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SG revamps Bull’s Country, expands student discounts at local businesses

With the relaunch of Bull’s Country, there will be 26 restaurants that will grant USF students discounts on food items. 

Student Government (SG) reinvented Bull’s Country, a program in which local businesses offer USF students discounts. The relaunch is aimed at people who are searching for healthy options, looking for a meal to bring one close to home or trying to subside a craving.

During the first week of May, a banner in the Marshall Student Center (MSC) will announce the full list of restaurants who will be a part of Bulls Country. Depending on the partnered restaurant, discounts will be 10 or 15 percent off specific days of the week. 

Between the fluctuation of previous administrations, Bull’s Country was not a high priority. This year, student body president and vice president, Moneer Kheireddine and Shaquille Kent, and director of partnerships, Sierra Francis, decided it was an appropriate initiative to take on to redesign a broader approach by implementing healthier options and restaurants with nutritional value since previous options that provided discounts were mostly pizza and fast food joints.  

Some of the franchise partnerships are Jason’s Deli, Jimmy John’s, Perkins and Which Wich, but most of the restaurants consist of local businesses and culture-based cuisines because it was an important component in the relaunch of Bull’s Country according to Francis.

“We have a huge international population here and I am a big person on food so for me if I could have something that is similar to back home, that would help me feel more assimilated and comfortable with the culture shock,” Francis said.

The culture inclusive restaurants that were certain for approval were Chewy Boba, Dunn’s River Island, Gyro Zone, Ichiban, Kalesia, Kung Fu Tea, Sake House, Salem’s Gyros, Pita Pit and Tijuana Flats.

Jewel Hector, a first-year student majoring in advertising, is an international student from the British Virgin Islands. Hector has similar ideals with this  initiative to include a diversity in food options. 

“Restaurants that serve more international foods should definitely offer USF student discounts because USF is a really diverse campus and all of us want to eat our favorite foods,” Hector said. “I know that if my favorite restaurants that serve island cuisine would offer USF discounts, I’d probably eat there far more often.” 

Hector is not familiar with the majority of the Bull’s Country restaurants, but she is open to trying them since discounts will be provided. Hector often eats at Publix so she said she hopes that a discount will be integrated when the on-campus Publix to built. 

When picking the businesses, it came down to five main objectives: distance, culture, cuisine, nutritional value and provided discounts. Francis said her team seeks for healthier options, inclusive dietary needs for people who are gluten free, vegetarian, allergies or other food restrictions and if the restaurants are local to USF.

Libby Shalev-Szlaifera, a first-year student majoring in public relations, is vegan and lives on campus, but chooses to eat at Tijuana Flats or Chipotle when she eats off campus.

“Most of the restaurants (from Bull’s Country) provide me with vegan options that suit my diet and are good,” Shalev-Szlaifera said. 

Shalev-Szlaifera has a meal plan so she eats at Champion’s Choice to find easy food options for her diet, but she would like to eat different meals that will still save her money. 

“I believe that implementing healthy options will improve — the way I eat since I’ll be more inclined to go there,” Shalev-Szlaifera said. “More than often, the healthy options always include vegetarian and vegan options which is beneficial to me.”

In the future, a competitive aspect will be implemented through layers of promotional items that USF will offer to the restaurants. Depending on the percent discount the restaurant is willing to provide, they can receive social media shoutouts, posters or commercials. The system will function on tiered levels so the more discounts a restaurant contributes equates to how large of a promotional item they will receive.  

Francis said that eventually key tags will be distributed to students that they can show these businesses to get the discounts they offer.

One of the referendums listed for the SG election this year was deciding what kind of food to provide on campus. There is a survey that may be released next year to expand the options. 

“We have a lot of surveys about on-campus foods and we’re trying to reflect that with a more immediate solution by having discounts off campus,” Francis said.  

Brandon Miller, a graduate student majoring in jazz studies, commutes from Orlando to USF and occasionally stops by World of Beer or an Irish pub that he enjoys for the karaoke. 

“Since I am a little bit older and going back to school now, most of the places I go to involve alcohol so it would be great to get a discount on non-alcoholic items like on the food items,” Miller said.

The goal for Francis is to have over 30 restaurants and to expand goods and services. There are discounts with MIT Computers and Prestige Car Wash and Lube as well as Disney and Busch Gardens, but they are not the focal point of the relaunch. 

“The best way into someone’s heart is their stomach so we wanted to start with the food first and expand from there,” Francis said.