place on Valentine’s Day every year so that people remember to give love to the unloved. We want people to remember to help the invisible kids in our community who don’t have a stable home to go to and who are hungry. By extending a helping hand, even if they don’t see them, (our community) knows their swipe is making a difference.”
One day, Gregory hopes to get community sponsors involved in One Swipe in order to expand the event and ultimately feed more kids. In 2010, One Swipe was able to feed 348 kids and every year that number has increased. This year the total number of swipes, including Sodexo’s contribution, was a whopping 486.
“It’s rewarding to hear how excited people are about One Swipe every year. My Paideia group and I could not be more pleased that something that started as an idea now has traction and is truly making a change,” says Gregory.
While One Swipe was going on during the lunch hour, other organizations were set up in the Bishops Lounge to help raise awareness for social responsibility in our community. One was The Locker, a service learning project in which Southwestern students are “kids helping kids” by tutoring and mentoring “at risk” local kids and by collecting donations of toiletries, new clothing, and other necessities. A yellow vintage Southwestern locker was unveiled as the new receptacle for collecting those donations, which will then be distributed to Georgetown, Eastview and Jarrell High Schools. The locker is currently in the A. Frank Smith, Jr. Library Center but will move around campus every week or so.
Key2Free is another organization that comes to campus every Valentine’s Day. They are dedicated to helping victims of human trafficking.
All three programs—One Swipe, The Locker and Key2Free—share the idea of social responsibility in order to inspire Southwestern students to become involved.
By Daniella A. Barrera