SDSU gives students option to donate unused flex dollars




Every year at South Dakota State, students fail to spend the entire balance on their flex accounts and, instead of the money staying on the card until the next year, it’s gone by the time fall comes around. 

So, where does it go? 

According to Associate Vice President of Student Affairs Doug Wermedal, at the end of the year, unspent flex dollars go to Aramark, with 13 percent going to South Dakota State for scholarships. 

But, Wermedal said, there are four different options for getting the most out of students’ flex dollars and making sure they don’t get left on your card at the end of the spring semester. 

Students can buy in bulk at the Dairy Bar, the meat market or the C-store to drain away their excess flex balance. But, at the end of the semester, some people aren’t able to make it to the C-store before products are sold out, or don’t like to buy in bulk from the Dairy Bar or the meat market. For them there are Food Pantry Fridays. 

On the last three Fridays at the end of the semester, students are able to designate a portion of their meal plan to purchase non-perishable bulk goods, which SDSU delivers to the Brookings Food Pantry to be donated at the end of the year.

“They should probably advertise for that more,” said Coleton Ginger, a community assistant at Ben Reifel hall and junior music entrepreneurship and business economics double-major. Ginger said he was not aware of the program. 

Many students with meal plans do not know about the program and according to Ginger, he knows students who run out of time to spend the money in their meal plan, due to purchasing food off-campus because of the lack of healthy dining choices in The Union. 

“For the most part, I use a lot of my flex at the end of the year to stock up on those healthy items,” Ginger said. 

Ginger would like to see more healthy options in The Union, so he wouldn’t have to leave campus so much over the semester. 

But not all students have a hard time getting rid of their flex dollars.  

Senior agronomy major Meghan Domonoske said when she used flex dollars they were always gone by the end of each semester and sometimes before.

According to Wermedal, for the average student less than $15 remains on their flex account at the conclusion of the academic year. 

Each cashier register on campus features a guide that tells students how they can spend their full amount of flex dollars. 

“What we try to do is make sure that each student receives the value of their meal plan,” Wermedal said. “If they (students) follow that amount on that budget, they would not have any leftover flex dollars.”