What if? That’s the question surfacing the Keene State College rumor mill. With a town so closely connected to its college, there’s got to be a better and easier way to make business happen, right? With it’s new location across the street from campus on Winchester Street, owner of D’s Café Darren Humphrey is trying to make a push for Owl Cash or some form of a meal swipe to be implemented for students to use.
Multiple accredited colleges do it, such as the University of New England and UMass Amherst. Students are allowed to use their meal plan dollars at local restaurants. This system allows students to go out into the community and add variety to their diet. “It would definitely be good to have a variety of meals to choose from instead of constantly having to choose from Lloyds or Hoot [n’ Scoot] if we get sick of the D[ining] C[ommons.] Some places that I would love to be able to use a meal swipe at are places like Subway, Brewbakers and Fritz,” said Keene State College senior Mike Devaney.
Eating from the same spot for nine months starts to get boring after a while for most students. This system also allows for businesses on Main Street to have better business and a stronger relationship and respect for students, as they show support for the community they go to school in.
“I would like to see a whole list of local businesses that allow students to use a meal swipe at their restaurants and not just mine. I’ve been talking with the school for a while now about it and they seem interested. With my business being so close to the school, I think I can really form a great relationship with the students. My prices are already affordable enough, but I think adding a meal swipe option would be even better for students to come to the café and relax while getting a quality meal,” said Humphrey.
Owner of D’s Deli and D’s Café, Humphrey said, “Students wouldn’t be able to purchase alcohol from me on a meal swipe; it would just be food and your basic soft drink. I think that adding a meal swipe for local businesses would really attract more students to the college and would add another level of uniqueness to the dining options at the school.”
“I definitely would use a meal swipe at a local business,” KSC senior Joe Barbesco said. “I’ve been here for almost four years in May and I can tell you, I wish they had set something like this up a while ago. My other friends’ schools have off-campus meal swipes, so I think it’s time Keene did too. With our community and college being so close, why wouldn’t they have done it already?…I think giving students meal swipes to off campus locations just gives them another reason to get out of the door and go out into the community. It’s always nice to have a new variety and quality meal and a place to go that is different and where you can just relax for a little bit.”
Jurien Garrison can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org