Dining Dollars Donations? Spending the very last in a responsible way

The day before school was out for winter break, I headed for my trimesterly Sayles trip to finish up my dining dollars. With around five dining dollars left to spend, I purchased a Naked juice and a yoghurt parfait, thus spending the majority of my leftover money. As always, however, a small amount (around $0.70) remained unspent, simply because it could not buy me anything. As I knew this occurred to me and my fellow peers every term, I found myself thinking:  was there any way this money could be spent?

Many students run out of dining dollars during the term, but some students have a significant amount of dining dollars left at the end of the term. While these students, like me, often try to spend the money on last-minute items, they are often left with a small amount they cannot spend in the cafeteria. Unlike Schillers, dining dollars do not carry over to the next term. In some ways, then, a small amount dining dollars always goes to waste, even though students, as subscribers to the meal plan, have paid to use all their dining dollars.

While students simply are not able to spend the remaining amounts on cafeteria items, they could potentially spend this on something else. What if this “something else” was socially responsible and connected to the well-being of the local community? More specifically, what if at the end of the term, students could donate their leftover dining dollars to the local Northfield food shelf, thus supporting the local food system and those in need?

To me, this sounds like an incredibly attractive option. Imagine if students like me, who have a few dollars or cents with which they cannot purchase anything, would have the option to donate the negligible amount to the local food shelf. With over thousand students on the meal plan, this would provide the local food shelf with significant donations every term. In a simple swipe by the cafeteria staff, students would be able to perform an incredibly meaningful action, while becoming aware of prominent issues in the Northfield community.

Of course I know that plausibly introducing this option would involve a careful investigation of logistical issues. However, I also know that this would be an excellent option to strengthen Carleton students’ and Bon Appetit’s commitment to strengthening and supporting the local community.
What do you  think?


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