UT, combine Bevo Pay and Dine In Dollars

Nadely Requena, Columnist

A couple weeks ago, I realized I had an outstanding amount of Dine In Dollars in my account. I frantically started to think of ways to spend the money without it going to waste. While asking other people for suggestions, I realized I wasn’t the only one in this situation. 

For students living on-campus, housing payment consists of room, board and an unlimited meal plan, which includes Bevo Pay and Dine In Dollars. 

Dine In Dollars were designed to be spent at on-campus locations, while Bevo Pay allows students to use Bevo Pay at off-campus locations. Each semester, students with the unlimited meal plan can spend $300 in Dine In Dollars and $100 in Bevo Pay. Unused Dine In Dollars go back to the University, while Bevo Pay stays with students until they graduate. 

UT should combine Bevo Pay and Dine In Dollars into one cashless payment system. That way, students would no longer be limited as to where they can spend their money if one account runs out.

Anthropology and sociology freshman Faith Birch touched on her struggles with using all of her Dine In Dollars because she typically eats in locations where only Bevo Pay is allowed. 

“Last semester, I had a lot of Dine In Dollars, and so at the end of the semester I just bought all of these random things from (Kins Market) that I didn’t necessarily want or would have bought with my own money,” Birch said. “I was essentially forced to do that or that money was going to be taken away from me.”

The constraints on a student’s ability to choose where they want to spend their money is an issue many students deal with. 

Physics freshman Mihir Bendre spoke on how limited he feels when using his Dine In Dollars. 

“The problem with Dine In Dollars is that there’s only like five options where I can (use them) on campus and it gets pretty repetitive,” Bendre said. “I end up just going back to the dining hall … I wish that Dine In Dollars were extended to more places … I wish the concept of Bevo (Pay) and Dine In Dollars were just combined … instead of having five restaurants (to use my Dine In Dollars at) … I would have like 25 or 30 different options (if the payment methods were combined).” 

UT should combine the systems to give students more freedom to choose where they want to spend their money. 

Josue Rodriguez, assistant director of marketing and communications for University Housing and Dining, shared UT’s reasoning for having Dine In Dollars and Bevo Pay into two separate systems.

“We don’t transfer Dine InDollars into Bevo Pay or refund Dine In Dollars, as our financial model is that we budget and plan to prepare to serve all residents every day,” Rodriguez said. ‘Bevo (Pay is) separate since those funds are not used exclusively in our dining locations … We try our best to educate on what locations accept (Bevo Pay and Dine In Dollars). At the end of the day, it’s the responsibility of the students to use their funds accordingly.”

Rodriguez went on to say the funds left over in students’ accounts are spent on dining operations, such as food, staff and utilities. 

Students are constantly assured they are taken into consideration when making decisions, but UT’s reason for separating the two payment methods proves otherwise. This system has resulted in students’ money, which rightfully belongs to them, being taken away to fund University operations. 

UT should combine Bevo Pay and Dine In Dollars to allow students to spend their money without feeling restricted or having to spend on unnecessary goods out of the fear that their own money is going to disappear. 

Requena is an environmental science first-year from Houston, TX

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this column incorrectly referenced Bevo Pay as Bevo Bucks. The Texan regrets this error.