FlexDine prevents fair competition

The program forces students to spend their money in specific restaurants.


FlexDine is a service attached to University Dining Services meal plans that transforms your U Card into a debit card to buy food on campus, much like Gopher GOLD for on-campus printing and vending machines. Yet getting FlexDine is not a choice for students who live on campus and must get a UDS meal plan; there is not a single meal plan option that comes without FlexDine.

There seems to be no reason to use FlexDine. Students can always use a debit or check card, or even a credit card, which many students have (if not simple cash), to buy food on campus without being forced to use FlexDine money they would not otherwise spend. A student with 19 meals per week, for example, really has no need to have FlexDine when they have already purchased every possible meal UDS offers each week, yet those plans have $100-$165 of FlexDine. But most importantly, why force students to spend money prematurely on food they donâÄôt necessarily know they are going to eat?

FlexDine is offered nationwide by the Aramark Corporation, a Fortune 500 company centered in Philadelphia, to many public and private universities, as well as public organizations. Aramark was even responsible for feeding the Chilean miners stuck underground.

 Here on campus, FlexDine can be used with a number of different restaurants and cafés, including those in the student unions. In this way, FlexDine works to limit where and on what students can spend their money. Additionally, FlexDine hurts local businesses who do not take part in the service or have an agreement with Aramark.

UDS should make FlexDine a choice to students living on campus, instead of attaching it to every meal plan it offers. The service can be convenient for students who do not wish to carry cash with them or have no alternative to pay digitally, but for a vast majority of students it is a useless waste of their money.