I’m usually critical of the Vanderbilt administration on this weblog, but today I can report some good news: the Dining monopoly appears to be nearing an end. Dining has initiated a pilot program for 300 students to use their Vandy Cards at several off campus establishments. Assuming it goes well, Dining hopes to extend the option even further.
Vandy’s dining monopoly was always one of my pet issues as a student and I’m glad to see change finally in the works. For years, the university dining services have been insulated from competion by Vandy’s debit card. The card could only be used on campus and it took about two weeks to withdraw one’s funds. This gave Dining a huge advantage over the many local competitors with whom students had to use cash or credit. Predictably, this allowed Dining to get away with lower quality food than would be acceptable at restaurants located just a couple blocks away.
Praise to Frank Gladu for implementing this change. The competition will give students more options and spur improvements in Vanderbilt’s eateries. It’s a good decision all around.