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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    On-campus convenience costs more

    Students move through the food court of the Student Union Memorial Center. The Union offers students a variety of food for purchase, even if may be more expensive than off campus eats.
    Students move through the food court of the Student Union Memorial Center. The Union offers students a variety of food for purchase, even if may be more expensive than off campus eats.

    The Arizona Student Unions and the UA offer a variety of dining, shopping and service options that are conveniently located on campus, but some students choose to shop off campus for cheaper prices.

    “”I feel that overall, some places are less expensive and others are more expensive on campus,”” said Marian Mallow, a classics senior.

    Services offered at the Student Union Memorial Center include a post office, travel agency, hair salon, theater and bookstore, while outside of the SUMC, the UA has a recreation center and health clinic.

    The student unions also house several eateries that can be found off campus such as Papa John’s, McDonald’s and Panda Express, along with several places that are unique to the campus like On Deck Deli, IQ Fresh, 3 Cheeses and a Noodle and CafǸ Sonora.

    If students want to stay on campus to purchase grocery items, they can head to the

    U-Mart Convenience Store in the SUMC, the Highland Market or Park Avenue Market in the Park Student Union, but they could find themselves paying more for some items than they would at other grocery stores.

    In an on-campus grocery store, students can purchase a 15-ounce box of Cheerios cereal for $5.89, but students could save more than $5 by heading to Target near East Broadway Boulevard and North Dodge Boulevard, where two boxes of Cheerios costs $4.99.

    Mallory Yontz, a political science sophomore, said she used to shop at Highland Market because it was convenient and she didn’t have a car to go off campus with.

    “”When I lived on campus I would go to Highland Market for lot of little things every day, like milk and cereal,”” Yontz said.

    Jennifer Barclay, a pre-physiology senior, said she usually doesn’t shop for anything other than books on campus.

    “”I think the grocery store on campus is a bit overpriced,”” Barclay said.

    She said she usually shops at grocery stores, like Fry’s or Albertson’s, for her groceries.

    “”It’s closer to my house, cheaper and I get more savings if I become a member,”” Barclay said.

    Students could save more money when purchasing food on campus if they have a meal plan, said Nick Adamakis, the director of marketing for the Arizona Student Unions.

    If students have a Union meal plan, not only are they exempt from paying sales tax when they purchase food on campus, but they could also receive up to 10 percent off of their purchase, depending on which meal plan they have, Adamkis said.

    Bior Keech, a business economics senior, said the location of on-campus stores and restaurants have the benefit of convenience for students.

    “”If you are very busy, then it’s easy to just shop on campus,”” Keech said.

    Some students have also found they can save money by buying their books from online businesses, rather than the student union or other bookstores.

    For instance, the UofA Bookstore offers a new copy of “”The World of Psychology,”” required reading for some of The Structure of Mind and Behavior INDV 101 classes, for $93.50, but the same book is available new for $43 and used for $23.30 online through

    Students might also appreciate skipping long lines at bookstores, although buying online may also require shipping and handling charges.

    “”I shop at the unions as little as humanly possible. Sometimes I get books there if I can’t find them online, because it is generally overpriced. I can get a better deal elsewhere,”” said Tim Spriggs, a computer engineering senior.

    Spriggs also said he doesn’t like shopping at the student union because many businesses there don’t accept credit cards.

    “”It is hard for me to shop at places that don’t accept credit cards. I would have to pay $2.50 in ATM fees, plus the union overhead,”” Spriggs said.

    Barclay also said she chooses to shop off campus for her class supplies.

    “”I get my school supplies at Target and Walgreens because it’s cheaper,”” Barclay said.

    Other UA services offer a clear savings on students’ wallets when compared to off-campus options.

    For example, the Student Recreation Center offers students a semester fitness pass for $75, which includes unlimited access to all the Rec Center’s fitness classes, but a membership that includes fitness classes at World Gym, 1240 N. Stone Ave., costs $65 per month with a $95 enrollment fee.

    The SUMC also offers some cheaper entertainment options for students than off-campus businesses.

    Gallagher Theater charges $3 for their feature films every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, while an adult movie ticket at Century El Con 20, 3601 E. Broadway Blvd., is $8.75.

    But the movie-going experiences of the two theaters aren’t exactly equal, said Alana Thomas, a molecular and cellular biology senior.

    “”The movies are cheap, but the seats are uncomfortable and there are long lines,”” Thomas said.

    The games room in Wilbur’s Underground in the SUMC also offers students cheap entertainment.

    Students can rent out the equipment to play pool or ping-pong for $4 an hour among an array of arcade and video games.

    At first glance some of the prices for on-campus products and services may appear steep, but there are some additional costs that factor into shopping off campus for students living on campus, like transportation.

    Getting off campus to shop may mean having to keep a car on campus, which includes additional parking permit, insurance and gas costs for students.

    But walking, catching a bus or getting a ride with a friend are a few options for students who want to make their way off campus to shop.

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