Diamond Dollars makes most students’ lives a bit easier. Instead of reaching into their pockets to buy food, textbooks or supplies on campus, they can easily pay with a swipe of their Owl Card.
But students cannot use their Diamond Dollars at stores located in the Avenue North Complex, which houses over 1,200 students at the Edge and is home to the Pearl Theater along with numerous retailers and restaurants.
Qdoba Mexican Grill, Dunkin’ Donuts, Maui Wowi and City View Pizza each sit at the south end of campus on Cecil B. Moore Avenue and are technically considered to be off-campus vendors. Across the street, the Draught Horse, 7-Eleven and Subway are able to offer their customers the option to use Diamond Dollars.
Will Charbonnet, president of Philadelphia Fresh Foods, which franchises Qdoba, said it just doesn’t make sense that his location cannot accept Diamond Dollars.
“We’re here to service the Temple students. Diamond Dollars are such a big part of campus currency, and by not having them, it limits student access,” Charbonnet said.
Qdoba and other vendors on the block have been negotiating with the Diamond Dollars office, Charbonnet said, adding that he first initiated a dialogue with Diamond Dollars directors more than a year ago.
“We’re starting to make progress. We’re more optimistic than we were in the beginning,” Charbonnet said.
George Metro, the director of the Diamond Dollars Office, said all of the vendors along Cecil B. Moore Avenue have approached the office with an interest in using the campus currency at their locations.
It has been a long process, but Metro said they are getting closer to reaching an agreement.
It is not solely up to the Diamond Dollars Office to determine whether or not a vendor is allowed to use the campus currency.
“Since they are off-campus, there is some liability. We need to get a lot of different opinions before we can go ahead,” Metro said. “This is a unique situation, so we’re taking our time.”
Metro, along with Assistant Director Scott Brannan, will meet today with Associate Vice President of Business Services Rich Rumer. Brannan said he plans to present his research on off-campus dining facilities at other schools. These include Villanova University, the University of Pittsburgh and Penn State.
In the coming weeks, Rumer will present this information to the Executive Vice President of Business Services and members from University Counsel, Risk Management and Campus Safety.
Metro said he expects agreements to be reached within the next year, but said they will likely be made sooner.
“We expect this to happen in the near future and we would like to have it happen as soon as possible,” Metro said. “It’s better for the community and it’s better for the students.”
Brannan said he expects to have Diamond Dollars up and running at the eligible locations beginning this fall.
For John Athanasiadis, owner of City View Pizza, that would be a big step in the right direction.
City View is currently a sponsor of Temple Athletics. Its pizza is sold at events held at the Liacouras Center. The pizza is sold at stands that accept Diamond Dollars. But Athanasiadis said he hopes to have Diamond Dollars at his store’s location.
“We usually get five or six students a day asking to use Diamond Dollars. It would be much easier if we had them and I’m sure we’d have a tremendous increase in business,” Athanasiadis said.
Preferring the dining facilities on campus that accept Diamond Dollars, students said they sometimes skip over the ones that don’t accept them.
Junior Mike Kelly said he’d rather eat at Johnson and Hardwick Cafeteria or at the Student Center food court because it is more convenient.
“It would be nice to have that Diamond Dollars option at these restaurants. The old Dunkin’ Donuts [on Liacouras Walk] took Diamond Dollars, so I don’t understand why this one can’t,” Kelly said. “It would be nice to use my Diamond Dollars for pizza too.”
Melissa DiPento can be reached at email@example.com.