Dining dollars should be able to be used at off campus restaurants too

By Erianne Lewis | Staff Writer

Have you heard of Bevo Pay? I had not until about two weeks ago when I took a trip to Austin. Bevo Pay is a form of payment that is offered to University of Texas students through their UT ID cards. Bevo Pay is designed to be used at over 100 on and off-campus locations as an easy alternative to cash or credit cards.

Baylor offers the dining dollar plans which allows students to swipe into dining halls and spend money at the limited on-campus restaurants we have: Chick-fil-A, Panda Express, Steak ‘n Shake, Starbucks, Which Wich, Moe’s Southwestern Grill, Au Bon Pain and Common Grounds. Dining dollars can also be used at the convenience store on campus: the POD at Penland Crossroads. However, dining dollars can not be used anywhere off campus.

Initially, I thought that Bevo Pay may have been something unique to UT and was a rarity. After doing some quick research and talking to friends at other universities, I found that many other universities offer similar opportunities for students to use their ID cards to purchase food and other things off campus. LSU has TigerCASH, the University of Arizona has CatCa$h and St. Edwards University has Topper Tender, just to name a few. Why doesn’t Baylor offer something similar?

I think that Baylor should find a way to partner with off-campus restaurants to offer students more opportunities to use dining dollars than just at the on-campus locations. While I am thankful for the options we do have, I see an opportunity for Baylor to expand those options. I think that this partnership with restaurants could come with many benefits like exposing students to local restaurants that may not get as much recognition as they deserve.

Baylor requires first year students to live on campus unless they meet an exemption requirement. Another part of that requirement is for freshmen to have a meal plan. Baylor offers two options for meal plans for freshmen, the five day or seven day all-access plans, both of which include dining dollars.

I can’t speak for everyone, but I know lot of my friends found themselves having many dining dollars leftover at the end of the semester. It’s not that they didn’t like the restaurants on campus, but they found themselves getting worn out from them because the options are so limited. They wondered why they paid so much money for a dining plan just to let the benefits go to waste. This could be easily solved. There are a lot of popular spots within a few miles that Baylor students frequent where it would be a great improvement to the dining dollars system.

I understand that this is not a simple process — it requires a lot of time and detailed planning for this to come to fruition. I am just asking that Baylor considers this option, not only for the students’ benefit, but also for the profit of restaurants and businesses throughout Waco.

If anyone from Baylor administration is reading this, I even have a few suggestions for the name. How does BearBucks or CubCash sound?