College kids cut ties with cafeteria cuisine
HAWAII PACIFIC University now has a meal plan through Massachusetts-based OCMP International LLC.
OCMP, short for Off-Campus Meal Plan, is also being used by hundreds of students at Remington College, Chaminade University and the University of Hawaii.
While the latter two offer on-campus meal plans, the OCMP card can be a supplement for students who want to eat off-campus, at one of 38 participating restaurants. They include Fort Street Cafe, Great Harvest Bread Co., Leo's Taverna and multiple locations of Big City Diner, Heidi's, Jamba Juice, Ono Cheese Steak and Papa John's Pizza.
So, why not just set the kid up with a bank account and debit card?
"Let me tell you about that from my own life," said Michael Hauke, marketing director for OCMP.
His mother sent him off to school with a $200 checking account that was supposed to last awhile.
Three days into the semester, he called her and said, "Mom I need more money, I spent it all. I was very hungry."
After asking her son if he thought she was stupid, she bought him an OCMP card.
"You can't spend it on alcohol -- not that I was doing that -- you can't spend it on clothing or movies," Hauke said. Each of his co-workers were OCMP cardholders in college, he said.
His mother felt better on a few levels and was happy he was not just chowing down on "mac and cheese in the dorm," he said.
OCMP options range from a supplemental plan of two to three meals a week, or 35 total meals for $262.40, to 21 meals a week for the semester, a total of 294 meals for $2,014.55.
OCMP charges the same rates for its meal plans in most other markets, but prices and the numbers of meals are lower in Oregon, where a trimester schedule is in effect.
Meals can be added to the OCMP card at any time.
At the eateries, students enter a personal identification code and may need to present a student ID for verification purposes. However, the card is also popular with faculty members and others in the "college community," Hauke said.
The company first did business in Amherst, Mass., 12 years ago when the town was economically depressed. The flow of OCMP card-bearing students into its eateries "revitalized the town," he said. The company now does business with more than 52 colleges and universities across the country.
OCMP negotiates deals with restaurants of the students' choosing, such as those selected in a poll of HPU students. Restaurants often work hard to market themselves to students, by passing out fliers in dorms and the like, hoping for a return on the efforts.
"The benefit to the restaurant is, it's not a guessing game," Hauke said.
Students are going to visit participating restaurants, which can post menus, special deals and URLs on the OCMP Web site. OCMP insists a restaurant be at least six months old and meet its standards before being considered for inclusion.
OCMP will soon add online ordering for delivery or pickup to its Web site, Hauke said.
Showing 'em the money
American Savings Bank
has expanded its college scholarship program with a significant increase in funding as well as paid internship opportunities.
This year's three recipients will receive multiyear scholarships of $5,000 per year for a maximum four years and $20,000. Previously, nonrenewable $3,000 scholarships were awarded to multiple recipients.
An internship with pay of about $10 an hour will be available to students in their junior or senior year.
The program was beefed up, "so we could be more of an active participant in the education of our future generation," said Anna Marie Springer, ASB senior vice president and community liaison.
This year's recipients are Janice Nguyen, 26, who plans to earn a master's degree in finance from Hawaii Pacific University; Xiaomeng Hu, 18, who will major in finance at the University of Pennsylvania; and Janelle Fukumoto, 21, also a finance major at the University of Pennsylvania.
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