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Group discusses Dollars

Molly Madden | Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Council of Representatives (COR) discussed the proposition of a new program that would allow Domer Dollars to be spent at certain locations off-campus at their meeting Tuesday night.

“If we pursued this initiative, it would be a lot of work and a lot of money,” student body president Catherine Soler said. “What we need to ask is if this is necessary and would students really use a program like this.”

She referenced a similar program at Villanova University that had proved beneficial to the students and the University because 5 percent of the sales went back to Villanova. Soler said that if Domer Dollars were to expand, it would hopefully be constructed in the same manner so that money would be coming back to Notre Dame.

“Another reason to look into this now is that a lot of the places already have the technology it would take to make this happen,” Soler said.

After saying the initiative was in the proposal stages and “by no means a sure thing,” Soler requested feedback from COR members. Soler listed the concerns already  expressed by administrators and University officials regarding the usage of Domer Dollars off-campus.

One of the major issues was if the initiative was to become a reality, there are anxieties over whether the program would take business away from services on campus.

Soler said if the proposal were to become a reality, it would be tested for a few months in a contained area of businesses, most likely Eddy Street Commons. If it proved to be successful, the service could be expanded to other businesses in the community but then there would be a question over where specifically it would expand.

COR members voiced their own questions, including whether or not the program would even change anything for students since Domer Dollars is from students’ personal funds and not the University, and over who would get to decide which businesses in the community would be selected to accept Domer Dollars.

In response to the concerns voiced by members, student body vice president Andrew Bell suggested looking into a discount program at selected businesses either in conjunction or as a substitute for the expansion of Domer Dollars.

“If all the time that is going to be spent on the Domer Dollar program could be spent on developing a discount program, that might be more effective,” he said.

The majority of COR members expressed more enthusiasm for an effective discount program as opposed to the expansion of Domer Dollars. However, Soler said she thought it was “harder to sell” a discount program.

“The main question we have to ask ourselves about both of these initiatives is whether or not they provide an advantage to the students,” she said.