Loyola’s Office of the Bursar announced in a March 13 email to students changing its dining dollar policy due to the early vacating of campus in response to the coronavirus outbreak — but not before Loyola students wiped out on-campus shops in an effort to spend their remaining money.
In late February, Loyola directed students to leave the John Felice Rome Center (JFRC) by March 4. Shortly after this decision was made, the university had to deal with the virus at home when a student came into contact with another individual who was being tested for COVID-19 and was placed in isolation on campus, The Phoenix reported.
Loyola will allow dining dollars to be credited to student account balances, according to Anna Rozenich, a Loyola spokesperson. Refunds will be given if the credit is greater than the balance and the university “will reconcile those amounts with more communication” for seniors and those not returning to Loyola. These plans are in response to the coronavirus situation and won’t apply to next year, Rozenich said.
After students were told classes would be online and dorms would be vacated, they cleared the shelves of Simpson Living-Learning Center’s Provisions On Demand (POD) Express and Damen Food Court — Lake Shore Campus’ convenience stores.
Students carrying display boxes of candy and others with wagons full of snack foods and drinks were a common sight as the shelves were wiped clean by students under the impression they had to spend all of their dining dollars before they expired.
Yuki Thit, a sophomore neuroscience major, discovered the news of the university ending face-to-face instruction and vacating the dorms over social media before going to POD Express Thursday morning to spend the rest of her dining dollars.
“I woke up and it was all over Snapchat” Thit, 19, said. “But I had like 170-something [dining dollars] left so I just spent 170.”
Salah Aldean Jaradat, a senior studying biophysics, filled several boxes with essentials from Damen Food Court.
“I walked into Damen and saw everybody buying stuff and figured, ‘Why not?’” Jaradat, 22, said. “I have to waste my dining dollars and what better way to do it than buying the stuff you need like toilet paper and paper towels.”
Adam Banlasan, a junior studying biology, made two trips to Damen Food Court to use up what remained of his dining dollars in order to stock up on supplies.
“I’m stocking up for the long term,” Banlasan, 20, said. “Obviously [COVID-19] is going to spread far beyond the city. The biggest concern at this point isn’t the disease itself but how people will react to it.”
Aramark employees at Damen Food Court and POD Express couldn’t be reached for comment.
Correction: JFRC students were told to return to the U.S. by March 4, not March 14.
A previous version of this article said dining dollars would roll over to next semester. They will not roll over, but they will be credited to the student account balance. We regret the error.