In a blog post to the National Association of Campus Card Users (NACCU) website, Emory University's Kim Pfeffer outlines some helpful starting points for campuses looking to interpret their campus card data. One of the biggest conversations in our industry today is how to best utilize card data, where to draw boundaries, and which specific data can be most useful.
In Pfeffer's "Data Points At Your Fingertips" post, readers can get a good grip on the basics of interpreting card system data and some helpful best practices.
"Have you ever gotten an unexpected data request from your vice president or another university leader," Pfeffer asks. "If this has happened to you, consider tracking some basic data points to be prepared; not only will it save you time and lessen your anxiety, but it will make you look like a rock star!"
Pfeffer first highlights the data point that all campuses should be keeping tabs on: card production figures. This includes the number of active cards in the system on a given date, and is a figure that should be re-checked on a consistent date to better ensure the data is comparable.
Pfeffer suggests running these figures on a monthly basis to be better prepared and organized when the data requests arrive. She identifies some of the data requests that a card office admin might expect, including card swipes for:
There's also basic data considerations for the campus declining balance accounts. These data points could include tracking and identifying trends in card deposits, swipes, spend and carry balance. Be ready for requests like:
Another major area of interest for campus leadership is expenses and revenue. Pfeffer poses some questions you should expect:
Pfeffer suggests tracking both personnel and non-personnel expenses, as well as how your actual expenses stack up against what was budgeted. "This information will allow you to calculate your Net Income (Revenue minus Expenses) as well as your Profit Margin (Net Income divided by Revenue)," she explains.
Financials aside, she also suggests having access to the basic data from campus partners in security systems and dining services. "These partnerships will be helpful to avoid the possibility of directing campus leaders to a different department," Pfeffer says.
Kim Pfeffer is a first-term member of the NACCU Board of Directors. She has been serving as the director of the EmoryCard at Emory University since 2018, and has over twenty years of higher education experience. Pfeffer is offering further insight, on request, as well as sharing reporting templates and tracking worksheets.
To see her full write up on campus card data, visit NACCU.org.
In episode five of our Technology and the Evolution of Campus Dining series with Grubhub, we speak with Dr. Angelo Mojica, Senior Director of Food and Culinary Services for the Johns Hopkins Health System. All six hospitals in the Johns Hopkins Health System will launch Grubhub mobile ordering going forward, spanning both retail dining concepts and food-service vendor partners that serve those campuses.
Hear how mobile ordering with Grubhub has helped to streamline and make food service in the hospital setting more efficient both for customers and food-service employees. The ghost kitchen model has grown in popularity over the past year, and the same is true for Johns Hopkins, where staffing can now be redistributed more to food prep rather than cashiering to process mobile orders.
Johns Hopkins is also deploying smart lockers for order pickup. Hear how the hospital system is using food lockers for food safety and convenience. The smart locker solution has also provided a workaround for food delivery to a children's hospital that is located far from the hospital cafeteria.
Check out the other episodes in the Technology and the Evolution of Campus Dining series:
Campus credential and payment solutions provider, Transact, has released a new mobile feature that provides students with emergency hotline and suicide prevention information from within their mobile credential. The latest addition to the Transact mobile credential platform is designed to offer college students another avenue for reporting mental and emotional trauma.
“Over the last few years, there has been a steady increase in utilization and demand for campus counseling services, and this year, 73% of college presidents identified mental health as a pressing issue,” says Nancy Langer, CEO of Transact. “We recognize that this is the future for all colleges and universities, and we will continue to provide revolutionary technology to support campus goals and improve student experiences."
Transact will make the new mobile credential feature available in time for the start of the fall semester.
“We know from working closely with university leaders around the country that student health and wellbeing are of the utmost concern as campuses prepare for the start of the 2021-2022 academic year,” says Langer. “We designed this technology to be part of the support system for students and school leaders. Our easy-to-implement tool allows students to access emergency contact information directly from the student ID credential on their smartphone.”
The emergency hotline and suicide prevention contact capability is available immediately to all existing Transact Campus mobile credential customers through a simple system update. Transact’s mobile platform allows university administrators to push updates to student IDs without the expensive process of reprinting and redistributing physical cards.
Users will also have the ability to customize their student IDs to include national, state, local and/or school-specific hotline information. A number of states have even mandated that these hotlines and support information be printed on student ID cards.
"Statistics show that services, such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, are effective in reducing emotional distress and suicidality. These services can also help divert callers from unnecessary law enforcement, emergency and hospital services," explains Langer. “We hope the ease and accessibility of this feature will help keep college campuses safer and save student lives.”
After ending its Green2Go container program nearly a year ago, Penn State is set to revitalize its reusable to-go container program with new refinements and a new name. The new “PSreUse" program will use the same green plastic to-go containers with an "updated logistical flow” to make the initiative more convenient and accessible for students.
According to an Onward State report, PSreUse’s most significant difference is that the containers are free to use upon return, removing the previous $5 deposit required for students to opt in. Students will still need to pay replacement fees for unreturned or damaged containers at the end of each semester.
Anyone with a valid Penn State ID can use the PSreUse program. The program accepts payments through campus and commuter meal plans or Penn State's declining balance tender, LionCash.
For students, using the new PSreUse reusable container program will feel familiar to the previous Green2Go program. Dining hall guests can request a reusable container at any dining hall cashier with the swipe of their student ID card. The takeout containers can then be returned to any dining hall or campus convenience store cashier. Containers don’t need to be returned to the same location from which they were checked out.
Also new with PSreUse is that the containers will be barcoded to help track the containers individually. Once the system is up and running, the barcodes will enable specific containers to be tied to specific student ID cards, allowing for returns without the need of swiping ID cards.
The barcode system being developed would give Penn State more specific data on the containers, including the length of time each container has been checked out. Upgraded barcoding will also help Penn State staff refine the program to better meet student usage and container lifecycles.
“In a typical year, we use about 500,000 styrofoam containers. Each reusable container can be used and washed up to 1,000 times; that can replace a lot of styrofoam," said Anna Sostarecz, Penn State Food Services sustainability coordinator, in a statement to Onward State. "Ideally, with enough student support and participation in the program, we can move toward eliminating single-use packaging options that contaminate recycling streams and crowd the landfill.”
Penn State plans to expand the new PSreUse program to all on-campus dining halls in time for the start of the fall semester.
The University of Nevada is preparing to launch a fleet of twenty Starship delivery robots this fall to enable students easier and more convenient access to campus dining options. Nevada will join a growing number of universities to deploy robot delivery on campus, as the popularity and utility of mobile ordering continues to grow.
According to an official university release, the Starship delivery robots will be delivering food, drinks and snacks from a range of on-campus restaurants and cafés starting this fall with a proposed August 23 launch date. The delivery robots will be available to all Nevada students, staff, faculty and visitors.
Chartwells Higher Education, Nevada's food-service provider, has partnered with Starship Technologies to roll out the autonomous delivery robots on the Reno campus. Students, faculty and staff will be able to order on-demand food deliveries from any of the 20 Starship robots and track their order in real-time.
“We’re excited to be one of the first campuses in the world to be able to offer this service to our students, staff and faculty,” says Heidi Rich, marketing director for Nevada Dining. “We continue to expand our dining options and now, with Starship Technologies, are able to offer a contactless, low-cost, fast and friendly way to deliver.”
To utilize the delivery service, users must first download the Starship Food Delivery app from the App store or Google Play. Students can open the Starship Deliveries mobile app, choose the items they would like from one of the available Nevada Dining locations, then select their location by dropping a pin on the campus map where they want their order to be delivered.
From within the app, users can watch the robot’s journey in real-time on the interactive map. Once the robot arrives, the user will receive an alert to meet the robot and unlock it via the app. Delivery usually takes just a matter of minutes, depending on the menu items ordered and the distance the robot must travel. Each robot can carry up to 20 pounds at a time.
The final preparation for Nevada's Starship deployment is a finalization of campus mapping and configuration, which enables the robots to successfully navigate the sidewalks and pedestrian areas of campus.
“We kindly ask our campus community to be patient with Nevada Dining and our delivery robots as they continue to map and configure their service for our campus,” says Rich. “We look forward to our launch when they will be delivering from most of the Nevada Dining restaurant locations by Monday, August 23.”
In episode four of our Technology and the Evolution of Campus Dining series with Grubhub, we speak with George Kuzma, Vice President for Business Development, Gourmet Dining about some of the technologies that are changing the campus dining experience.
The company operates all across the northeast and is implementing some of the latest in food service technologies, including Grubhub mobile ordering inside all-you-care-to-eat dining halls, ghost kitchens, as well as smart lockers for order pickup.
Gourmet Dining is a family-owned business in New Jersey that has focused on dining services solutions for higher education for the past 30 years. The company's work with Grubhub has enabled Gourmet Dining to provide its campus clients with the latest in dining services technology.
Rowan University, one of Gourmet Dining's campus partners, has gone 100% mobile ordering -- well prior to the arrival of COVID -- with the help of the Gourmet Dining team. Leveraging the Grubhub Ultimate platform, the move to mobile order only at Rowan has enabled more creativity and flexibility for students dining on campus.
In just the first week of mobile ordering at Rowan, 10,000 meal orders were placed via Grubhub, with 98% being mobile orders and the remaining 2% placed at self-service kiosks.
Check out the other episodes in the Technology and the Evolution of Campus Dining series:
The University of Rhode Island has an extensive history with biometric access, having installed biometric hand readers on campus as far back as 2007. But with the arrival of COVID-19, and the general evolution of biometric reader technology, the time has arrived for URI to implement a touchless biometric solution.
Leveraging Direct Connect, the latest development in CBORD’s suite of biometric solutions for CS Gold and Odyssey customers, URI was able to install MorphoWave biometric readers from IDEMIA.
The full implementation has been discussed in detail in CBORD’s “Frictionless Biometrics for Campus Access and Payments” webinar. The free webinar offers insights from the University of Rhode Island and experts from CBORD who assisted on the project.
Becky Estey and Shaun Kavanagh of URI discuss the planning, installation, and enrollment stages of implementing biometric readers, as well as share lessons learned throughout the process.
Also presenting is Chris Lockwood, business analyst for CBORD’s Product Team, who explains how Direct Connect works with CS Gold and Odyssey systems, as well as requirements for implementation.
“CBORD was there at URI pretty much from start to finish. We implemented both the initial hardware and MorphoManager server setup before connecting the devices to URI’s Odyssey card system,” explains Lockwood. “CBORD was involved in putting together the hardware, setting up the host server, configuring the devices, and training on enrollment and usage.”
“Once we completed the development for the CBORD and IDEMIA service, we were able to install the software on the current MorphoManager server and configure each device to talk to the server and Odyssey,” Lockwood adds.
URI and CBORD have a longstanding history with biometrics, having implemented a hand biometric system in the Fall of 2007.
“Our Ingersoll Rand Handkey II readers served us well for more than a decade until COVID-19 hit,” says Shaun Kavanagh, Associate Director of IT Support, Dining, Housing & Residential Life at the University of Rhode Island.
The initial deployment of the Handkey II system at URI required all users to place their hand on the same surface to scan, which obviously wouldn’t suffice during a pandemic.
“When we implemented our system at the height of the pandemic we knew that we needed to be touchless,” says Kavanagh. “Since our staff and customers were already accustomed to using their hand for entry, using the fingerprint scanning ability of the MorphoWave readers seemed to make the most sense for us.”
Kavanagh recalls first seeing the IDEMIA MorphoWave units at a CBORD User Group Conference, seeing it as an ideal replacement for an aging biometric system at URI.
“The footprint and network connectivity of the MorphoWave reader was very close to our existing system which made the switch very easy,” says Kavanagh. “The readers also can interface with turnstiles, which is something we hope to do in the future.”
“Another benefit is that the readers are considerably faster than our previous system and they don't require the student to swipe their card first,” adds Kavanagh. “This has greatly sped up our entry lines and increased customer satisfaction.”
“Our customers who have hand or fingerprint readers that require physical contact are likely looking for contactless solutions,” says Mike Atkins, CBORD platform solutions account manager for URI. “IDEMIA’s MorphoWave or the VisionPass facial recognition readers, which we’re starting to implement on a few campuses, are excellent touchless solutions.”
CBORD is making improvements on the backend to make it easier for campuses to implement these types of biometric solutions on campus.
“CBORD’s new interface allows Odyssey and CS Gold 8 customers to be able to use these readers without additional hardware (e.g. Epics, Aeros, access control hardware, etc.),” says Atkins. “The readers connect directly to the card system instead of utilizing our access control solution, making it a ‘lighter lift’ for implementation.”
For more on the University of Rhode Island’s use of MorphoWave biometric readers, and how CBORD is helping to deliver the solution, check out the full “Frictionless Biometrics for Campus Access and Payments” webinar.
TouchNet, a Global Payments company, has announced Sam Passer as its new Vice President of Client Experience. This move comes as universities and higher ed institutions continue to shift to a digital-first approach to campus commerce and credentialing systems.
In his new role, Passer will lead client-facing teams who provide support with implementation, training, and technical support; leveraging his industry and customer service leadership skills to maximize the value clients receive from TouchNet products. As the needs of higher ed change, TouchNet felt it vital that its approach to client services evolves as well.
“The past year has fast-forwarded the digital transformation in higher ed and a seamless experience is crucial to our clients’ success,” says Adam McDonald, President of TouchNet. “As we look ahead, Sam is the perfect fit to lead our client experience team now and into the future.”
Passer joins TouchNet with more than 20 years of experience leading client-facing teams in finance and technology companies. Most recently, he led the operational support teams that assisted clients in maximizing their products and services at an innovative software company serving the automotive industry.
TouchNet clients can expect a fresh approach to customer service, focusing on providing the best student experience and maximizing student success. TouchNet will double down on its efforts to equipping an institution's frontline staff with the tools and skills needed to support their students.
“The team goes above and beyond to take care of their clients,” says Passer. “I’m looking forward to meeting with our clients and prospects to learn about their emerging needs, and expand our customer service to exceed industry expectations.”
Learn more about TouchNet’s leadership team here.
In episode three of our Technology and the Evolution of Campus Dining series with Grubhub, we speak with Kevin Steffes, Food and Nutrition Director at the Carle Foundation Hospital about how the hospital is using the ghost kitchen model and the Grubhub platform to process and deliver meals to patients and employees.
We often focus on the Grubhub platform from the university perspective, but hospital environments carry many of the same hallmark characteristics seen on campus. The Carle Foundation Hospital was in need of a way to serve patients and employees efficiently, on their terms, in a high-paced environment.
Mobile ordering through the Grubhub platform has been a proven solution since its launch at the Carle Foundation Hospital over two years ago. Additionally, the hospital's workforce is trending younger year over year, making for a demographic that's increasingly willing to adopt mobile ordering.
Most recently the arrival of COVID forced the hospital's hand, as the need to provide a safe and contactless means for employees and patients to order and receive food has become paramount. Hear how Grubhub helped the hospital to not only lean into the ghost kitchen model, but also make it thrive.
Check out the other episodes in the Technology and the Evolution of Campus Dining series:
Washington State University has announced a new Mini Meal Plan designed for faculty, staff, and off campus students and those living in university apartments. The new plan offers the same access to on campus dining as a standard meal plan, but carries a smaller price tag and discounts on purchases.
The Mini Meal Plan is nonrefundable and costs $250, and is comprised of a base cost of $50 and comes with $200 in Dining Dollars. Unlike with Washington State's residential dining plan, additional Dining Dollars beyond the initial $200 cannot be added to a Mini Meal Plan. However, multiple mini plans may be purchased in a year.
Purchases made via the Mini Plan include special offers at campus locations. Discounts are applied at the time of purchase, with 25% discounts applied at campus dining centers and 5% discounts applied at participating retail dining locations, like Starbucks and Einstein Bros. Bagels.
Students with a standard, residential meal plan who are planning to leave the residence halls after the academic year ends can elect to roll over unused meal plan dollars to a Mini Meal Plan for the following academic year and effectively preserve those funds. Students need to purchase a Mini Plan prior to the tenth day of fall classes in order for leftover dining dollars to automatically be added to a Mini Meal Plan.
Mini Meal Plans can be purchased and used anytime during the eligible year, beginning the week after spring commencement and ending the week of the following spring commencement. All Mini plans expire at the end of the eligible academic year, and any leftover Dining Dollars at the end of the eligible academic year will not roll over to the following fall.