Apr 13, 2010

Flames Pass pilot fires off

by Christopher Scott

Eating Ramen noodles on a daily basis is part of a college student’s job description. Most students will do just about anything for free food, which is why 100 Liberty sstudents’ day greatly improved on April 1 when they were notified that they were selected to partake in the Flames Pass pilot program.

The students randomly selected to participate in the Flames Pass pilot program and were given $50 worth of credits to use at off campus dining locations.

“Because I do not get off campus a lot, I get to try new places,” Christiana Caminiti said.

She was one of the students randomly selected to participate in the pilot program.

“I tried Jersey Mike’s and Buffalo Wild Wings,” Caminiti said. “I have been here five years and never have (gone there).”
Senior Jake Holland was ecstatic when he got his card.

“I was pretty pumped,” Holland said. “I was rather excited to learn that I was given $50.”

“Students love it,” Liberty OneCard Director Pat Faulkinberry said. “We can see transaction history already and students are spending their money. Some a little at a time and some a lot at a time.”

Current participating locations include: Buffalo Wild Wings, Sheetz, Jersey Mikes, Dominos Pizza, Bojangles, Sundae Grill, Shanghai Express, Pueblo Viejo, Golden Corral, Honey Baked Ham and Little Caesars.

Students will also be able to use their cards at on campus locations including the Founders Food Court, which is currently the only on campus location participating in the pilot.

The pilot program is designed to work out any kinks there may be in the new Flames Pass card system.

“We have had a couple of little bumps but nothing major,” Faulkinberry said eight days after the pilot launch.

From May 4-6, all resident students will be able to pick up their new cards at the Tolsma Indoor Track at Campus North.
“I would highly recommend not waiting until the fall,” Faulkinberry said.

Each card grants students access to a declining balance account which contains funds separate from meal swipes and points. According to Faulkinberry, students cannot overdraft their declining balance accounts but will have their card rejected if the balance is insufficient.

“It is in what is called a closed network,” Faulkinberry said. “When you swipe your Flames Pass at Buffalo Wild Wings, the reader (data) will come right back to the transaction server on this campus.”

Through Blackboard, students will be able to view transaction history as well as make a deposit to be used as “Flames Cash,” a name pilot participants voted on, with their Flames Passes. Flames Cash will be renewable, carrying into new semesters unlike meal points which expire at the end of each year.

Students can also check their Flames Cash balance or add funds to their accounts with cash, credit or debit by using a device located in DeMoss Hall (near the Higher One ATM) named PHIL. PHIL currently can only be used to check balances for pilot program participants but will be fully operational in the fall.

Money spent as Flames Cash is taxable, which is why the university estimates the new card will bring in $140,000 in sales tax revenue.

Once students have been issued their new Flames Passes in May, phase one of the re-carding process will have been completed. Faulkinberry said that phase two, beginning some time during the next school year, will entail getting Flames Cash spendable on things like vending machines, printing and laundry.

Every student will keep their OneCards to receive refunds from the university. The OneCard will also function as a debit or credit card for some students who choose to use Higher One as a local bank solution.

Contact Christopher Scott at
cmscott@liberty.edu.
 


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