Points for a Purpose finds slight donation increase following new app, more donation locations last fall


Sophie Mann/Daily Senior Staffer

NU students can donate their unused meal plan points to Points for a Purpose at Northwestern Dining retail locations. The student organization works with NU Dining to use the points and money students donate to purchase food for local organizations such as Campus Kitchens.

Kelli Nguyen, Reporter

With the 2,000-point cap for Points for a Purpose not budging, the donation program found an extra $92 in out-of-pocket donations and non-perishable food contributions last quarter.

The fundraiser, which runs for two weeks, allows the student body to donate up to 2,000 unused meal points at the end of every quarter. During Fall Quarter, the program reached its threshold in 11 days.

But despite this $2,000 Wildcat Point donation cap, starting last spring, students could continue to contribute by purchasing non-perishable food items and placing them in collection boxes.

These locations were increased from just the Norris University Center C-Store and Lisa’s Cafe to include all C-Stores that sell non-perishable foods last fall. In addition, Points for a Purpose partnered with uBack, an app where users can donate money to charities of their choice on their mobile devices, allowing the donation program to collect out-of-pocket donations from students.

“You donate by just tapping a button, so it makes donation easy,” said Matt Faden, co-chair of Points for a Purpose.

The Communication sophomore said last quarter’s drive went exceptionally well. He said the fall drive is typically inhibited by the fact that first-year students do not know about the fundraiser.

“In the Fall Quarter, it’s always toughest to run the drive,” Faden said. “But our marketing team did an exceptional job in getting out to the freshmen about the drive.”

Of the $2,092 collected in Point for a Purpose’s fall drive, roughly half will go to the budget for NU Campus Kitchens. Points for a Purpose is currently making decisions on the allocation of the remaining points, Weinberg senior Dean Meisel said.

“It’s kind of like ‘keep it on hand until something pops up,’” said Meisel, who is the co-founder and advisor for Points for a Purpose.

For the fall 2015 drive, Points for a Purpose also teamed up with Dance Marathon to host a local, campus-wide Giving Tuesday event to celebrate the national day encouraging people in the U.S. to donate to charity. On NU’s Giving Tuesday, which was held one week after the official day, Faden said 50 percent of donated points went to Blessings in a Backpack, DM’s 2016 beneficiary.

Rachel Tilghman, Northwestern Dining’s spokesperson, said people are not always aware that food insecurity exists on college campuses, so the program is a great way for students to give back and gain awareness.

“People think that if you can afford to go to college, you can afford to eat, and that’s not necessarily the case for everybody,” Tilghman said.

For the upcoming drive, Points for a Purpose hopes to work with the administration to find more options for students to donate.

“(Northwestern’s) administration has been really helpful,” Faden said. “We are grateful to have them on our side in this past quarter and in the future.”

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