August 18, 2019 | 83° F

RUSA votes on this semester's charity eligible to receive meal swipe donations

Photo by Brittany Gibson |

Amy Nicole (left) and Alla Khalil (right), members of the Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund, showcased their 12-minute presentation followed by a question and answer session. Other finalists included Delta Upsilon and the United Nations International Children’s Educational Fund. 

Yesterday’s Rutgers University Student Assembly (RUSA) meeting selected what student organization will run Meal Swipe for Charity this semester. The winner — The Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF). 

PCRF, Delta Upsilon and the United Nations International Children's Educational Fund (UNICEF) were the three remaining finalists. Each group showcased a 12-minute presentation, followed by a Q&A session, a brief moderated debate and an unmoderated caucus.

Thirty-one attendants voted for PCRF, followed by 10 for Delta Upsilon and 8 for UNICEF. 

Meal Swipe for Charity offers students an opportunity to donate a guest swipe to benefit a charitable organization. Any registered student organization is eligible to apply and organizations must donate to a legitimate, charitable organization.

Prior to that, the meeting kicked off with an approval of the agenda and last week meeting. 

The first speaker was Marques Jules, the coordinator of the Senior Class Gift Campaign. As the leader of the initiative, Jules pilots a year-long effort to encourage seniors to give back to the University as they bid farewell to their alma mater. 

“I hope that this is the beginning of something new and something that will become a tradition here at Rutgers University,” the School of Arts and Sciences senior said.

In previous years, student donations combined to endow the University with one class gift. Past senior gifts have included the clock above the doors of Barnes and Noble and benches around campus.

He said he hopes this year’s class takes a different approach. Class of 2018 seniors can donate as individuals to any organization on campus of their choice — enabling them to support a specific area within Rutgers that they personally care about. 

By donating to the campaign, seniors can leave their legacy at the University in the form of a gift that future generations will enjoy, he said. 

Students can donate on the campaign’s website, Jules said. As of right now, there have been 266 donors that give gifted a total of $7,242. That is 16 percent of its goal to collect from 1,600 donors, according to the website. 

He addressed that some students question why they should donate as students, let alone as alumni.

“Rutgers has its struggles, but what school doesn’t,” Jules said. “You know, what school doesn’t have its fair share of troubles. But, regardless of that there’s a reason why you all are here tonight, and the main goal of why you guys meet here is for the enhancement of the student experience.”

He said that donating to an area that one is passionate about can later impact students in that same major, department or other program.

The Rutgers Cancer Institute of NJ research fund currently has the most donors, followed by the Douglass Residential College, which is celebrating its 100th year anniversary this year, he said. 

Jules said that, as a senior, his personal contribution is a monthly gift to the Rutgers Future Scholars, a program that provides the opportunity of free college education to academically promising, first generation seventh grade "at risk” students from low-income areas. 

Next, the three finalists to run Meal Swipe for Charity gave their presentations.

Amy Passaro, co-president of PCRF — the winning organization — said the group is dedicated to getting children medical care in the Middle East, regardless of their race or religion. 

“Because the refugee crisis is at the forefront of the international agenda right now, we feel like this cause is really worth your consideration,” the School of Graduate Studies student said.

Passaro said PCRF has a goal of raising $15,000 dollars. The proceeds will be sent to its national chapter which will then be distributed to places like the first cancer center in Gaza.   

PCRF also holds a 100-percent score for accountability and transparency, according to Charity Navigator. Passaro said this is a monumental achievement, because approximately 100 charitable organizations in the country have achieved a perfect score. 

Their organization has an upcoming meeting with Rutgers Dining Services, which will be raising money for their cause this semester.

After the vote came a presentation on Open Public Record Acts (OPRA), led by RUSA Internal Affairs Committee Chairman Viktor Krapivin, a School of Arts and Sciences senior. He explained how the act can inform students conducting research or looking for more information on a topic or issue. 

The presentation explained that things like University financial statements, contracts with third-party vendors and salary information are all pieces of information that can be released if requested. 

After reports from officers, advisors, external representatives and the public, the meeting adjourned. 

In his officer reports, University Affairs Committee Chairman Daniel Chulak gave updates on his meeting with Rutgers Department of Transportation (RUDOTS). The School of Environmental and Biological Sciences senior said the department attended the meeting with Rutgers Students With Children, and discussed some of the issues their organization faces. He also said the bike share program will be implemented next year as RUDOTS looks into the future.

Ryan Stiesi

Erica D'Costa

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