Bulldog Bucks aren’t just the lifeblood of the Gonzaga meal plan, but also a unique way for students to engage with the community surrounding them.
But how are these locations chosen? Pat Faulkinberry, director of Campus Card Services, said that Bulldog Bucks locations are chosen based on a survey conducted in the spring and she reaches out to the top 10-12 businesses that students are interested in. From there, places can accept the offer and begin taking Bulldog Bucks.
Since the Bulldog Bucks program began in 2014, students have spent $4.58 million at off-campus locations. This revenue not only helps local business, but includes them in the GU circle.
“They want to feel like they’re part of the community and having the ability to accept Bulldog Bucks certainly helps them feel like they are a part of that community,” Faulkinberry said.
Four new restaurants and eateries have recently joined the Bulldog Bucks system, including Arctos Coffee, Hello Sugar, Next Door Deli & Coffee Lounge and Tasty Bun. Many businesses are excited about joining the Bulldog Bucks system, like Tasty Bun, which is a new take on Chinese steamed “Bao” buns. The owner, Jeff Skaife, said he enjoys being part of GU and the relationships he creates through his business and its proximity to campus.
“I love when the kids are here, I mean, just getting to know them,” Skaife said. “I can’t even wait another week for the kids to come back.”
Locations like Tasty Bun exhibit the connection Bulldog Bucks create between the GU and Spokane communities.
In the coming year, Campus Card Services is working with two other “top secret” locations, and they’re looking to find a wider variety of services to be purchased with Bulldog Bucks.
“I’d like us to see more service-type locations whether that is getting your hair cut or that type of thing to participate,” said Faulkinberry. “Now that we kind of have some traction with the program, that is going to be our focus over the next year, is to find some of those types of businesses to come on board.”
Bulldog Bucks are accepted at a variety of locations around Spokane as well as here on campus. There are restrictions on what can and cannot be purchased using Bulldog Bucks. The full list can be found on the Zagcard terms and conditions page at gonzaga.edu/zagcard.
On Sept. 18 there is a vendor showcase in Hemmingson where 16 vendors from Spokane will be handing out samples, doing giveaways and getting to know students.
Zag Dining, the bookstore and the mailroom will be there as well.