By Clare Kolenda
We’ve all been there. After a long day of lectures and tests, the first thing on your mind is to go home. You’re not aware of the students trying to go through the door behind you, or the nice bright blue sky. Yep, you’re pretty much a walking zombie.
Then the unthinkable happens. You go to swipe your Raider Card to get out of the parking ramp and it’s rejected. Insufficient funds, the reader mercilessly tells you, reminding you the coffee you bought that morning drained what remained on your account.
By now there is a line of cars backed up behind you and what once was supposed to be the start of your journey home now is becoming a public embarrassment and huge inconvenience as you wave at the drivers to back up their vehicles.
This is a common occurrence for students at Grand Rapids Community College, but maybe not for long. GRCC administrators are working on a plan to create a Raider Card app that can be downloaded on an iPhone, Android, and select other smart phones—a change that would make putting funds on your card as easy as tapping a few buttons on the screen.
Currently students have to enter their credit card information through their Blackboard account every time it is needed to distribute funds, or go in search of a machine to add money on their cards. The new app will allow students to conveniently add money directly through their smart phone. Paulo Teles, Associate Director of Student Life said the app will be safe to use, because it will only display the last four digits of your credit card number, and this information will be saved after the first transaction, making subsequent transactions even faster.
“I think students will be amazed at how it will improve the speed of getting in and out of the parking ramps,” said Teles. He has been on the planning team to make the campus at GRCC more mobile and accessible to students.
There are more benefits to this app than just loading money onto the card though. Through this app, it will be possible to track all of the transactions to make sure the amount on your card is accurate. This is also useful to avoid those unnecessary trips to a Raider Card machine to make sure you have enough money on it. The new app allows students to save time, as well as reduce stress of wondering how much money there really is on the Raider Card.
Ross L. Pike, part of the Student Leadership Advisory Council and College Democrats President said, “It’s imperative to make Raider Cards easily accessible. We live in a mobile society, and (the college) needs to make sure that it is implemented for students.”
That’s exactly what GRCC administors say they are trying to do. Another way the administration wants to improve students’ experience on campus is to introduce a contactless feature to the card. The new feature will be tested by a select number of students to see if they find this form of reading the card easier than swiping it. With this new feature, getting a Coke from the vending machine or entering the Ford Fieldhouse is as easy as tapping a Raider Card on the reader, instead of wrestling with swiping the card either too fast or too slow.
Teles expects students to embrace the upcoming Raider Card improvements.
“The technology towards the mobile app will be very natural for students,” Teles said.