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Virginia Commonwealth University has been actively engaged with food trucks on its campus for some time now, and the university recently hosted the second installment of its flagship food truck event.

VCUDine's Food Truck Festival took place earlier this week, and was open exclusively to students with a university meal plan. The event cost students two meal swipes from their board plan in exchange for access to the festival and an entree from the food truck of the student's choosing.

Our Food Truck Festival, sponsored by @pepsi, kicks off TODAY at 4pm!

Just a reminder: this is a swipe-only event. Have questions? Tweet us or call 804-828-1148! pic.twitter.com/aP6S0eqRKp

— VCUDine (@VCU_Dining) April 23, 2019

The event was hosted on VCU's Monroe Park Campus starting at 4:00 p.m., with long lines reportedly lasting until the festival ended at 9:00 p.m. In total, seven food trucks were in attendance, with large open areas made available for students to enjoy the festival activities, including photo booths, prize drawings and giant inflatable games.

Scenes from the 2019 VCUDine Food Truck Fest! 🙌 pic.twitter.com/cdhmLOu2f4

— VCUDine (@VCU_Dining) April 23, 2019

The festival is organized and put on by VCU Dining Services with sponsorship from Pepsi. A "swipe-only" event, the festival is open exclusively to students with a dining plan, and only board plan swipes are accepted as payment tender, no cash or credit card payments are accepted.

VCU Dining Services will also has plans to host other special food truck events on campus including another swipe-only event, "Rib Night," and a "Midnight Breakfast" event.

St. Louis-Style Ribs are on the menu tonight at Jonah's! pic.twitter.com/qUN5HXxoXs

— VCUDine (@VCU_Dining) April 25, 2019

The idea behind the event is to offer students a change of pace from the standard fare offered by VCU dining halls, and utilize meal swipes to avoid cutting into students' pockets and bank accounts.

American University has issued a Request For Proposal for a new food-service provider, along with an estimated timeline for the selection process to come. The example at American offers a great look at the RFP process, as well as how a university can maintain transparency with the campus community throughout its decision making.

According to the university's Auxiliary Services website, American opened the bidding for a new provider earlier this month, and current provider Aramark will be among the proposals considered. The RFP document was drafted by a subcommittee consisting of faculty, staff and students. The university has also posted an interactive selection timeline, along with vendor requirements, on its official auxiliary services page shortly after the RFP was made public.

Per the university resource page, primary needs for a new food service provider at American include excellent quality food, a wide selection of national, regional and locally-owned dining options, and services that cater to a variety of dining restrictions including gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, kosher and halal meals.

The university is also requesting that that prospective vendors prioritize customer service, hygiene, freshness and a “welcoming environment,” and specifically the ability to provide hours of operation that match student needs, i.e. late-night service.

According to the timeline, the RFP was issued on April 19, and final proposals are due on May 13. Presentations by a final selection of three bidders will take place the week of May 20, with the beginning of June set as the deadline for a final decision. The university hopes to have a new provider fully in place by the end of July.

The requirements outlined in the RFP document were in part shaped by student responses to surveys conducted by the university's Residence Hall Association and Student Government.

The university designated a Dining Project team that drew from a broad membership of faculty, staff, and students who represent the decision's key stakeholders. A subcommittee of that team, including student representatives, was charged with drafting the RFP and ensuring that stakeholder concerns were prioritized and incorporated into the decision process.

A study conducted by researchers at Michigan State University, along with vending and payment solutions provider USA Technologies, has found significant performance boosts could be gained from cashless-enabled vending machines as compared to units only accepting cash and coin.

The report highlights the common practice of outfitting only high-volume machines with cashless technology, but the study's findings suggest that low-performing vending machines can provide significant revenue growth once equipped with cashless hardware.

The MSU study found that vending operators who added cashless technology to machines recording less than $2,000 per year in sales -- the "low-performers" -- experienced top-line sales growth of 110% on average over the first 18 months following deployment. This compares to the average 35% increase on the total population of machines studied.

The study also found that following deployment of cashless technology, machines recorded an increase in cash sales as well. Cashless sales increased by 131% on low-performing machines after 18 months, compared to 78% on the total population of machines studied. But cash sales at low-performing machines also increased by an average of 97% during the same period, compared to 17% on the total population of machines.

“We believe that the results of this study underscore the real financial and operational value of adding cashless technology to every machine,” says Jim Turner, senior data analyst at USA Technologies. “But it could significantly increase cash sales as well, which is partially driven by the ability to offer premium products and an increased awareness of machine performance due to online management tools. We believe that having the data to make better decisions, even on a low-performing machine, could result in significant additional revenue for operators.”

Other study findings on average over the first 18 months following cashless technology deployment include:

The study, conducted by Michigan State University’s Broad College of Business - MS Business Analytics (MBSA) program, provided an educational experience that combined a number of university resources in addressing the study, research, and application of data analytics. As part of the program, USA Technologies provided MSU with access to its “Knowledge Base” database, which captures sales and transaction data on all vending machines connected to the company's cashless payments platform.

MSU researchers then analyzed the data on select machines to evaluate sales activity up to 18 months following the addition of cashless technology. Results were based on sales activity of 250,000 vending machines connected to USA Technology's cashless payments platform nationwide, including 95,000 "low-performing" machines.

Mercer University is the latest campus to issue Mobile Credentials from Transact, and and the first to partner with access control provider Allegion on the initiative. Mercer students, faculty and staff will soon have the option to provision their Bear Card to their iPhone or Apple Watch and use those devices for the full range of on-campus transactions.

Mercer will officially launch the Mobile Credential project for its entire community beginning with Summer Session One this May. Students can add their Bear Card to Apple Wallet and use their iPhone and Apple Watch to access buildings and facilities, buy lunch, enter the university rec center, register for events, and more. The initiative is optional, and Mercer will continue to offer the physical Bear Card to its campus community.

"We announced the program just in time for our 'Make It Mercer' event on April 6th and are allowing incoming freshmen the opportunity to provision their Mobile Credential in advance of starting for either fall or summer terms," says Ken Boyer, associate vice president for Auxiliary Services at Mercer University. "We will be opening up enrollment for returning students, faculty and staff on May 20th for the start of summer school, with enrollment for students returning for fall 2019 opening in June."

Mercer is among the first institutions to launch mobile credentials in Apple Wallet, joining the University of Alabama, Duke University, Johns Hopkins University, Temple University and the University of Oklahoma. Unique to the program at Mercer, however, is the university's long-running partnership with Allegion.

"Mercer is the first school to move forward with Mobile Credentials in the Apple Wallet utilizing the Allegion AD-400 locks," says Boyer. "Allegion has worked with Mercer to update firmware to provide for this enhanced functionality, alongside our transaction system provider Transact, and Apple to ensure the functionality works as expected."

The university was in a good position already thanks to some of the product decisions they had made. Full credit to Mercer, because those decisions really made this a light lift.

Much of Allegion's interaction with Mercer went hand-in-hand with the university's card system vendor, Transact. "It's a process we'd been working through for about six months prior to going live at Mercer. The university was in a good position already thanks to some of the product decisions they had made," says Jeff Koziol, Business Development Manager at Allegion. "A lot of their infrastructure was mobile ready with just some slight modifications here and there. Full credit to Mercer, because those prior decisions really made this initiative something of a light lift."

Allegion offers a suite of products that are mobile capable and mobile enabled. "In the case of Mercer, this was also a light lift because most of what they have deployed from Allegion is the Schlage AD-400 lockset. It's a wireless, real-time lock that gives campuses the ability to change the status of the lock and get feedback from the lock within seconds," explains Koziol. "This is important as we continue to move into the mobile world because if someone loses a phone, we want to suspend that credential as soon as possible."

In addition to the lock's real time, wireless capabilities, Koziol explains there's another feature that makes the AD-400 a good fit for the path to mobile credentials.

"The AD 400 also has a modular, upgradeable design. Mercer invested in this product dating back seven or eight years ago and when the time came to start prepping for Mobile Credential, rather than replacing entire locksets, Mercer was able to swap out just the mag stripe reader heads for reader heads that read both DESFire and mobile," explains Koziol. "They were able to do this at a fraction of the cost of a full lockset, and preserve their initial investment in the hardware."

Preparation is key

Since the launch of Transact Mobile Credential late last year, a growing number of universities have been taking notice. But the path to mobile credentials isn't always straightforward.

"For universities looking at Mobile Credential it's best to begin by assessing where your program is," says Boyer. "Examine what kind of technologies you're currently using, and then develop an implementation plan that takes you in the direction of the technology you want."

I think campuses always do themselves a service by choosing open architecture type products. Products that are readily upgradeable as advancements in technology happen.

Ultimately, a phased approach worked best for Mercer's environment. "Mercer's ability move to the Mobile Credential came about as a benefit from our five-year plan to transition from mag stripe technology used by our transaction system in the past to more secure MIFARE DESFire EV2 contactless technology," explains Boyer. "The new platform utilizes AES-128 encryption, which makes it very secure."

Another way campuses can prep for mobile credentials is to consider technologies that keep its future options open while meeting the needs it has currently.

"DESFire is kind of becoming the de-facto standard because it meets the security requirements of the college market, a lot of smartphone chips emulate DESFire, and most of the products on the marketplace accept and read DESFire," says Koziol. "I think campuses always do themselves a service by choosing open architecture type products. Products that are readily upgradeable as advancements in technology happen."

"Some people believe that mobile credentials are pie in the sky, and still far out there. But it really isn't," adds Koziol. "It's on campuses across the country, and it's arrived at Mercer."

The recent death of a University of South Carolina student has reminded many to revisit the safety precautions around ride-sharing apps. Among those stressing important safety measures is the Marquette University Police Department, which recently issued a notice to its campus community reminding students to remain vigilant when using ride-sharing services.

The incident in South Carolina saw a student of the university enter a car that she believed was her Uber ride, but was in fact not affiliated with the ride share app.

With college students being some of the more common ride-share app users, the Marquette Wire reports that the university police department has posted safety tips to be followed when using these services. Some of the tips include waiting for a ride indoors, asking the driver who they are waiting for, and sharing trip details with a friend.

"If students are concerned while using a ride-share app, they should immediately call 911," says MUPD Capt. Ruth Peterson. “And if a student is in the Marquette area, they can also use the EagleEye app."

Marquette's EagleEye app is a free-to-download safety app that features a mobile BlueLight function that, at the press a button, connects the student directly to MUPD and sends the mobile device’s location in real-time, as long as location services are turned on.

The EagleEye app also includes a Friend Walk feature, which allows students to track their friends’ locations along their journey.

Additional features of the EagleEye app include:

In addition to technological measures like EagleEye's Bluelight function, Marquette PD stresses that students should never provide personal details like a phone number to drivers. MUPD also reminds students that rating drivers after every ride is important as ratings allow companies like Uber or Lyft to remove any potentially dangerous or unfit drivers from the service.

The major topic of discussion across the campus card landscape at the minute is mobile credentials. With the technology now in place and functioning at a growing roster of campuses, vendors, universities, and those running campus card offices are all keen to see where the technology is headed. But students are taking notice now, as well.

In a report from The University of Missouri's student publication, The Maneater, a meeting of the Missouri Students Association senate passed a resolution during its recent senate session expressing full support for digitizing student IDs at Mizzou.

The resolution, Senate Bill 58-27, is an extension of a campaign promise from one of the student government president candidates. The candidate listed the call for a digital student ID on the campaign’s website, and promises to otherwise "modernize the process of using a student ID" on the Mizzou campus. The campaign's vision for accomplishing that goal is to move Mizzou's TigerCard to the mobile phone.

The campaign's "A Resolution to Encourage the Deployment of Virtual IDs on Campus" passed full senate with 22 'yes' votes and only two 'no' votes. The campaign for a digital student ID at Mizzou also received 1,785 votes in favor from the campus community, which the campaign believes to illustrate students' desire to access their student ID card -- and the services it supports -- from their mobile device.

UC San Diego (UCSD) is accepting preferred names in its campus databases, with future plans to extend the service to printing the names on student ID cards. This marks UCSD's first foray into preferred names and will enable students to submit both a preferred name and pronoun that they wish to be referred to by the university, with those designations being reflected in most campus records systems.

As reported by UCSD student publication, The Triton, all undergraduate and graduate students have the option to specify a preferred first and middle name, as well as a preferred pronoun on the university's My TritonLink web portal.

Graduate students currently teaching at the university cannot yet request a preferred name or pronoun while teaching classes, as the system update does not yet support those with staff or faculty designations in the university database. Future iterations of the initiative will, however, support graduate student faculty designations. The university also reserves the right to remove or deny a preferred name or personal pronoun submission if they believe the student is using the tool inappropriately.

At UCSD, a preferred name includes names chosen by the individual for a number of reasons, including those that reflect cultural, personal, or religious identity, as well as nicknames or names that accurately reflect a person’s gender identity. Preferred names will now be displayed in campus systems including UCSD's Virtual Advising Center (VAC), campus directories, Find-a-Student, Class Lists, eGrades, and commencement-related documents beginning later this month.

UCSD is also supporting an optional, chosen personal pronoun to accompany the preferred name. Students can choose from a list of "He/Him," "She/Her," "They/Them," "Ze/Hir," "Per/Per," the Preferred Name alone, or "Other." As with the preferred name, pronouns will be shown on the VAC, Class Lists, and Find-A-Student, but will not appear in eGrades or commencement material.

UCSD’s move to preferred names brings the university inline with a number of other UC campuses. UCLA began accepting preferred names on student ID cards in 2017 and has accepted preferred names on students’ online paperwork since 2015. Elsewhere, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara, UC Riverside, and an estimated 200 universities across the nation currently allow preferred names on course rosters, waitlists, and ID cards.

While UCSD doesn’t currently print new student ID cards with the preferred name, the UCSD Preferred Name and Personal Pronouns resource page states the UCSD ID Card/One cards will soon be included in the initiative.

Legal names will continue to be used on official UCSD documents, on authorized external communications not directed solely to the student, and in systems that must use legal name for legal or regulatory purposes. Legal names will continue to be used on official transcripts, diplomas, authorized payer systems, 1098T, financial aid documents, and communications to students' parents regarding orientation.

Preferred names will be used to identify students in most day-to-day university business and on some documents, so UCSD urges students to select a preferred names that the student is comfortable with being used in public settings within the university setting. There is no limit to how often a student can change their preferred name or pronoun, but name changes can take up to 30 days to be reflected in some campus systems.

In a recent addition to the company's tech article series, ColorID's David Stallsmith discusses the options at a university's disposal should it decide to pursue open-source hardware and software solutions. Opting for open-source solutions can offer an alternative to the traditional practice of opting for card system vendor solutions and the comprehensive ecosystems that come with, says Stallsmith.

"Many organizations purchase these solutions exclusively from their system providers, but many others chose to acquire some applications and services from third-party suppliers," he explains. "This latter arrangement allowed them to prioritize their options for the applications they needed according to price, features, brands and support."

When it comes to card issuance, the predominant school of thought is for ID software, printers and card stock – especially contactless smart cards – to all be purchased directly from a trusted vendor for optimal performance. But as Stallsmith notes, third-party solution providers can also offer a wide range of printers and software that can effectively meet the needs of a campus.

For campuses intent on moving away from proprietary solutions, there have been a number of advancements across numerous ID solutions. "Powerful ID issuance solutions are available now with many new features, including web-based architecture, modern GUI’s, enhanced connectivity, contactless smart card encoding, advanced network printer support, mobile device integration and photo upload portals," says Stallsmith.

With regards to physical access security, the advantage of deploying solutions direct from card systems vendors is that they offer access control modules that are well integrated with the rest of the platform. But universities can also choose to leverage access control systems from third-party providers. "This can allows a campus to use readers, electronic lock systems, mobile credential products, biometrics and many other building automation and security applications," says Stallsmith. "New tools and services are now available to connect those systems on the back end, provide users with web-based portals and provide administrative control and reporting."

Managing physical identities is another of the vital tasks of a card system. "Many card systems today excel at managing and tracking financial transactions within the ID badge ecosystem," says Stallsmith. "However, the ability to properly manage the physical identities throughout your organization via these systems can be a challenge."

As Stallsmith explains, utilizing a dedicated Physical Identity Access Management (PIAM) solution can enable a campus to instantly and intelligently provision and issue credentials to all of a university's disparate systems from a single platform. "A PIAM solution gives cardholders the ability to report and deactivate lost credentials, request mobile credentials or pick up ID badges at kiosk stations or ID offices," says Stallsmith.

Visit the ColorID website for more on the company's PIAM offerings and some of the open-source options available to campuses.

It's not rare for a university to leverage a mobile application to help streamline campus parking. What is rare, however, is for a university to create it's own app in house.

That's exactly what the University of Massachusetts Lowell has done with its new Parking Spaces app. According to an official university release, students, faculty and staff can all check real-time parking availability at all three of the university’s parking garages, as well as the two largest lots on the university's North Campus with the newly updated Parking Spaces app.

Developed internally by UMass Lowell's Web Services department, the Parking Spaces app shows the number of available spaces in lots and garages enabling users to better plan their commute into campus and save valuable time. The app is free to download, but is currently only available on iOS. The app also includes directions, hours of operation and accessibility information for each parking location.

Parking Spaces is an updated version that will replace the university’s previous Garage Spaces app. Garage Spaces was released in 2016 exclusively for campus parking garages, not open-air parking lots.

Parking availability is monitored by the UMass Lowell's UCard, Access and Parking Services (UCAPS) office based on data collected as vehicles enter and exit garage and parking lot gates. The addition of new parking lots to the mobile app coincides with infrastructure upgrades on-site at the parking lots that now enables their gate data to be sent back to the app.

“Adding this information to the app allows people driving to campus to plan their trip and reduce the time hunting for parking spaces, which ultimately reduces our carbon footprint,” says Jon Victorine, director of UCAPS and security technology at UMass Lowell.

Another new feature added to the Parking Spaces app enables users to customize which parking lots they see on their user interface within the app. As with the previous version, the app also includes an audio option that “speaks” the number of available spaces.

The addition of more parking lots enables UMass Lowell to now glean parking data from lots that are primarily used by commuter students. This has been an important addition, as it provides UCAPS a more holistic view of parking availability on campus. Similarly, UCAPS is receiving valuable metrics from another of the newly added lots that's used by a large cross-section of the campus community for special events.

According to UMass Lowell's Web Services, iOS devices accounted for some 72% of the original Garage Spaces user base. That app was downloaded more than 1,000 times to student and faculty iPhones, and the addition of more parking lots along with the new app features is likely to boost campus community downloads. UMass Lowell currently serves some 18,000 students and roughly 2,200 faculty and staff.

Following an announcement with participating Wells Fargo Campus Card colleges and universities in February, the bank has publicly introduced a set of new benefits that are now in effect for students who have opted to pair their student IDs with their Wells Fargo checking accounts.

The benefits include offering Wells Fargo Campus Card customers the opportunity to receive waivers or credits for four services that some students use as they begin managing their first bank accounts. With the new benefits, Wells Fargo expects average costs incurred for its reported Campus Card population to be reduced by approximately one-half.

The new benefits include:

The new benefits are currently available to Wells Fargo customers who have a student ID card linked with an Everyday Checking account. No action is needed by eligible customers to receive these benefits. In addition to these new benefits, Wells Fargo will continue its policy of waiving the monthly service fee for its Everyday Checking accounts where the primary owner is between the ages of 17 and 24.

The new Campus Card program benefits are consistent with steps Wells Fargo has taken over the last two years to continually improve how it serves student customers and introduce services that support them, such as sending automatic zero balance alerts.

“We want to make sure we’re helping young adults build healthy financial habits that will serve them well over their lifetimes,” says Ed Kadletz, head of Wells Fargo’s Deposit Products Group. “Our focus remains on helping Campus Card student customers succeed financially by providing them the guidance they are seeking to better manage their accounts.”

At participating colleges and universities, Wells Fargo’s Campus Card program is an optional offering. Students at these participating universities decide if they want to use their campus ID cards or co-branded debit cards to access their Wells Fargo accounts. Students don't pay extra for the services offered or pay higher fees through the Wells Fargo Campus Card program, and there's no monthly service fee for participants who choose to link their student ID to their Wells Fargo checking account.

According to Wells Fargo, four out of five students that graduate with an account in the Campus Card program keep their relationship with the bank beyond their college years.

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The only publication dedicated to the use of campus cards, mobile credentials, identity and security technology in the education market. CampusIDNews – formerly CR80News – has served more than 6,500 subscribers for more than two decades.
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Join us, @NACCUorg, and @TouchNet to explore how campus card programs can successfully navigate the sales and procurement process. Join the webinar on June 6, 2 pm EDT. https://go.touchnet.com/l/652093/2022-05-18/lsndq

Webinar: Learn how the University of Arizona uses campus cards, mobile ordering, kiosks, lockers, and robots to revolutionize campus dining. April 7, 2-2:30 EDT. Register Now at https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/7821245544009488910?source=campus-id

As supply chain issues in 2021 persist, identity solutions provider @ColorID discusses ways campuses can to overcome potentially troublesome delays until the situation eases.

https://www.cr80news.com/news-item/protecting-your-campus-card-program-from-supply-chain-issues/

A dining services push at the @UBuffalo is reinforcing the utility of self-service checkout. @CBORD is improving the food service experience using the GET app, as well as Nextep kiosks and Oracle’s Micros Simphony POS.

https://www.cr80news.com/news-item/kiosks-self-service-tech-streamline-campus-food-service-u-buffalo/

Did you miss our recent webinar? No worries - watch it on-demand. Leaders from @NAU and the @UAlberta joined Ryan Audus, Touchnet, and Andrew Hudson, @CR80News, to discuss innovative mobile services and the future of mobile tech in higher ed. Watch now: https://bit.ly/31RFyLn

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