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Letter to the Editor: Revitalizing Gopher Gold: Ensuring sustainability and effectiveness through strategic adjustments

These adjustments can be mirrored off of similar programs to the Gopher Gold program.
Image by Morgan La Casse

I strongly support the continued funding of the Gopher Gold program at the University of Minnesota, but with a few adjustments.

The major problem in this program can be affixed. As highlighted in the article “UMN collected over $1 million in unspent Gopher GOLD funds,” the Gopher Gold program has provided many essential services such as campus purchases, printing services, and transportation systems to the students, fostering efficient and convenient university lives for students, faculty and staffs.

Accordingly, $10 million went into Gopher GOLD accounts in the last decade. 

To ensure the sustainability and effectiveness of the Gopher Gold program, addressing its consistent deficit operation is paramount. This issue arises from instability in operating costs, revenue and fee structures, hindering the program’s ability to cover expenses with current revenue streams. Thus, a comprehensive review of expenses and revenue streams is necessary to identify areas for improvement.

By conducting a thorough assessment encompassing all aspects of the program’s operations, including operating costs, revenue sources and fee structures, strategic adjustments can be implemented to ensure its continued success.

Another vital issue that lies behind the program is that the program requires some fundamental changes in its fee structure and policies to align with the evolving needs and preferences of the university community. For instance, reevaluating the inactivity fees and account closure policies could encourage more active participation in the program and reduce the accumulation of unspent funds. Additionally, exploring alternative revenue-generating opportunities, such as partnerships with local businesses or alumni donations, could provide a sustainable source of income for the program.

As a year nine student in NLCS Jeju, South Korea, with a similar program called ID card –– where students can buy food and access facilities when scanning it, we’ve also encountered analogous challenges.

However, through strategic adjustments such as reevaluating fee structures and fostering partnerships, we successfully addressed these issues. By enhancing engagement and optimizing revenue streams, we not only mitigated deficits but also revitalized the program, ensuring its sustainability and continued contribution to our campus community.

Ultimately, the Gopher Gold program plays a vital role in enhancing the university experience for students, faculty and staff at the University. By addressing the underlying challenges and implementing proactive measures to improve its financial sustainability and effectiveness, we can ensure that the program continues to thrive and fulfill its mission of providing essential services to the university community.

With thoughtful adjustments and collaborative efforts, we can secure the future success of the Gopher Gold program for generations to come.

Jeyun Han is currently a student attending North London Collegiate School in Jeju Island, South Korea.

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