Bytes – The Meal Plan Sharing App

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Nearly one in three college students report experiencing food instability, often due to the high costs of college tuition, and academic- and living expenses. Simultaneously, over 20% of students lose some of the money they invest in mandated meal plans each semester. Bytes helps to solve this problem by enabling the transfer of excess meal plan credits from those who have them to those who need them.

What is it?

Bytes aims to reduce food insecurity and waste among college students by enabling the peer-to-peer transfer of excess meal plan credits. It provides a platform to directly redistribute soon-to-expire meal credits to students who need them most.

How does it work?

The scope of Bytes focuses specifically on enabling the redistribution of campus dining and meal plan credits from students with excesses to those experiencing food insecurity. It targets transactions among peers within a university ecosystem and does not facilitate transfers of outside funds or credits.

The app allows students with eligible dining accounts to make listings of soon-to-expire or unused credits in specific amounts for claim and transfer via the platform. While integrated messaging capabilities provide communication about listings, the app’s purpose is to facilitate efficient transfers rather than social networking. The current focus remains firmly on enabling students to help fill the gap in meeting basic food needs.

Bytes offers a variety of impactful benefits addressing the challenges of both food insecurity and wasted credits among college students. Students unable to consistently access nutritious meals due to financial constraints can directly receive dining funds from peers.

This prevents struggles with hunger and nutritional deficits that can greatly hinder academic performance and well-being. Students with mandated meal plans can also avoid the loss of hard-earned money by easily donating any credits they cannot fully use.

Bytes advances sustainability initiatives by reducing wasted resources on campus. Additionally, the peer-to-peer nature of Bytes fosters stronger connectivity and care across campus communities as students directly assist and support fellows in need. Both recipients and donors gain value from participation. Beyond the student population, universities can build goodwill and demonstrate social responsibility by facilitating apps that enable resource equity across the students they serve. 


User Account Management

  • Students can create a user account by providing their names, university email addresses, and meal plan details
  • The system sends a verification email to the student’s university email to validate their identity
  • Students can edit their account details like passwords and meal plans

Donor Profile Creation 

  • Donors can create a profile indicating how many meal credits they wish to donate and preferences for who can claim their credits

Recipient Profile Creation

  • Recipients create a profile outlining their financial needs and dietary constraints
  • Recipients can browse donors

Meal Credit Transfer

  • Donors allocate a specific number of meal credits to donate to a recipient of their choice
  • Recipients are notified and must accept the transfer within 48 hours
  • Upon acceptance, credits are deducted from the donor’s meal plan and added to the recipient’s 

Transaction History

  • All students can view their transaction history, including meal credits received, donated, claimed, and expired

Built with

Bytes is crafted using modern technologies such as Ruby on Rails, providing a robust and scalable foundation for the app’s development. Hosted on Heroku, the platform ensures seamless deployment and management, allowing for smooth user experiences and efficient updates.

Try it Out

Coming soon!