Students save with iSave program

Ashley Nadeau

I-Save, a service provided by the Washburn University Student Government Association and a group of local businesses, is a discount program designed to give students special price reductions. Students and businesses seem to mutually benefit from the program.

“I’m not sure about an exact percentage, but we have a lot of regular customers that are Washburn students,” said Craig Underhill, owner of the Submarina Topeka franchise. “I’d say it is at least 25 percent.”

Submarina is just one of many Topeka sandwich shops that participates in the I-Save program. Submarina offers 14 different predetermined sandwich options, along with a “Simples” menu where you can create your own sandwich. Highlights of Submarina’s menu include freshly sliced avocados, pepperoncinis and sprouts. Any sandwich is available on white, wheat, sweet wheat, rye and sourdough bread in 3-, 6-, 9- or 12-inch sizes.

Submarina is located just blocks away from campus in College Hill. Students save 10 percent by showing their Washburn ID.

Bobo’s Drive In, one of the “Eight Wonders of Kansas Cuisine,” according to the Kansas Sampler Foundation in June 2009, also utilizes the I-Save program. Bobo’s is one of the only true drive-ins in the Topeka area, and it is notable for its homemade apple pie and hand-dipped onion rings. Bobo’s was featured on an episode of “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” on the Food Network in May 2008. Located at 2300 SW 10th Ave., Bobo’s offers a 10 percent discount to Washburn students.

Papa John’s is one of the most popular restaurants among Washburn students. Its popularity may be due to its near-campus location at 1700 SW Washburn Ave.

“I see a lot of Washburn students come in and use their discounts, mostly during the week,” said Papa John’s employee Kristen Fay. “They mostly get the large one-topping for [the] $8 special that we give to students,” she said.

Students can opt for a flat 10 percent off I-Save discount instead of the $8 one-topping special.

Mexican restaurant Carlos O’Kelly’s is another participant in the I-Save program. Its menu consists of appetizers, salads, pastas, burritos, tacos, and fajitas, and many Mexican-inspired drinks. However, it seems that many students are unaware of the savings Carlos O’Kelly’s offers.

“I think we would see a lot more students use their discounts if more people knew about it,” said Patrick Hothan, a bartender at Carlos O’Kelly’s.

Hothan said he is aware of many students who eat at the restaurant regularly and don’t use their discounts.

Students who do know about the I-Save program seem to appreciate the discounts it provides.

“I use my Washburn discount anywhere I can, I just wish more places would offer it,” said Tim Hutton, sophomore. “The fact that restaurants offer a Washburn discount is appealing to me as a student because not only is it cheaper, but I’m usually on the move and don’t have time to eat at home very often.

“I think the discount is even more appealing to me because I am a non-traditional student, and generally don’t eat on campus. Campus food is more expensive compared to off-campus food with the discount.”

Former Washburn student Bryce Lonnis-Kroeker misses the I-Save program.

“I frequently used my discounts,” he said. “I could only rely on ‘Ramen’ to a point. I miss having it – you can never replace convenience.”

A group of 24 restaurants currently participates in the I-Save program, along with other local businesses. The full list of participating restaurants and businesses is located on A condensed list, sponsored by the Washburn Student Government Association and the Student Life Office, is featured on the back of the Washburn University student planner.