Some university officials were aware of the problem, El Mowafy and Bivings learned, which sometimes stemmed from some students using all their money for tuition and other school costs, and not having enough for housing or food. Maggie Olszewska, the director of student support at Mason, told Yanchulis that she had met with four or five students this semester who identified themselves as homeless.
The idea of redirecting unused meal money fell through when the system of meal cards was changed to a flat fee, not based on number of meals used. Instead, El Mowafy, head of GMU’s Oxfam American, and Bivings, head of Mason Meals, created the “Student Meal Assistance Fund” to raise money for students who don’t have enough to eat. Students in need will get vouchers from the Office of Student Support and Case Management. Sodexo even kicked in the first $1,000, and El Mowafy raised another $500.