Huskie Bucks can’t beat cash, some say

By Linda Luk

Since they were created in August 1998, Huskie Bucks accounts have appealed to a limited number of students and faculty.

Available to the entire NIU community, Huskie Bucks are accessed through the NIU OneCard, which acts as a prepaid debit card that can be used for food purchases at the Holmes Student Center, the residence halls, Harold’s Chicken, the Hot Spot and Subway. They also can be used in residence hall laundry machines.

But despite the many places they can be used, Huskie Bucks mainly appeal to students who live in the residence halls.

“I only use it for laundry,” said Dan McCoy, a freshman business administration major.

Before the Huskie Bucks system, the laundry machines required tokens.

“The tokens were costly and inconvenient,” said Kathe Shinham, associate vice president of Finance and Facilities. “The washer and the dryer were old and costly to fix. So we hired a company to buy new machines and repainted. Now we have a completely electronic system that is more secure and easier for students.”Shinham said last year, students spent about $225,000 on laundry and $175,000 on food and beverages.

Mark Kaufman, a sophomore industrial technology major, feels the Bucks’ uses are limited.

“Huskie Bucks for laundry is OK, better than using coins or quarters,” Kaufman said. “But sometimes it is inconvenient when you have to go to the stores to make deposits.”

Huskie Bucks also are popular in various residence hall stores, including The Annex in Lincoln Hall, The Corner in Stevenson Towers and The Trident in Neptune Central.

“I use them for laundry and food,” said Bob Manzano, a freshman physical therapy major. “It can be convenient around the end of the week. When I run out of Dining Dollars, I can use Huskie Bucks at the local places.”

Students who live in apartments or townhouses around campus often don’t buy Huskie Bucks.

“When I was in the dorm, I usually took my laundry home and Dining Dollars were good enough for food,” said Dale Daguro, a junior computer science major. “[Huskie Bucks] are pretty limited and it wasn’t really necessary.”

Sophomore marketing major John Bautista doesn’t think it’s worth his time to get Huskie Bucks.

“I have no money to put in it,” Bautista said. “I’d rather spend cash.”

OneCard employees find Huskie Bucks beneficial.

“I use it regularly, especially during student orientation when I spend a lot of time at the Holmes Student Center,” said Tamara Farley, director of treasury operations for NIU OneCard ID services.

NIU Huskie Bucks can be purchased at the NIU OneCard ID center in the Holmes Student Center next to TCF Bank. They also can be purchased at the various residence hall convenience stores, with a $25 minimum deposit.