In today’s story “Officials mull over new payment plan,” the results of the YCC’s latest campuswide survey show that an overwhelming majority of Yale undergraduates are ready for a change. Late-night dining at Yale is, in a word, nonexistent. The current off-campus payment option, Flex Bucks, is accepted at only two New Haven restaurants. With a processing fee of 18 percent, local business owners cannot afford to participate in the current program. Thus, students miss out on the dining flexibility our peers at rival institutions have enjoyed for years.
Two weeks ago, the YCC passed a resolution in support of Campus Cash, a program proposed last year to increase undergraduate late-night dining options. Campus Cash will merge students’ Flex Bucks, Eli Bucks, and printing and laundry accounts into a single, comprehensive system. Your student ID will be the only card you need. Undergraduates will be able to purchase food in the dining halls, campus retail locations like Durfee’s and participating area restaurants. The infrastructure and technology are already there; all this program aims to do is streamline the process.
The goal of Campus Cash is to make your life easier. With this program, undergraduates will be able to go out into New Haven with nothing more than their student IDs and buy food from participating area restaurants late at night. Campus Cash will be accepted from the libraries to Broadway. Purchasing Campus Cash is easy: This system will operate the same way as undergraduate printing accounts, and you will be able to refill your Campus Cash account online.
Campus Cash is safe. Late at night, students can leave their wallets behind and still be able to purchase a midnight snack. Lost IDs are easy to replace, and stolen ones are even tougher to use. You already need your ID to get back into your college; now you’ll only need your ID to leave it.
Understandably, New Haven businesses love the idea of Campus Cash. The administration has been great about working with the YCC and area merchants to negotiate a lower processing fee that allows more restaurants to participate in the program. Broadway stores are contractually obligated to stay open until midnight to serve as a late-night dining option to the undergraduate community. It is Yale’s responsibility to keep up its side of the bargain and help drive business their way.
Finally, Campus Cash is ready to go. Students are overwhelmingly in favor of the idea, local business owners are eager to take a more active role in undergraduate life, and administrators are enthusiastic about bringing Yale’s student accounting into the 21st century. The future of Campus Cash is exciting: Other institutions have already taken this beyond eliminating the need to carry cash. At many schools, students do not even have to carry change because they can use their IDs to pay at university vending machines. With a little work, this initiative can be up and running by the beginning of next year.
So with that, we call on the administration to make Campus Cash a budgetary priority in this next fiscal year. The processing fee for Campus Cash should be affordable for the New Haven business community. The Flex Bucks subsidy to the 14-meal plan should be given in Campus Cash. A program like Campus Cash is long overdue at Yale. The people have spoken: Over 92 percent of undergraduates are in favor of this program. Let’s not wait another day.
Bill Fishel is a junior in Calhoun College and the founder of Campus Cash. Zach Marks is a sophomore in Saybrook College and secretary of the Yale College Council. David Roosth is a sophomore in Saybrook and co-author of the YCC resolution concerning Campus Cash.