Students left with dining surplus
Published: Thursday, May 10, 2012
Updated: Thursday, May 10, 2012 21:05
At the end of every semester, Campus Express receives a lot of students willing to spend up to 250 dining dollars at once, said its manager Pamela Neverett.
“It’s (store revenue) significantly more at the end of the semester,” she said.
Neverett said many students spend their dining dollars on soda and drinks. Though beverage cases are not visible to students, they can request to purchase the cases.
Neverett said it is unfortunate that many students wait until the very end to spend their dining dollars, but a lot of students have purchased food to donate to the food drives.
Marlie Jeanlus has been tabling in front of Campus Express chanting: “Don’t waste your dining dollars! Donate non-perishable foods!” As a part of the Newman Association, Jeanlus was collecting food to donate to the Interfaith Food Shelf. She said the club started tabling only this week.
“We started (tabling in front of Campus Express) because members of the Newman Association have too many dining dollars left,” she said.
She said there was such an overflow of boxes last week that two people had to take them to the car. Though Jeanlus is unsure whether it was because students have a surplus of dining dollars or have just enough, she said she hopes it keeps up.
“It’s for a good cause and something we can do,” she said.
Maria Dominguez was one of those students to donate. She dropped two boxes of cereal and a bunch of cans into the donation box.
“They’re looking for non-perishable food, and I have the money, so it’s a good cause,” she said. “And also, a lot of Ben & Jerry’s.”
With her 50/50 combo dining plan, Dominguez has 350 dining dollars left. She started with 1,100, but with eight meal swipes a week, she said she used her dining dollars sparingly.
“I tried to make the most of my meal swipes,” Dominguez said. “I limited my dining dollars I was spending.”
She said most of her dining dollars go toward the Campus Express and the Sundowner. However, even with her surplus of dining dollars, Dominguez said she is not eating more. Most of her purchases go toward food she is taking home, Newman Association donations and helping her friends who have finished their dining dollars.
“I have some friends with 3 dining dollars left,” Dominguez said.
PSUC student Anika Ahmed also said she has been using her dining dollars on friends. Just the other night, she said she fed four friends.
“My friends who don’t have dining dollars, I’m feeding them, too,” Ahmed said.
With 437 dining dollars left, she said she is eating a lot now. Ahmed said she would eat once or twice a day throughout the semester because she did not have a lot of time. She spends her dining dollars in the dining halls or on snacks in Campus Express, but she spends most of it on meals.
PSUC student Shannon Kant is another who saved too much in the beginning of the semester. Though she has only 266 dining dollars, she said she still does not know how to spend it all. Like Dominguez and Ahmed, Kant said she has been spending her dining dollars on her friends and on junk food and drinks at the Campus Express. She also plans to take food home.
Wayne Duprey, the executive director of the College Auxiliary Services, said that even though spending sprees are a common occurrence for the end of the spring semester, most students do well budgeting their meal plans.
He said that out of the total amount of student debit for the 2010-11 academic year, $3.28 million, only $51,000 remained unused at the end of the last spring semester. That amounts to a 1.6 percent return rate, lower than the industry norm that Duprey pegged at more than 3 percent.
Duprey said students are currently on pace to spend even more of the $3.8 million they purchased in meal plans this academic year. As of Wednesday, $212,000 in meal plan debit had yet to be spent. He said students with a large balance of debit, dining dollars or otherwise, should use it sooner rather than later because supplies at the Campus Express are not unlimited.
Opinions editor Ian Tully contributed to this story.