By Lauren Dunlop
Students who attend Fitchburg State University know how much they must depend on their OneCard. These cards serve as a student’s identification and give them access to their rooms, certain academic buildings, the dining hall, as well as the rec center. OneCards are also used for payments and book rentals. It’s obvious these student IDs are valuable on campus – however, many students don’t realize how handy their cards can be off campus as well!
Due to Dunkin’ Donuts’ close proximity to campus, many students are aware of the OneCard discount. Students can choose between a 5 percent discount off their order or a free doughnut. Since 5 percent isn’t much, especially off a $2 coffee, many students ignore their discount and pay full price. This almost pointless discount seems to set the precedent for OneCard discounts, and so most students have never even looked into what their cards can get them.
Teresa Cortes, a senior at Fitchburg State University, has researched and utilized OneCard deals, and is just now realizing how great they can be. “I wish I knew about these as a freshman,” Cortes exclaims. “I could’ve saved so much money!”
Local entertainment like the Fitchburg Art Museum and Putnam Street Lanes are happy to offer discounts to students. “The Fitchburg Art museum is free to students, but I only knew that because I went there for a class,” Cortes points out. “I feel like many students have no clue about it just because they aren’t in artistic majors.” Something else she discovered is that both students and faculty of the university get free shoe rentals at Putnam Street Lanes. “A lot of people don’t know this, but Putnam Street Lanes is the oldest candle-pin bowling center in the country,” she adds.
Some local businesses even participate in these OneCard deals, including individual vendors. At the Fitchburg Farmer’s Market, select vendors accept student IDs for discounts, per their discretion. Hollis Hills Farm, another local business, offers 20 percent off your purchase.
Many businesses and vendors offer discounts that many students would never even think of. For instance, students are able to ride the MART bus anywhere in Fitchburg and Leominster for free. This could be beneficial for any student who doesn’t own a car or cannot keep a car on campus. Another unexpected company that participates in OneCard deals is Verizon Wireless in Lunenburg. Verizon will offer 10 percent off phones and 25 percent off accessories. Many students use Verizon, and anyone can utilize the discount on accessories. Even some salons will even offer a discount on massages or nail appointments.
“In my opinion, the Ixtapa discount is the best OneCard discount offered,” Cortes said. “You get 20 percent off all of your food. Though alcohol isn’t included, it’s a great deal for such a popular restaurant.” This is another discount Cortes was not aware of until her senior year. She recalls, “I was walking out the front door on my way out of the restaurant and I saw a OneCard sticker on their door. I looked it up on the Fitchburg State website and saw that they offer 20 percent off. I wish I had seen it before I ate, but it’ll be great for next time I go.”
Because of this instance, Cortes realized she could view all the places that would accept a OneCard, something she’d never looked at, on the website. Under “Offices & Services,” students can click “OneCard Office,” scroll to the bottom of the page, and select “OneCard Discount Program” to view every merchant that will provide a university discount or accept Gold funds as a form of payment.
“Students don’t tend to think about the benefits they could receive off campus, but the university should make this information more public,” Cortes explains. “There’s no point in having these benefits if they go unused.” She urges students to check out the OneCard office page on the Fitchburg State website and start saving money as soon as possible. “As college students,” says Cortes, “we need discounts wherever we can get them!”