Student Health 101: Defender Dollars

Megan Kaiser – Staff Writer

Let’s paint a scene in which any Dordt student could potentially put him or herself. A student enters their junior year of college and no longer has a commons meal plan. They eats lunch and supper in the grille more than three times a week, and never keeps tabs on their account. In the second week of October they try buying a cheeseburger, but the grille worker informs them that they are all out of Defender dollars.

200 Defender dollars will only stretch so far in one semester. Eating lunch every other day in the grille plus all of the 8p.m. snacks from 55th will drain any student’s account, especially if one does not make a conscious effort to watch their spending.

“I feel strongly that the way people spend their defender dollars reflects the way people will spend their actual finances in adult years, though this may not apply to all resulting in the same correlation,” said junior Tayler Hoekstra. “I am usually a tight spender; however, understanding that those dollars needed to be spent, I somehow managed to come to exactly zero defender dollars on the last day of school.”

It can be a tough transition for those who drop their meal plan and start creating meals for themselves. Resorting to the Grille is an easier bet when one has an empty pantry.

“When you’re young you know how you are supposed to spend your money, but it’s difficult to discipline yourself. Sometimes I get a little happy and then it burns a hole in my pocket,” said senior Schuyler Carter.

The thing to look out for is to have healthy spending habits, even though the odds of a student running out of defender dollars and then paying out of actual pocket are very slim. Imagine if instead of using an ID card to pay for everything, we were given actual tangible money. A student would know exactly how much money he or she has left, because once the stack continues to decrease in size, their concern about how many grilled cheese combos they have left to purchase goes up.

“I think spending habits of any kind are perpetuated by the act of spending, whether that be spending actual cash at a store or in using Defender dollars to buy lattes. In either case, the monetary choices made, regardless of the type of currency available, indicate patterns of spending that I believe will carry on into post-graduate life, whether they are beneficial or not,” said sophomore Kristina Van Der Pol.

The creation of the coffee shop in the new science building may have a large impact on Dordt student’s accounts, depending on their level of awareness and responsibility.

“We have seen an increase of Defender Dollar use already this semester with the addition of the new Science Building coffee shop, so it will be interesting to see how students use their funds with this extra opportunity,” said business club member Katie Beekman.

Now with a place to get snacks at all points of campus, the temptation factor continues to rise.

It all comes down to being aware of what is in one’s bank account. Healthy spending both on and off campus could make for one satisfied college student. No one wants to eat SpaghettiO’s everyday, but no one wants to be out of Defender dollars by October either.


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