Gopher GOLD expanding services

The U Card office is looking to add services that allow students to use Gopher GOLD Value at more locations across campus. Since the U Card office adopted an online pay system last October that allows students to put more money on their U Card, they have been searching for ways to expand their services. U Card office Director Shirley Everson said theyâÄôre currently working on putting Gopher GOLD-friendly machines in new places including University of Minnesota bookstores , Printing Services and GoldyâÄôs Gameroom. Gopher Gold allows students to put money on their U Card to pay for University services, and since the change to the online system, students can put up to $1,000 on their card. Between adding the online system from The CBORD Group Inc., the private company providing the new services, and adding the necessary technology for the new locations, Everson predicted a total cost of $550,000 split among the University and the U Card office, she said. Everson said the money from her office comes from the funding and fines they have accumulated since 1999 and theyâÄôve been frugal during this period in order to make the transition for students. âÄúWe knew this was something that the students wanted, and it was the program to do to meet the needs of the community,âÄù Everson said. The idea to move online originally came from other schools that offer similar programs, such as the University of Wisconsin, University of Michigan and Penn State University. One difference between the online program and offline ValuePort machines is a $2 fee charged each time students add money to their card. Everson said the fee was a âÄúlegal requirementâÄù and suggested that students should put on more than the minimum $10 to avoid paying the fine often. Genetics of biology and development sophomore Erik Jessen said he uses Gopher Gold for printing services at Walter Library and originally heard about the new online program in an e-mail from the University, but has yet to try the system. âÄúI have a lot of money on there right now, so when I need a refill l probably will put it on online,âÄù Jessen said.

Tea Garden pushes open time back

As coffee has grown into the pick-me-up drink of choice, tea pots have been pushed to the back burner. In response to the decline, the Tea Garden , which doesnâÄôt serve coffee, will push its opening time back two hours from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. starting Feb. 1. âÄúWith coffee being what it is, being associated as the morning drink, tea has been pushed to an afternoon and nighttime study drink,âÄù he said. While co-owner Nick Nguyen said the economic downturn is beginning to affect the tea shops, he said cutting down on hours is a way to reduce payroll at the Stadium Village, Uptown and Grand Avenue St. Paul locations. The move allows the shops to cut out the slow early hours and prevent employee layoffs, Nguyen said. He also said the hours change helps the stores keep prices the same despite an increasing cost of tea from manufacturers. One Tea Garden customer, German and global studies junior Hannah Switalski, said she isnâÄôt surprised by the move. Switalski said she visits the Stadium Village location once or twice a week and agreed that the morning hours are generally slow. The hours arenâÄôt the only change happening with the Tea Garden âÄî Nguyen said theyâÄôre looking to revamp the menu to add new options to customers. âÄúWeâÄôre bound to disappoint some people that come in, in the morning, but overall it will strengthen our business,âÄù Nguyen said.