JumboCash program is a positive step

It’s about time.

Tufts University Dining Services announced today that Dining Dollars and Points Plus have been combined to create a new program called JumboCash, which will be accepted at Tufts Dining locations, student-run eateries like The Rez and Oxfam Café, the campus bookstore and all residence hall laundry machines. They can also be transferred to the Tufts ID vending stripe for copying and printing in campus libraries and computer labs and will be accepted at the six off-campus restaurants that previously accepted Points Plus.

We congratulate Dining Services for implementing this useful, long overdue change.

The previous system was unnecessarily complicated and students were often confused about which types of payments were accepted at the different places around campus. The new system will simplify things, and the use of a single debit currency is much more convenient.

The change also gives students more flexibility when choosing a meal plan: Rather than having a set amount of debit linked to each respective plan, students can now choose how much JumboCash they want to put on their student ID cards.

The change is the result of a year’s worth of collaboration between the Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate Services committee and Dining Services. Both organizations should be applauded for simplifying students’ lives.

With the Points Plus versus Dining Dollars circus finally resolved, Dining Services and the Senate should now turn their attention toward making it possible for students to use JumboCash at more off-campus restaurants.

Many local restaurants are not on the system due to financial and technological issues with the old Merchants on Points system (MOPS). With JumboCash in place, Dining Services and local businesses should consider expanding the options available to students who wish to eat off campus.

As it stands, students can only use their ID cards to buy food at six off-campus establishments; this is well below the number of options available to students at Tufts’ peer institutions. Boston College students, for example, can use their ID cards to purchase food from 12 off-campus locations, while Harvard gives its students access to 28.

Tufts’ location will probably prevent it from giving students access to quite that many options, and there are still technological and feasibility issues that need to be resolved. Still, the fact that other institutions have implemented similar policies should convince Tufts to get its act together in order to keep its services comparable to those at its peer institutions.

This, however, is a problem to be solved in the (hopefully near) future. For now, Dining Services and the TCU Senate Services Committee should be commended for taking a step in the right direction.