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Spending declining points that overstay their welcome

It’s that time of year again. No, not Christmas – the time to have an abundance of declining points.

It happens to even the best, most prepared students.

Unfortunately, because they are part of the meal plan program, declining points aren’t actually considered cash – even though your wallet may disagree. The points don’t roll over, and when the end of the semester comes around, they’ll disappear forever.

“Bruin Bucks are paid dollar for dollar, and the declining points are kind of like a meal substitute,” said Keith Chapman, the managing director of Auxiliary Services. “That’s the reason that they’re handled differently.”

Channeling the spirit of the season, many students with extra declining points at the semester’s end find themselves feeling generous toward their friends, teachers and anyone else they happen to pass.

“I mean, you can only eat so much Chick-fil-A and McAlister’s, so I’ve been going to the Corner Court and buying sandwiches and loading up on stuff I can have in my dorm after break,” said junior David Hope. “And then, if anyone’s behind me, I just buy them coffee or whatever they have, just because.”

If there’s a need for ideas to spend a large amount of points, here are some options students may want to entertain:

Buy enough crackers to supply every holiday cheese platter in the upcoming month.

If cookies are more your style, buy a $7 package of Oreos or Nutter Butter cookies from the Corner Court. For even more efficient point spending, purchase individually-wrapped Mrs. FIeld’s cookies. There are plenty of flavors to choose from.

Your professors would probably really appreciate a cup of coffee. Finals, papers and projects are due pretty soon, after all.

Buy some ice cream pints from the Corner Court. Whether to celebrate or drown your sorrows, ice cream and a movie can solve a lot of problems.

On a more serious note, think about donating shelf-stable products to a food bank or a shelter. In years past, Sodexo has placed donation boxes inside the coffee shops. Even if they don’t appear this year, the option is still available as many local organizations are collecting canned goods and non-perishables until Christmas.

So don’t fret, Belmont. You are not alone. Others have been in your position, and more will be in the same place in the future. It’s just about being creative – or really hungry.

“I’ve seen students be very creative with their declining points,” Chapman said. “And they should be.”

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