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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Monday, June 24, 2024

Expansion of new JumboCash in the works

Tufts' administrators and members of student government are always looking for ways to simplify students' lives, be it through providing the Joey for easy access to Davis Square, or allowing them to register for classes from their dorm rooms through the online SIS system.

This year, Tufts has added one more feature to ease campus life -- JumboCash. This new monetary method, which condenses the Dining Dollars and Points Plus systems of the past into one easy-to-use format, has been welcomed by a generally positive response on campus. But as with any novel system, students and administrators agree that there is still room for further improvement.

The switch to a simpler points system on campus was the brainchild of current Tufts Community Union Senate Parliamentarian, junior C.J. Mourning. As a freshman, she received complaints from classmates who were unsure of the system, and since then she has been working closely with Director of Dining Services Patti Klos and the rest of the Dining Services team to implement the change.

"An easier system is what the students wanted," Mourning said. "It took a while to work out the logistics because there was a lot of background stuff to figure out in terms of Dining Services and the systems that they use. [But as a senator], you need to not let the issues drop and you must keep talking with the administration."

After hard work over the past few years, Mourning is pleased with the current status of JumboCash.

"It is a lot easier because there is now only one system," she said. "I think people are much happier because they actually understand it."

Klos echoed Mourning's sentiments about the old system and the current workings of the new one.

"The old system [of Points and Dining Dollars], when it was new, was quite cutting edge. There was a significant amount of money used for non-dining access. But we knew it needed to change because things evolve," she said.

The new system has made leaps in convenience without changing Dining Services' finances and operations.

"[JumboCash] hasn't had a positive or negative budget effect for us. It happened pretty efficiently," Klos said. "From an administrative standpoint, [the new system] is easier because we are not administrating two different accounts ... It is a positive thing because the majority of students have welcomed it and wanted it."

While Klos is generally happy with the final product, she is prepared to take JumboCash to bigger and better places -- the plan for a Web site with which students would be able to check their account balances and manage their funds is scheduled to be finished this fall. Klos also hopes to add more off-campus eateries to the JumboCash system, a goal supported by many students.

"JumboCash should be accepted at more places, and at a wider variety of places. I would love sandwich shops like Tasty's or Dave's Fresh to be on points," junior Michael Levine said. "I would like to be able to go into actual restaurants in Davis like Mike's or Diva and use my points. An ice cream shop like J.P. Licks would be cool too."

"My ultimate goal was to get more restaurants on points so people would have more options," Mourning said. "That's the one thing I want to see accomplished before I leave Tufts."

Klos is working with Mourning to increase the number of restaurants in the system.

"Will we be like BU or Harvard that have 50 to 60 off-campus locations? I don't know. But we will certainly be able to expand," Klos said.

She, like Levine, would like to make the system more versatile by adding dine-in restaurants that accept JumboCash, since currently JumboCash can only be used when students place a delivery or carry-out order. She also hopes that students will eventually be able to use JumboCash for different types of services, such as for medications at Health Service or at the dry cleaners.

Before this year's switch, many students found the old system complicated because the two different debit accounts were used to pay for separate services on and off campus.

"The old point system was really confusing because everything had its own category," Levine said. "Different points were used for Jumbo Express and for the laundry machines, for example. I was always running out of laundry points and didn't know how to add more money to my account for that service specifically. Now, if I want 300 points for anything -- the bookstore, food, laundry -- I just go to Curtis Street and sign a slip of paper, so it's really easy."

Junior Jon Cohn expressed similar views.

"[JumboCash] is only a good thing," he said. "Before, having the disconnect between food and the bookstore was annoying. You never knew how much money you had on one or the other. This new system allows for more freedom, and it really simplifies everything," he said.

Although changes in the system have made students happier, some are still unsatisfied. Freshman Brittany Chait, who has found the system easy to use as a first-year student, wishes that JumboCash offered more benefits.

"It only gives discounts on laundry. I think that discounts or other deals should be given for other services that accept JumboCash, like the off-campus restaurants. At my high school, if I showed my ID card at the nearby Chipotle, we got a free drink. Here, they could say something like, 'if you come to this restaurant on Tuesday at lunch you get [something free].' I think then more students would use their JumboCash at outside restaurants," Chait said.

But in its early stages, JumboCash seems to be serving the purpose it hoped to fulfill.

"JumboCash just has a nice ring to it; it has an image," Klos said. "I really like the logo. We've gotten a lot of response, and not really any complaints. Overall, it is a much more user-friendly system."

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