Queen’s Hospitality Services’ (QHS) food locations no longer accept cash.
Sept. 1, retail and dining locations across campus stopped taking cash while implementing a new policy expanding electronic payment options to include credit cards. The new policy affected popular on-campus locations such as Leonard and Ban Righ Dining Halls, Booster Juice, Pita Pit, and others. The change won’t affect West Campus food options.
According to QHS, the decision was intended to be more hygienic and provide a better customer experience. QHS claimed it will reduce administrative oversight and potential risks associated with storing cash on campus.
For Dennis Liu, HealthSci ’25, the move away from cash represented a positive trend.
“It just makes everyone’s lives a lot easier and more streamlined,” Liu said in an interview with The Journal. “If I do get food on campus, it’s usually through the mobile ordering app. Everything is already cashless for me.”
Pete Watson, ArtSci ’27, said the change doesn’t impact him significantly, considering most first-years use QHS every day.
“I think it’s fine. I didn’t bring a lot of cash with me here […] Not a lot of people carry [it],” Watson said in an interview with The Journal.
Part of the decision to go cashless included inviting faculty, students, and staff to participate in consultations during the spring of 2023. For some of consultees, such as Andy Stokes-Noonan, ArtSci ‘23, the decision to go cashless was an unnecessary inconvenience.
“I forget a lot of things. Sometimes it’s all of my belongings and my wallet. But I always have cash in my bag. That might be an issue in the future,” Stokes-Noonan said in an interview with The Journal. “It makes things more complicated for students who might not be using cards.”
For students, faculty, staff, or visitors with limited access to traditional banks—approximately 15 per cent of Canadians according to Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now Canada—QHS suggested purchasing Flex Dollars either online or in person at the Hospitality Services office in Victoria Hall.
Flex dollars are an electronic currency used at Queen’s University to purchase food and beverages on campus.
Despite the QHS change, there are several popular on-campus locations which continue to accept cash.
Head Manager of Common Ground Coffeehouse (CoGro) Phallon Melmer, ArtSci ’22, wondered how long this will be the case.
“I’m surprised AMS services haven’t made that switch to being cashless,” Melmer said in an interview with The Journal. “I’m sure that will happen in the near future, just following suit with what Queen’s is doing.”
Melmer’s anticipation of a cashless campus doesn’t mean she endorses the move. While cash accounts for less transactions at CoGro now than prior to COVID-19, it makes the campus more accessible.
“I hope CoGro can use cash for as long as possible, because a really big part of our mandate is making our service accessible,” Melmer said. “As long as CoGro can offer cash, we will offer cash.”
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