Many Week of Welcome (WOW) leaders have voiced their anger about Plu$ Dollars earned during WOW inexplicably vanishing from their PolyCards on Sept. 20, and many can’t explain why or how this happened.
Aerospace engineering senior and WOW leader Jason Bertels said that the case of the vanishing Plu$ Dollars came as a surprise to himself and fellow WOW leaders.
“It was my understanding, and the understanding of a lot of other WOW leaders — and by a lot I mean probably a majority — that we would have those Plu$ Dollars throughout the quarter,” Bertels said. “So we all kind of conserved them.”
At the beginning of the week, WOW leaders were told they were going to receive an additional $71.45 each to cover their eating expenses on Monday and Tuesday, which were not considered days of WOW. This money was taken off of their PolyCards at the end of the week without notification.
“If they had just said, ‘Make sure you spend them before they run out,’ I would have a bunch of orange juice sitting in my refrigerator,” Bertels said.
Assistant Director of Student Life and Leadership and Director of Orientation Programs Andrene Kaiwi-Lenting said the additional Plu$ Dollars were given to WOW leaders without much explanation.
“They were not told that,” Kaiwi-Lenting said. “And part of that had to do with not really clearly understanding on my part. I learned on Monday morning when campus dining reminded me. Leaders were not given that clear instruction: use it this week only.”
Kaiwi-Lenting and Assistant Coordinator of Student Life and Leadership Jason Mockford said the reason Student Life and Leadership did not clearly explain this was because it was a last minute thing. They wanted to give WOW leaders the extra Plu$ dollars because they were all on campus two days before WOW officially began.
If they had more time to plan accordingly they would have done it differently, Mockford said.
“Our ideal situation is we just get the meal plan for the week.” Mockford said.
This was not an option because the places open during the week, such as Backstage Pizza, Starbucks and Campus Market, only accept Plu$ Dollars, not meals.
“This was just literally that-day problem solving,” Mockford said.
The addition of Plu$ Dollars was put together through a joint effort by Student Life and Leadership and the Cal Poly Corporation.
The contract says, “Plu$ Dollar Program — Plu$ dollars for Orientation Leaders (OL’s), Monday Breakfast, Sept. 13 through Wednesday Lunch, Sept. 15; Unused Plu$ Dollars are non-refundable and are forfeited at the end of the contract period.”
Although it is stated in the contract, few — if any — WOW leaders knew what it said, and Kaiwi-Lenting and Mockford were not clear on its language with such short notice.
“It came together literally the day that the leaders arrived,” Mockford said.
Student Life and Leadership and the Cal Poly Corporation want students who participated in WOW to know that it was a result of a misunderstanding and the hectic atmosphere that comes with WOW.
“It’s crazy,” Marketing and Public Relations Manager for the Cal Poly Corporation Yukie Nishinaga said. “It’s a crazy five days of your life. You’re working all day every day taking care of these wowies. And it’s hard; it gets chaotic. Us taking the money away, it was based on the contract, that’s just how it worked out.”
Looking ahead, the money will not be reimbursed to WOW leaders and the contract will be upheld.
However, both Student Life and Leadership and the Cal Poly Corporation want the WOW leaders to be happy and apologize for any confusion.
“It’s a bummer that people are upset by it because it wasn’t intended to be a mean thing,” Nishinaga said. “It’s a misunderstanding.”