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Canned goods and cookies: How students spend their extra food points

Some Duke students find two things to be in excess at the end of a semester—finals and food points.

Because remaining food points roll over from Fall to Spring semester, some students with extra food points at the end of Fall semester either downsize meal plans or keep the excess and take a few extra trips to The Commons, Nasher Museum of Art or the Washington Duke Inn later. But for others with a massive surplus, they think hard about how to put their food points to a better use. 

During Spring finals week two years ago, senior Rebecca Hall found she had more than 1,000 food points left. Frustrated that they would all expire in a week, she posted her location in the Brodhead Center in several GroupMe chats, telling other students to pay for their meals with her extra points. But after buying food for numerous students she barely knew, she still had about 800 points. 

Hall and her friends then planned to use these points to buy canned food and put them into the non-perishable donation box outside the lobby shop. But after sweeping multiple vendors on campus, she still had more than 400 food points that she didn't know how to deal with. 

The donation box is only set up outside the Lobby Shop in Spring semesters, but there are other options for donating food on campus. 

For example, the a capella group Something Borrowed Something Blue hosted a canned and non-perishable food drive at their Christmas concert on the last day of classes. Though all their concerts are free, they asked attendees to donate a few canned goods, which students could buy with food points. The collected canned goods went to a local food pantry. 

Other students with extra food points have chosen to help their struggling friends. Resident assistants have a meal plan smaller than those offered to students who live on West Campus and who are required to stay on campus until the end of finals. Therefore, senior Alli Fisher decided to leave her student ID with an RA friend to help pay for their meals during the last days of the semester. 

Some students are creative with their food points. Junior Laura Marty used some of her extra points this semester to buy some baking supplies at the Lobby Shop and make chocolate chip cookies and brownies topped with peppermint bark. 

Marty packaged and handed her home-made snacks to some housekeeping staff in residential halls and dining staff at the Brodhead Center. 

"I’ve also just been handing them to people who look like they need a little Christmas spirit,” Marty said.

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