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The Statesman

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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

Newsletter

    Understanding “Campus Cash”

    To the editor,

    For many semesters, if not years, students have been clamoring for the ability to use their meal plan points off campus. Last Spring, then Presidential candidate Romual Jean-Baptiste as well as the Reform party took it up as their battle cry. While I commend them for their efforts, I believe that their product, ‘Campus Cash’ is an utter failure.

    ‘Campus Cash’ is a very serious pocketbook issue on our campus, but one which is easily misunderstood. The entire campus is abuzz with the dissatisfaction over the current meal plan. I’m right there with you. I commend ‘The Statesman’ as well as ‘The Press’ for covering this issue and exposing many of its flaws. It seems that this issue has finally gotten some traction in the halls of the USG suite, and a better strategy is needed to fix it. First, let’s clarify what ‘Campus Cash’ is.

    ‘Campus Cash’ is a just a fancy name for debit card. In Volume L, Issue 35 of ‘The Statesman’, the article entitled ‘Excessive Campus Meal Plan Options Restrict Students’; inadvertently misleads and requires clarification. The article states ‘Students will be able to allocate a certain amount of money to an off campus debit account that can be used at approved vendors.’ The fact is that this plan does NOT allow students to allocate funds/points to and from their Meal Plan to the ‘Campus Cash’ account; instead students may sign on to Solar and ADD money to the account. You may also do that at the vending machines in the Union, H-Quad Caf’eacute;, or Roth Caf’eacute; as well. Once any money is on the card it’s ‘use it or lose it’ AS ADDED.

    Let’s be very clear: students may NOT allocate money from their existing meal plan towards the ‘Campus Cash’ account. For students not on a meal plan, it may not be a bad idea. However, for the vast majority of residents that are on a meal plan, I see only some slight advantage: the same 10% student discount Dominos and Subway were already offering and that you don’t need to carry cash. Unlike campus eateries, students must pay sales tax at both locations. And again, let’s be very clear: account balances are neither transferable nor redeemable for cash.

    It deeply saddens me that after months of negotiations, this non-solution is what we have walked away from the table with. I believe that the students should have all of the facts in front of them and confront President Jean-Baptiste as well as Senator Romano at this wasted effort of time and energy and demand a fair, simple and straightforward offering. That is not what we have now. The time to act is fast approaching. The contract with Chartwells is up this summer. If we, as students, want something better, then we must fight for it. I am imploring students to make their voices heard, in any way shape or form. Issues like this thrive on Apathy. Let’s not let that happen.

    Respectfully submitted,

    Jonathan Hirst, USG Senator

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