The URos program, which allows campus dollars to be spent at off-campus restaurants and retailers, should be expanded to more locations sooner rather than later.
Of the original seven locations, only Aja Noodles no longer accepts URos due to lack of student interest. Because of this failure and a careful consideration not to dilute the value of URos by over-expanding, Director of Dining and Auxiliary Services Cam Schauf has decided to wait for Brooks Landing locations to open before expanding the program. However, URos have generally been popular among students, and the program should continue to connect students with the city of Rochester, as well as expand to sponsor more non-retail locations.
The five locations on Mt. Hope Avenue, within walking distance of the UR Medical Center and biking distance of River Campus, have had continued success. Expanding to other businesses on this road would draw even more students. Popular eateries such as Mykonos Express, Bruegger’s Bagels, Pontillo’s Pizzeria and On The Rocks would all attract more students if they accepted URos. Retailers such as the Greek supplies outlet Fraternity Row would also gain popularity.
While it is less economically viable to expand to locations farther away from campus, some partnerships would benefit both parties and encourage students to explore the city. Downtown Rochester offers plenty of attractions, such as the Blue Cross Arena, the Strong Museum of Play and the Downstairs Cabaret Theatre. Student groups often organize trips to these places to encourage undergraduates to take advantage of the city’s vibrant community, and adding URos to the equation should increase interest and promote individual exploration. A supermarket, such as Wegmans, would also be an ideal choice, though admittedly more difficult to orchestrate.
Schauf has said that he is not ruling out businesses that approach him. The Students’ Association Projects and Services Committee should continue to solicit interest from these locations and work to incorporate them into the program this semester.