Last Friday Joanne Goldwater, Dean of Housing, announced through an all-student email that SMCM OneCard debit would be available for immediate usage at St. James Deli. The machine is now working again, after service was briefly disrupted earlier this week.
The new policy means that students can now use their OneCard debit—essentially electronically transferred cash money students can add to their OneCard through the Portal—to purchase any item at the deli with a simple swipe, barring alcohol and tobacco products. Coming on the heels of the recent Pub opening, the ability to use debit at St. James further expands students’ dining options beyond the Great Room and Upper Deck.
Located on the corner of Mattapany Road and Route 235, St. James Deli now belongs to the large group of merchants that already accept SMCM OneCard debit; among them, Cooks Liquors and Sheetz, both popular among students for their offering of late night eats and beverages.
Dave Thompson, who co-owns the deli with his wife Sherry and was at work behind the counter even while giving an interview, said the business partnership, though now legally codified in a formal contract, actually began a few years ago, with athletic teams, and later non-athletic clubs and organizations, requesting the Deli’s catering service.
Living in a relatively isolated area, students at the College have more limited access to off-campus goods and services than might those at larger, more urban campuses. Dana Cullison, from OneCard and Helpdesk Management at Campus Technology and Support Services (CTSS), defined finding affordable avenues around this seclusion as a main motivation for adding debit at St. James and an underlying goal of the OneCard E-Commerce program.
Sitting in her office behind the Helpdesk, which provides free technology support services to students on a walk-in basis, Cullison said adding debit to St. James was “just a matter of getting equipment, programming it, having them sign a contract.” This, however, was likely not such a simple process, since Hurricane Irene knocked out campus power and deprogrammed the debit machine at St. James, which had just been up and running.
Now that everything is in working fashion as of Wednesday, the new service is likely to be beneficial to both students and the St. James establishment. Speaking about the large percentage of his clientele that St. Mary’s students make up, Thompson commented, “you can tell when they come, and you can tell when they leave,” but the seasonal business reality that entails is less jocular. Thompson hopes the policy will bring more students in, looking for a sandwich.