For most students, daily transactions take place on campus and rely on the mere swipe of their UR ID. Because of such ID-centric purchasing on campus, some students don’t carry cash, credit cards, or debit cards, making off-campus businesses that accept URos in addition to typical forms of payment seem like beacons of convenience.

Unfortunately, only a handful of storefronts in the city actually utilize this program. In part, this is because accepting URos is only advantageous for a specific type of enterprise, but more importantly it’s because there is no widely accessible method for students to request businesses they’d like to see added to the program.

According to Director of Dining Services Cam Schauf, the ideal URos participant is a business that is both within walking distance of campus and that already receives a high volume of student consumers.

If UR Dining were able to easily find out directly from students which businesses fit this bill, adding them to the program would be more efficient and would increase the efficacy of off-campus URos.

Similarly to credit card machines, businesses that wish to participate in the URos program can either buy or rent a card reader from a third party. For every purchase made with URos, the business pays a fee of no more than eight percent, which is split between the University and the third party vendor that administers the card readers.

Under the current system, a representative might go to pitch the URos program to businesses that Dining thinks will be successful in the program. In some cases, businesses hear about the program and contact Dining on their own. There are, however, a number of places that fit Schauf’s criteria for the potential to successfully utilize URos — those that are in the vicinity of campus and that students frequent — but that do not currently accept them. Without a clear way for students to provide insight on where they would like to see URos accepted, suggestions are left to the personal gumption of a handful of students who go out of their way to directly email their opinions to Dining.

Not all business that are within walking distance of campus and that also see a high volume of student consumers are cut out to accept URos, though, such as Boulder Coffee Co., for which losing eight percent of the profits on a cup of $1.60 coffee is substantial. But for local businesses that would be financially able to participate, Dining needs a more official and widely advertised system of incorporating them into the program — a system in which students could participate in more actively.

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