SCJ raises over $5,000 to Balance Out Hunger in Pittsburgh


To most students, the end of the semester means studying, projects, losing sleep and stress. To the Society for Collegiate Journalists (SCJ), it meant giving back to the community. Since 2010 when member Ryan Shaffer began a project called Balancing Out Hunger, SCJ has found a project that effectively does just that. Many students have mass amounts of money left over on their freedom cards at the end of the semester and actually struggle on ways to spend it through bulk orders and buying meals for friends. With one swipe, they now can also directly give to the Greater Pittsburgh Area Food Bank and help put food on the table for families struggling to find enough to eat.

In years past the amount of money donated would peak around $800, and in the project’s first two years it raised a total of about $4800. This year, the donations in a single semester shattered that amount with $5,464.06. There was not only an increase in the amount of students that donated, but also the amount they gave. 71 students and faculty helped to reach that total, an average of $76.96 per person.

“It was truly amazing to see the RMU community come together to raise so much money for those in need.  It’s easy for kids to just blow their freedom card money on things that will benefit them since it’s a lot of money that they pay to have their meal plans,” said Brooke Smith, Secretary of SCJ.

A new factor in this year’s campaign was the Give to Get kick-off event that was held on Nov. 21 in the Nicholson Center Food Court. For the Communication Seminar class senior students were put into groups and required to host an event that would give back to the community or good cause. Andrea Zanaglio, Kylie Mckain, Lindsay Waugh, Christina Culyba, and Brooke Smith were the team that organized this event that drew so much attention to the project. There was live music courtesy of Vince Russo, refreshments, raffles for those donating $10 or more, and speakers such as Provost of Robert Morris University, David Jamison and Community Food Connections Coordinator of the Greater Pittsburgh Area Food Bank, Phillip Stubbs. That night alone $1,145.70 was raised from generous student and faculty donations.

This will allow for hundreds of meals to be given to families in the Pittsburgh area, and around the holidays the need for food on the table could not be greater. Though SCJ worked with Dining Services to create this opportunity, it was really the students who gave who made the difference.

“This year’s campaign blew our socks off! We were hoping to raise around $2,000, but we never expected to raise almost triple that. I think it speaks to the caliber of people that we have on this campus and the character of everyone who donated. We couldn’t be happier,” said SCJ President John Klocko.

For more information on Balancing Out Hunger visit