Starting today through March 19, WSU undergraduate and graduate students can support local Pullman restaurants with $5 off their meal as the third Restaurant Week kicks off.
The first 50 undergraduate students and the first 50 graduate students each day will receive the discount. The discount does not apply to alcohol. ASWSU and GPSA host the event in partnership with various restaurants in the community, GPSA Programming Chair Rachel Wong said.
Restaurant Week started last year at the beginning of the pandemic because local restaurants were not getting a lot of business because of COVID-19 restrictions. Wong said GPSA had the funds to provide discounts for students and that the week was a way to encourage students to eat locally.
The first Restaurant Week only gave discounts to graduate students. However, the event expanded to include undergraduate students for the second and third Restaurant Weeks, she said.
“I worked with, like, five different restaurants, and it went pretty well,” Wong said. “One of the restaurants asked if we would be willing to include undergrads.”
Ten restaurants are participating this semester. Alex Pan, ASWSU director of community affairs, said he attends business association meetings for his job, which gave him the necessary relationships with restaurant owners to expand the event. Pan said restaurants involved with the first two Restaurant Week enjoyed participating.
ASWSU President Curtis Cohen said he was able to secure funding for undergraduate student discounts by working with the WSU Office of the President. The Office of the Provost and the Office of the President both donated about $2,500 to the event.
“President Kirk Schulz has been really on board with helping local businesses,” he said.
Pan said growing the event was a fun challenge and that it was nice to have restaurants who participated in previous semesters come back.
Some restaurant owners were initially hesitant last semester to join the event. However, after further explanation about the event’s goals and seeing the event take place, they decided to participate this semester, Pan said.
Pan said both businesses and students have been impacted by the pandemic. Since a lot of students have lost their jobs, the Restaurant Week team is happy to provide them with a more affordable way to eat while still supporting local businesses.
“Find a couple of friends or roommates and go out to eat,” he said. “Take advantage of the $5 off and, you know, help out a local business.”
Wong said she hopes Restaurant Week continues next year. Although she is graduating this spring, Wong said she wants to pass this event to her successor because it benefits everyone involved.