When it comes to spending dining dollars, a student has a number of options ranging from university-run restaurants to global food chains. But students at the University of Massachusetts are asking that their dining dollars be accepted at a different kind of merchant; local, student-run co-ops.
Per the UMass Dining website, dining dollars can be used at a number of locations including select dining merchants, food trucks, on-campus restaurants and concession stands. Dining Dollars also carry over during the academic year from fall to spring semesters.
One caveat to the dining dollar policy, however, is that it excludes the student-run, co-op restaurants. Now, a report from Mass Live reveals that students are petitioning to include their peers’ businesses under the umbrella of dining dollar use. At their inception, the student-run co-ops at UMass were not included in the university’s dining plan, but the report states that four of the student-run restaurants had been integrated into meal plan via their inclusion in the university’s Your Campus Meal Plan program.
UMass students also reportedly sent messages to university officials requesting that their dining dollars be accepted at the co-ops, but university administrators are yet to amend the policy. Following an article in UMass’ student newspaper, the Daily Collegian, it seems that the debate is yet to be resolved.
Inclusion in the university’s meal plan and dining dollar program would certainly help the student co-ops to succeed going forward, but the logistics of making that relationship work for all stakeholders is less than straightforward.
University officials have explained that a collaboration with a student advisory committee on dining is underway to discuss a possible course of action. Students have met this issue with a great deal of fervor for their peers’ businesses, but the key to making the initiative work will undoubtedly come down to cost as university administrators work toward a solution that satisfies all parties involved.