The FIU One Card Office: Solving Problems in Every Corner of Campus
Student Services. Administrative Services. Cost Savings. These three action items are almost a mantra to Mercedes Cesin and the staff at the Florida International University One Card Office. Cesin, the One Card office manager, has a goal of using the One Card and its technology to solve problems for departments across campus, and she has a long list of satisfied customers.
Back in 2014, the One Card office made the move to begin using Mobile Readers to help track attendance for department events. "There was an increased interest in tying attendance to budget requests, but there wasn't an efficient way to do this," recalls Cesin. Mobile Readers got the ball rolling, and it wasn't long before people were banging on the One Card office door, asking "How much does a reader cost? I want one." To Cesin's credit, she answers: "I never give them a price. I set up a meeting to figure out what solutions we can offer the department. We aren't interested in selling a reader, we are focused on offering a solution for a problem."
With solutions as their focus, the card office has made a big impact across campus. Satisfied customers include:
Parking and Transportation
The inter-campus shuttle used to use paper tickets that were not only difficult to track, but were easily copied, which led to fraud. The shuttle was frequently full of students making the 40-mile trek between campuses; however, the operation was losing revenue due to the fraudulent tickets until the One Card office presented a solution. Now Mobile Readers and the One Card are used to process ticket sales right on the shuttle. In addition to selling the tickets, the One Card office pre-programed the ticket prices in Mobile Reader, completely eliminating human error from the process. Now that tickets and revenue are accurately tracked, revenue is up and the shuttle has been able to begin offering an additional stop on campus. "Automation of the process helped lead the expansion of the service," says Cesin.
College of Business
At the College of Business, ongoing business etiquette events can be attended by students for extra credit. The events involve purchasing a ticket and tracking attendance to ensure the student gets the extra credit earned. All of this was handled manually before the college began working with the One Card office. Students had to pay in cash or with a check directly to professors – creating concerns regarding the university cash handling policy, as well as creating a nightmare for reconciling. "We told them we could help with that. By automating the ticket purchase, we've made it easier for the student. By automating the tracking and reporting, we've made it easier for the department," explains Cesin. Additionally, the One Card office created a location in CS Gold WebManager™ for the College of Business to track attendance. They can now view the bio information for the attending students, and are able to reach out via email to gather feedback to help them refine their offerings.
"It improved their program dramatically. They are no longer stuck with all that paperwork, and instead they can focus on the students," said Cesin.
The College of Business also offers catered meals for weekend students, with food set up in specific rooms for the students to grab during breaks. "It didn't take long to reach the day that the students arrived for dinner and there was no food. That is right, random people just walked in and ate it all!" recounts Cesin. Now a student assistant mans the door with an iPad® and checks students in. Cesin took it a step further: "We've set up a flag that certain classes can only eat at certain times, to control the flow of traffic. If you are in finance class and you try to eat at the business class time, you won't get in." The end result? Now there is always enough to eat for everyone.
Student Government & Campus Life
Among the most prolific users of the One Card and Mobile Readers are Student Government Association (SGA) and Campus Life at FIU. Using the technology to track attendance at events has become a key measurement for budgeting decisions for the groups. Campus Life is so reliant on the service that they purchased their own hardware so they wouldn't need to rely on the loaners the One Card office has for other departments. "They still leave their readers with us and we take care of assigning them out for them," explained Cesin. In addition to tracking attendance, the SGA can now charge admission for guests by using Mobile Readers with FIU students using their One Cards to pay the fees for their guests.
To comply with NCAA regulations, the football team needed a way to accurately track student attendance at games. They needed something reliable, and something auditable. Enter the One Card. "We had to set definitions: who is considered a student? Then we had to track how many tickets were given out to students," recounts Cesin. Mobile Readers are used at the gates, and the One Card office supplies game day reports to athletics every half hour, at halftime, and at the end of the game.
There are very few departments or groups on the FIU campus that are not taking advantage of the automated convenience supplied by the One Card office. "Customer service is what we do," states Cesin. She concludes, "I don't have to do anything or go anywhere to advertise what we do. People see a Mobile Reader and the One Card being used and they come to me, which is pretty cool. Even though we are charging these departments for the service, the solution that we are bringing is a lot more cost effective, and a lot more secure, than what they were doing with manual tracking."
For more information watch our video Ten Ways to Use Mobile Reader.