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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Northfield to accept Schillers

<r, five local merchants will be accepting Schillers as a form of payment. In addition to the Carleton and St. Olaf campuses, students can now use Schillers to grab a bite to eat at the Pan Pan Café, Chapati, or the Bittersweet Eatery, pick up some groceries at the Just Food Co-op, or purchase some clothing at Sister’s Ugly, a boutique in downtown Northfield.

“Schillers” is the Carleton term for money that a student can add to their OneCard account. In the past, Schillers have been accepted only at on-campus sites, such as the bookstore, the post office, the Cave, and Sayles-Hill Café, as well as in laundry machines and select vending machines. Schillers have been accepted on the St. Olaf campus for the past few years, but it wasn’t until 2009 that Campus Services began researching options to make Schillers usable for purchases in downtown Northfield.

“Our goal was to add value to our OneCard program for students, faculty and staff without adding additional Carleton staff to run the service,” explains Julia Burmesch, Director of Campus Services. Once the college had found a suitable business partner, Campus Services invited St. Olaf College to join forces as well. “Both colleges run their OneCard and Ole Card programs from the same software and services,” she says. “Initially, the Colleges planned to launch the software in time for the start of spring term 2011, but it took a bit longer to put everything in place.”

Burmesch also credits the Carleton Senate Association, which surveyed Carleton students to determine a list of local merchants where Carleton students wanted to redeem Schillers. After a similar survey of St. Olaf students, Carleton’s business partner, UGryd/Off Campus Programs, approached the owners of the businesses that turned up most frequently in the surveys. While most merchants on the list were receptive to the idea, “not all were ready to participate at the time,” she explains. However, five businesses agreed to sign for the launch of the program: Bittersweet Eatery, Chapati, Just Food Co-op, the Pan Pan Café, and Sisters Ugly.

Local merchants seem to appreciate the program as well. “A lot of our business during the school year comes from college students,” says Nicole Johnson, who has worked at the Pan Pan Café since it opened in 2010. She explains that students bring in a lot of businesses, but sometimes forget cash or debit cards when they’re in town. “Accepting Schillers will hopefully bring in more revenue,” she says.

This reasoning seems to resonate with students. “When I leave school, I forget sometimes that my OneCard doesn’t work like a credit card in town, so I’m glad that they’ll let us use OneCards now to buy things in town,” said Helen Strnad, ’14. “I don’t go out to eat very often, but when I do, I won’t be caught empty-handed.”

Matt Beck ’14 also appreciates the new program, but notes that few people use Schillers to make purchases. “Using Dining Dollars would be way more useful,” he noted.

Some students dispute the usefulness of the new program. “How many people in town are actually going to use it?” asked Jojo Schmidt ’13. She noted that most Carleton students don’t spend a lot of time in town anyways, and when they do, they use cash.

Still, many students—as well as Campus Services—have high hopes for the program. “Students should feel free to mention other local businesses [for which] they would like to redeem Schillers,” says Burmesch, “and I would be happy to put additional local business owners in contact with our business partner.” 

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