I first heard about the possibility of college students spending their Bonus Bucks, Dining Dollars or the equivalent at non-campus stores when my sister ended up going to Gannon last year.
She can spend her GU Gold at surrounding restaurants and fast food chains.
Additionally, she can use her money at places like CVS and grocery stores.
She can also choose just how much she puts on her card to use for non-campus goods.
I wish Mercyhurst students were able to do something similar.
Last year, they kind of alluded to making that happen if students were to download the GET app.
I had heard that and yet, nothing else occurred despite numerous students getting the app.
The app is helpful in and of itself though.
I like knowing how much Dining Dollars I have left as well as the history of where I spent them.
I just wish it had gone further like I originally heard.
It would be interesting to add different options to our meal plans.
Sometimes it gets almost boring to eat on campus.
Don’t get me wrong, the food on campus is good, but it gets predictable too.
Plus, I often am too tired to make something myself.
Sometimes you need a good old-fashioned cheeseburger off campus.
I am not saying that it would be a good idea to expand this to any and all of the surrounding restaurants and every single food option in Erie.
However, I would really like to advocate for Chick-Fil-A to be a part of this if it were to happen.
There would have to be set rules regarding students being able to spend their OneCard money outside of the school.
Like, rules about what can and cannot be bought with the card, that sort of thing.
It would be similar to the fact that we cannot currently use our OneCard money on alcohol at the Roost.
It just makes sense, you don’t want students spending school money on things like alcohol or cigarettes.
It goes beyond just the food though.
If we can open up our OneCard to use at CVS and other grocery stores, it would make it a lot easier for students to get necessities.
This is especially true during the months that almost every student is getting sick and they need cold medicine or cough drops.
I’m certain that we’ve all had experiences getting sick at the exact wrong time here at Mercyhurst.
Additionally, grocery stores offer healthy options that students can buy, helping students watch their weight.
Alternatively, it can help students become more independent by having to shop for themselves.
I believe it would be beneficial to open up the OneCard off-campus use.
With this change, students would not have to worry about having cash on hand or money in their bank accounts.
I don’t think this would place an undue burden on students either.
We already have to remember our OneCard and key so I believe it wouldn’t be too much of a hassle.
There is a stipulation here though.
I think if students were able to put money on their card, they should also be able to get the unused money back later or have their money roll into the following semester.
I understand that it would take a lot of work to get this up and running.
But if the effort was put in, I think the students would see a lot of benefit from it.
If other schools in Erie, such as Gannon can do it, I am hoping Mercyhurst will be able to at some point.
Even though I am graduating this year, I hope that future Lakers can see the benefits of a system such as this.