RDA could be used at off-campus locations

Change would allow CougarCard purchases at Pullman restaurants



Sean Greene, director of facilities and operations for dining and housing, discusses using RDA off-campus Tuesday in Southside Dining Hall.

KYLE MOEN, Evergreen reporter

WSU may update its RDA program to allow students to use the money at more places on campus and around Pullman.

Right now, RDA is only available at the dining halls, select on-campus markets and some chain dining options like Starbucks and Freshens.

ASWSU Vice President Tyler Parchem spoke on the matter at the Ask ASWSU event Thursday.

The new plan would allow students to use their RDA money at restaurants off campus, he said.

The possible change to the RDA plan would give students more options in terms of health, be more cost effective and give students more of a choice when it comes to what they eat, Parchem said.

“Food insecurity is something that’s really rampant on college campuses,” he said.

Parchem said the possible RDA expansion is still in the early stages, but his plan is to make RDA more affordable and efficient for students.

He said he has been working with the Cougar Card Center to add resources to the back of Cougar Cards and to make Cougar Cash and RDA payment options possible in new places on campus and downtown.

Cougar Cash is going to be hard to expand on because it is overseen by Visa, he said, and they have control over how Cougar Cash is used.

Cougar Cash was available at places off campus around 10 years ago, but once WSU started the CougarCard Maxx, the places that accepted Cougar Cash were reduced, said Sean Greene, the director of facilities and operations for dining and housing.

Greene said if RDA were to be expanded it would have a negative effect on the dining halls on campus.

“It’s not set up to go off campus,” Greene said. “Right now the dining plan is set up to support on-campus dining. There would be a massive financial switch or we’d have to work through a massive financial plan to be able to extend that to other vendors.”

Greene said dining is a self-sustaining operation and if RDA were to move off-campus it would not be getting the money that would be spent at other places.

Parchem said he reached out to Gonzaga University to see how its student dining plan works and plans to talk to student dining services at other universities.