Upon arriving on campus this semester, I was a little confused when I learned at Jasper Deli that they were not accepting Jasper dollars yet, despite the semester starting within a few days.
Sure enough, a few days later I found out at my floor meeting in Overlook Manor that the student body would not have Jasper dollars to use off-campus until Oct. 1 or so. Emphasis on the “or so.” This was extremely disappointing because like many of my fellow students, I absolutely love being able to use my meal plan features at restaurants and delis off-campus. It is definitely the best feature of the meal plan.
Of course, this is regrettable and not something Manhattan College had expected. However, after trying to look into exactly why we could not use Jasper dollars off-campus, I basically felt as though I hit a wall and I got tired.
It dawned on me that there really isn’t one specific place to go to voice concerns or comments about things like this while also being taken seriously.
It is not uncommon for students to ask their parents to take care of it instead, which is sometimes more effective. It’s also inefficient to have to make an appointment with someone or keep making phone calls.
College students generally do not have a lot of free time to spare. When we aren’t in class, doing assignments, studying for exams or working a part-time job/internship, it’s a blessing when one can find time to go to the gym, get eight hours of sleep or socialize. There is no time to make these phone calls or appointments necessary to voice concerns over something that is going to be put on the back burner and resolved within a few weeks anyway.
So, people forget and make do with the circumstances. Shouldn’t MC want our feedback on how things are handled? Maybe it sounds narcissistic, but doesn’t the school revolve around us in many ways? We get polled on where to have graduation, but what about how we like our dining options?
“The biggest issue for me was that when I got back here after the summer, I had no money and I was banking on using Jasper dollars when I got back,” Jande Moscot, senior English literature major, said.
“It’s futile even if I did have the time, like what are they going to do? They get it, but it seems like they don’t care,” said Moscot when asked why she didn’t contact anyone about this issue. It’s important to note that Moscot is also gluten-free, which makes eating on campus all the more challenging.
Kelly Cousins, a senior sociology and peace studies major and also a vegetarian, got through to Residence Life and was able to make some suggestions for the grocery store in Cafe 1853.
“Who wants to waste Jasper dollars on campus? It’s just horribly inconvenient because even with the new options at 1853 there’s so many things they don’t have that I need and it’s so expensive,” said Cousins. “It’s just really frustrating because they’re actually holding our money hostage. We paid them the money to have 160 Jasper dollars and we cannot use it and not only can we not use it but they are not apologizing for it, or compensating us.”
Other students are running into problems as well. “I’m blowing through my ACDs and when they said in the beginning of the semester that Jasper dollars aren’t working off-campus they should’ve have reimbursed OV residents or given us more ACDs or something. We should have been compensated for the Jasper dollars or dealt with differently instead of ‘you don’t have them and we don’t know when you’re getting them back,’” Casey Barrett, senior civil engineering major, said.
“I feel like it’s a waste because we still haven’t even gotten them to use and it’s already almost half-way through the semester. I would rather use ACDs on-campus,” Alex Goncalves, senior electrical engineering major, said.
I personally believe that MC could have done a better job at keeping students updated about our off-campus dining options. It’s not a cataclysmic issue and we will all live, but I can’t be the only one who thinks a little email here or there with what is currently being worked on would be nice.
I don’t think I’m asking for much when I look at all the debt I have accrued while working towards my degree. It is very hard to feel like anyone really does care about how something like this affects the student population.