By Lauren Hince
The OneCard promised to be one thing: a convenience. From laundry, to food, to granting entrance to residence halls. Students at Ripon College are able to use their OneCard as a master key to campus, but is this convenience always a good thing?
“A common problems for students was that they did not have cash with them when coming to meals,” said Katie King, president of Ripon People for Animal Welfare (R-PAW).
R-Paw was one of many groups fund-raising for the victims of Hurricane Harvey this past month. King and her group decided to ask for monetary donations because they figured it was something most students carried.
“We chose monetary donations in addition to donations of pet food and supplies. We knew that most college students would not have pet supplies on campus, so monetary donations would be more plausible for the students to participate in helping the animals,” said King
R-PAW tabled for a week and raised $77.54 in donations. Tabling just a week before, Jimmy Amedeo also coordinated a monetary donation drive. He partnered with the International Relations club, College Republicans, Young Americans for Freedom (YAF), Campus Christian Fellowship (CCF) and Sigma Chi.
Amedeo had better luck than King: “Over a week [and] a day we raised approximately $400.”
Despite the positive fund-raiser, Amedeo agrees that there is an issue with students never having cash.
“It is a tad bit discouraging when students that really want to help cannot donate because they do not have cash. Everything is electronic nowadays, most people use credit cards for a lot of purchases so cash is kind of dying out as a source of currency exchange. People may keep some money in their wallet for emergency, but for the most part they use their credit card for expenditures,” Amedeo said.
King sees the OneCard as being the potential source of this problem: “I think students do not carry cash because it is not necessary for most things on campus: their meals are covered in the meal plan and any other purchases (Starbucks etc.) can also be done using their ID card.”
Both Amedeo and King agree the solution is simple. King argues the college should send out emails ahead of time to remind students to bring cash with them during meals. Amedeo believes the college should invest in a card reader so student organizations can run cards.
“The solution would be to carry a card reader, but even then some card readers charge a convenience fee, which is more than what the student would donate in the first place. If there is a possibility to get a card reader with no convenience fee then that should be utilized,” Amedeo said.
Sharon Jackson, director of student activities and orientation, explains the college has looked into purchasing a card reader.
“Logistically, it would be difficult to use for what student organizations would use them for. To be most cost effective, all organizations would have to use the same account through whatever company we would pick,” said Jackson
Jackson explains that student organizations are coded differently than how departments are in the eyes of the business office. She anticipates that there would be issues over who exactly the funds were being raised by, and whose account they should be credited to.
Greek groups have been asking for card readers in an effort to make their philanthropy events more successful. Jackson explains that Greek groups would create a whole other mess of problems. “Additionally, Greek groups are in a third different type of coding than departments and student organizations,” she said. “Their accounts exist solely to track printing and fines. So the Business Office wouldn’t cut them a check for money they raised for their philanthropy…”
Jackson concludes, “So long story short, card readers may seem like an easy fix, but logistically, they are not a viable option for what student organizations are looking to accomplish.”