Limited options for students to spend Community Plus dollars

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Photo by Matthew Cornejo

Community Plus, an amount of $50 dollars in DePauw meal plans for students living in residence halls, can be used at participating local restaurants including Almost Home, Taco Wapo, and Scoops. Recently, however, Community Plus has not been an option at Taco Wapo, leaving students frustrated.

“Initially, when I asked a few months ago, Taco Wapo said the machine was down. Now they just say no,” first-year Maia Casterline said. The last time she went to Taco Wapo was right before winter break.

According to a poll from The DePauw Instagram account, out of 32 students who have recently visited the restaurant, 28 were denied the use of Community Plus. Travis Linneweber, associate vice president of finance & administration, said the school is aware of the situation and is working with Taco Wapo to address it.

“We can't really force [Taco Wapo to fix their machine], we can just encourage it. It's in Taco Wapo’s best interest to get it fixed because then they get more business from students,” Linneweber said.

DePauw is also aware that there are fewer restaurants accepting Community Plus dollars than there were in the past. Marvin’s is one of the restaurants that dropped out of the system.

“I have heard that Marvin’s dropped the program because they didn't want to pay to upgrade their machines…I have not heard that from Taco Wapo,” Linneweber said.

DePauw is also reaching out to other local businesses, such as Myers’ market, and encouraging them to participate in the system, according to Linneweber. 

“Right now [Myers’] is not interested and we've reached out to other local restaurants. And as of right now, we haven't had any luck…What I've heard so far from the local restaurants is that the program we have charges a higher interchange fee,” Linneweber said. 

According to an email sent out to students on Jan 12, Community Plus dollars were made available for use at locations that used to accept only DPU Flex dollars, including Bon Appetit locations and The Inn at DePauw. Linneweber said this change was made so that students can use up their Community Plus dollars when their options at local restaurants are limited.