UI Dining says, cash out

BY CHRIS HIGGINS | MAY 14, 2014 5:00 AM

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

University of Iowa students will have two more reasons to remember their student IDs or debit cards.

During the next academic year, the IMU’s River Room will not accept meal swipes for grill meals. Also, many campus retail locations will not allow cash transactions.

Starting in the middles of this semester, students were allowed to use meal swipes for grill options, which includes cheeseburgers and fish and chips, at the River Room instead of paying with money. The change was made to alleviate pressure at the Burge and Hillcrest Marketplaces.

“A lot of our walk-in guests were getting frustrated because of the long lines with all of the students for the meal-swipe options,” said Bob James, the assistant director of UI Housing and Dining retail operations. “Now, it has put so much pressure on the River Room, and with such a small area and limited storage space right now, we kind of have to tailor things back and do what we can do best.”

From 10:30a.m.-4p.m., students can still use meal swipes at the River Room’s for deli, pizza homestyle, and either Asian or pasta meals. Officials have not determined which option will be excluded. All but the grill will be available for swipes during dinnertime.

The change has attracted criticism from UI students.

“If you pay for your meal swipes, you should be able to get the food that you want,” said biomedical-engineering graduate student Deepti Sharma, a. “It’s a customer-service industry, so if you want that food, then you’ve already paid. If they get rid of that, then they should just get rid of meal swipes.”

James said there are plans for new grill stations in residence dining halls along with a new food court when the IMU ground floor reopens in 2015, which could further reduce traffic in the River Room.

Starting Aug. 11, cash will no longer be accepted at Burge and Hillcrest Marketplaces, the Eckstein Medical Research Building, Pat’s Diner, Court Café, the Main Library, and the Mayflower, Burge, and Hillcrest convenience stores. Customers will have to use university IDs or bank cards.

“The No. 1 reason is that service will be a lot quicker,” James said. “They won’t have to count back change … There’s also been numerous articles online the last few months about how dirty money is, so we’d like to take that cash-handling and some of that stuff away from our cashiers.”

UI Housing and Dining will install new registers and card readers, which James said will make it easier to keep track of transactions on top of going cashless.

However, some students have responded negatively to that switch, too.

“I think that we might lose business because a lot of people like to pay in cash or come and spend money and then get change to put in for their cars,” said UI sophomore Kenya Lewis, a Mayflower convenience-store cashier. “People do that all the time. I don’t think it’ll make a difference with it being easier. I just feel like we’ll lose more money.”

UI sophomore Victor Valentin said many students prefer to use cash.

“I understand that they want to get rid of cash and make it more efficient and quicker … but what if some of us don’t want to use Hawk Dollars or charge it to our U-bill,“ he said. “Cash is usually a last resort, and I get that, but at the same time it also helps a lot of college students here.”

In today's issue:

Privacy Policy (8/15/07) | Terms of Use (4/28/08) | Content Submission Agreement (8/23/07) | Copyright Compliance Policy (8/25/07) | RSS Terms of Use

Copyright © The Daily Iowan, All Rights Reserved.