At the end of each spring semester, many Auburn students pack up their belongings following a grueling semester and week of finals and prepare to head home declaring themselves a broke college student.
However, one thing a number of students fail to realize before heading for the hills is that they are not necessarily broke because their TigerCard still holds money on it, or at least it did.
Each year, TigerCard money rolls over from the fall semester into the spring semester. However, that is not the case for returning to school after the summer. Instead, those unspent dollars from the spring are given back to the University and Tiger Dining for bettering the dining experience for the coming semester.
However, for the first time in the school’s history, not one but two organizations approached Glenn Loughridge, director of campus dining, in hopes of making charitable donations with the leftover TigerCard funds.
According to Loughridge, approximately 10 percent of TigerCard money is not spent each year, meaning nearly $1 million is returned back to the University and Tiger Dining.
Richard McBride, senior in supply chain management, first had the idea of turning the leftover money into an event where students could turn that money into cash and spend it at that event, which would then be given to a charity.
However, McBride found that went against the University’s policy and decided to look for alternate ways.
Sign up for our newsletter
Get The Plainsman straight to your inbox.
While McBride’s hopes of turning the TigerCard money into cash for charity fell flat, he partnered with the Committee of 19 and the Auburn Food Bank to devise a plan in which students can purchase food from the on-campus stores with their TigerCard money and put it in a donation box at one of the many locations, including all C-stores, fraternity houses and sorority halls.
“All the TigerCard money we have is required by the University to go toward food, and the University is required to encourage all students to buy food for themselves,” McBride said. “But then we found we could encourage people to donate as much as we wanted so that was the best plan of action for us to make a difference in our community and to put that unused money to good use.”
While Loughridge is busy running the day-to-day dining operations at the University, which feeds thousands of people every day, he said he certainly doesn’t mind taking time out of his day to help students find a way to feed those who are less fortunate in the Auburn community.
For him, seeing students go beyond the call of just succeeding in academics but also wanting to serve a community they’re only going to live in for four to five years is a rewarding part of the job, but one that is not included in his job description .
“It’s funny because this is the first time I’ve been approached about it, but this year two different organizations took it upon themselves to do something about it,” Loughridge said. “It’s really cool to see students care so much about their community and those around them but it is my job to encourage them to spend their Tigercard money on themselves."
With a poverty rate of 31.3 percent, Auburn is one of the most impoverished cities in Alabama according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
For McBride, that number should be the reason not a single student leaves a single dollar on their dining card when the end of the semester comes.
“This is probably the easiest way to donate money, donate anything towards a better cause, especially one that could help our community so much,” McBride said. “Does someone want to leave Auburn with $100 that could be countless meals for children, families, people that don’t have means enough to even have two meals daily? I certainly wouldn’t.”
While McBride is excited to help begin this process for Auburn, he is not sure what to expect in its first year but hopes to rival the Beat Bama Food Drive, which brings in mass amounts of donated food to the Auburn community each year.
Since this is the first year, McBride said, it is tough to set a goal.
However, he aims for a goal somewhat similar to the Beat Bama Food Drive, which received around 3 million pounds of food last year.
Do you like this story? The Plainsman doesn't accept money from tuition or student fees, and we don't charge a subscription fee. But you can donate to support The Plainsman.Support The Plainsman