Have you ever gotten to the end of a semester and realized you had only spent 30 of your 75 or 125 flex dollars? Maybe you grabbed a big group of friends and insisted on paying for whatever they wanted at the Hub because after all, you wouldn’t want all that flex money to go to waste! As someone who uses their flex money too quickly because of the absurd amount of oat milk lattes I get from Common Grounds, I have not yet run into this dilemma myself, but I have been the witness on many an occasion.
What if there were a solution to this problem? What if we, as Standout™ Raiders, could put our leftover flex money to a more noble cause than clearing out nearly all the ice cream in the Hub?
I spoke with a couple of my peers who are members of the Student Government Association (SGA) on campus – a group that advocates for the betterment of Northwestern’s student body as a whole. After sharing with them my proposition to fix the flex-dollar-dilemma, they had some thoughts to share.
“We were talking about in SGA how it’s not very efficient or healthy to try and spend the rest of our money on things like Bubbl’r and ice cream in bulk”, says Marissa Leraas, SGA junior class representative. “If we use flex money in the bookstore, the college is still getting money, it’s just in a different form.”
“Ditto”, says Maddie Loats, SGA senior class representative. Loats also brought up how it might be a good idea to have there be a set date where, until that point, students can’t use their money at the bookstore, but once that date comes, they can use however much of their flex money they would like to at the bookstore.
Something I discovered when researching is that Dordt allows their students to use their leftover flex money at their bookstore. Dordt uses the same Creative Eating program that NW does. Based on this information, I don’t know of any rules there would be against using leftover flex money at our bookstore.
I would even go as far to say that we should be able to use our flex money at the bookstore throughout the entire semester.
There are two main reasons I have for this opinion, the first being that it would allow us to represent Raider red more easily. This is especially true of freshmen or transfer students who come in without Raider gear and want to get something to represent their school proudly without having to spend more money than they need to. If this rule were implemented, there would be more Raider gear being worn, causing there to be more opportunities for current students to tell prospective students why they love NW.
My second reasoning is that often times, when a new semester is starting, students don’t have all the books they need for their classes. This could be for many reasons, but it is often because students are confused as to all the books they need for their classes. Should students be allowed to use flex money at the bookstore, this problem would not be nearly as big because students could have the books they need easily accessible to them.
I believe being able to spend our flex dollars at the bookstore would allow us to represent our school more easily and effectively. It would also save us money by allowing us to get our textbooks from the bookstore, and it would still benefit the college just as much, even if our flex money is going to a different store on campus!