Feb 192003
Authors: Jana Gurkin

Thanks to Quokka meal plan cards, students at CSU are now able to eat out at their favorite restaurants instead of relying on residence hall food or Ramen noodles to fill their stomachs.

Quokka cards are a new off-campus meal plan for all students in the Fort Collins area. The cards work like any other meal plan – students pick the plan that’s right for them, and then don’t have to rely on having enough change in their pockets to afford something to eat when they’re hungry. The balance stays on the card, and after a meal, the money is deducted from the card.

“Our meal plans are designed to replace or complement your university meal plan or your home ‘cooking,'” according to their website. Some of the advantages of the Quokka plans is students get to choose what they want to eat, whenever they’re hungry, not during specific hours only, and get to eat at their favorite places, said Ryan Delaney, creator of Quokka.

The plans work well from both parents’ and college students’ perspectives. From the college kid’s point of view, most of the time, said Delaney, parents pay for the meal plans, so the students don’t have to look under the couch for change whenever they want to go out to eat.

“They should definitely advertise more, because I know lots of people who would take advantage of it,” said Eleanor Brammer, a sophomore nutrition and dietetics major.

From the parent’s point of view, they’ll know that their child is taken care of as far as meals are concerned, and may also find piece of mind in knowing that their child won’t be spending the money on alcohol, according to Delaney. Quokka cards can be used for any type of foods and beverages at the specified locations, except for alcoholic drinks. Delaney said this may help many parents feel more confident that they know where their money is going and that it is going towards something their student needs.

Another advantage of the plans is they can help students living on their own to better budget their money, since college students often have to pay for many essentials like food, housing and other items.

The meal plans are all based on a 16-week semester, and the plans, which all vary in the amount of meals per week, are all based on the idea that each meal will average around $6.00. If the student only spends a few bucks instead of around six dollars, the money stays on the card for next time, said Delaney. If there is a balance left on the card at the end of a semester, the money will stay on the card so it can be used in the future.

Quokka offers six different meal plans, ranging from “The Full Monty,” which allows for 19 meals per week, down to the “Occasional,” which is only intended for three meals per week. The plans also have special deals such as the Restaurant of the Week, where the student will get 10 percent off when they use their Quokka card.

This program is potentially good for students in sororities and fraternities, where meals are usually not served on the weekends.

“As a member of a sorority, I feel that this is a great way for Greeks to have meals on the weekends,” said Ashleigh Sherer, a sophomore political science major.

There are currently 17 restaurants that accept the Quokka card. They include: C.B. & Potts, Consuelo’s, Java Plaza, Mama Roni’s Pizza, Pudge Bros. Pizza, Rasta Pasta, Rocky Mountain Bagel Works, Silver Grill Caf/, Summit Subs, Chubby’z, Wired Bean, Yum Yum, and new additions such as Sullivan’s, Thai Pepper and Surfside 7. Qdoba is also very interested in joining with the Quokka meal plan, reported Delaney.

The idea was to incorporate many different types of cuisine to “accommodate as many tastes as possible,” Delaney said.

“It seems like a great idea. They seem to have a really good selection of restaurants for college students,” said Megan Wilson, a senior biology major.

The plan for Quokka originated some time ago, but the plans themselves were available to students at CSU, Front Range Community College and others in the Fort Collins area at the beginning of this semester. At the time when the cards were first available to students, there were only nine restaurants and locations that the card included. Delaney said there was a huge demand almost immediately for even more restaurants, so Quokka has been incorporating more and more since that time.

In fact, now that many more locations have been added to meet students’ needs for food, the Quokka plans are hoping to soon include some locations of laundromats and possibly even grocery stores.

The Rams Bookstore recently became a part of the Quokka plan as well. The idea, again, is to help students budget their money, and by having their expenses covered all on one card, parents may feel more secure by not having to write large checks for student costs such as textbooks. Plans will be created for the students to estimate how much their textbooks for classes will cost them, and then they can decide on their meals per week. The combined plans will allow the parents to write one larger check for the plan and then the money will be there for the students when they need it.

Those interested in signing up for a meal plan can sign up on-line, or through a phone call or fax. For more information, pick up a brochure from any of the restaurants that accept Quokka meal plans. Also, check out the Quokka website, at www.quokkacard.com.

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