Dining Dollar cards come to campus


Jenna L. Korth

Hillary and Dan from CCAC North campus.

Gabriela Bosonetto

“It’s kinda like a gift card, just a gift card you buy with financial aid” says current student, Tricia McAfee, describing the  new Dining Dollars program at CCAC. This program allows students enrolled in financial aid to purchase a $100 gift card redeemable at any CCAC cafeteria.

Purchasing the Dining Dollar Card allows CCAC students to buy food and drinks from AVI, the company which oversees CCAC dining halls, during the semester. “Many college students face the challenges of hunger.  This program was designed to allow students to use portions of their aid to ensure they have proper nutrients,” says Jennifer Cowans, a staff member from West Hills Campus.

Dining Dollars has been in the works for over a year, started by an ambitious student with an assigned paper. This student saw the need of their fellow students, and worked with the South Campus administration, Follett Bookstore, and AVI food service to make the program a reality.

The work that one student began has spread to affect the daily lives of not only students in one campus, but students in all campuses of CCAC. Since the program began, Allegheny campus has sold over 110 cards, South campus has sold over 50 cards, Boyce campus has sold 30 cards, and North campus has sold 10 cards.

“This program helped over 200 individuals who would otherwise possibly not been able to afford to eat at the beginning of the semester,” says Cowans. The impact of this program is huge, and it is only beginning. Not only has this program provided relief to students have food insecurity, but it has also given a sense of comfort to those who may not be in as dire need. “I know I can always get food when I’m here,” says McAfee.

Although there are some conditions and limitations, the card is relatively easy to purchase. “Within five minutes I knew everything about it,” says McAfee. Here are the rules: The Dining Dollars Card is technically a part of financial aid, so if a student is ineligible for financial aid, they are ineligible for the card. This would only be an issue in certain circumstances. For example, if a student dropped half his classes. Also, the limit is one card per semester, and the cards only come in $100 amounts.

Students can get their cards in the bookstore today. “Definitely do it, it gives a sense of relief. Like I don’t have to worry about that now” McAfee urges students eligible for the Dining Dollars program to apply.