ASUCD Pay It Forward campaign to provide Aggies in need with free pizza

ASHLEY LUGO / AGGIE
ASHLEY LUGO / AGGIE

Program to offer students the opportunity to pay for another student’s slice of pizza at the CoHo

Beginning on Friday, May 20, ASUCD’s Pay It Forward campaign will give Aggies the chance to pay for another student’s slice of pizza at Ciao in the ASUCD Coffee House (CoHo).

Started by second-year environmental policy analysis and planning major and ASUCD Senator Noor Adilla Jamaludin, Pay It Forward unites the forces of the CoHo and ASUCD’s The Pantry in providing a hot meal for hungry students in need.

Jamaludin was inspired to create the program after an experience with a friend who decided to skip a meal to avoid having to pay for his lunch.

“With the rising cost of living, I can see how difficult it must be for some students to pay for food on a daily basis,” Jamaludin said. “It adds up. According to the [University of California], one out of every four students is food insecure, so they will either skip meals to save money for later or they skip meals because the food is too expensive. I think this is a great way for students to start the conversation […] So now when the cashier asks you if you’d like to buy another slice of pizza, you start to wonder ‘who is this slice going to?’ and ‘maybe there are a lot of students facing this challenge on a daily basis.’”

Cashiers from Ciao will ask students if they want to purchase another slice of pizza for a student after they buy their own slice. At the end of every week the CoHo will collect the Pay It Forward receipts and give them to The Pantry to act as vouchers for students who want to get a free slice of pizza.

Located in Lower Freeborn, The Pantry offers non-perishable foods to hungry students. With the Pay It Forward program, Aggies can request pizza at The Pantry, where they are given the receipt vouchers to use at Ciao.

“We provide non-perishable food at The Pantry, such as canned foods, but it’s nothing that Aggies can really make for themselves in the moment,” said fourth-year managerial economics major and director of external affairs at The Pantry Shannen Nguyen. “Now with the pizza voucher, they can go and get a hot meal right away instead of having to go back home and make themselves something to eat.”

Lauren Woods, the front of house manager at the CoHo, praised the campaign for creating a sense of philanthropy at UC Davis.

“The program is creating more opportunities and more outreach to people who might not have the resources to eat a meal every day or three times a day,” Woods said. “It’s also creating awareness for people to realize how prevalent this problem is on campus.”

Jamaludin’s goal is to expand the program to healthier food items in the CoHo, including foods from Swirlz, in hopes that less students will skip meals.

“I want people to ask themselves why we have a program like this,” Jamaludin said. “Once you ask yourself that, you’ll start to realize that we don’t live in this perfect bubble […] What I’m trying to do is provide other students with a platform to help those students in need.”

More information about the program can be found on the Pay It Forward Facebook page.

Written by: Emma Sadlowski – campus@theaggie.org