Fairfield University students to begin using University ID cards to make purchases off-campus

Fairfield University students to begin using University ID cards to make purchases off-campus

Image: Stagcard Fairfield University and local merchants are collaborating on a win-win program to make it easier for University students to buy from area businesses. Beginning this semester, students may now use their StagCards (University ID cards) to purchase items at participating local businesses.

Fairfield University students, faculty and staff may currently use their StagCards to make purchases on campus at the bookstore, vending machines, on-campus dining venues, and more. The University has contracted with a vendor, Bb One , a subsidiary of Washington D.C.-based Blackboard, Inc., to allow them to use their StagCards at participating businesses outside of the University.

"This has been a long time coming and we're very excited to be able to offer the Fairfield University community the opportunity to make purchases at their favorite local businesses by using StagBucks," said Mark Reed, dean of Students.

Students and their parents, as well as faculty and staff, deposit money onto the cards, which work like debit cards. Every undergraduate student is issued a StagCard. Funds are deducted from the accounts electronically when a purchase is made. Local businesses that would like to accept the StagCard must buy or rent a special terminal to accept the cards and pay a per transaction fee. The fees are negotiated between the businesses and Bb One .

Image: Stagcard By participating in this program, local merchants gain access to a previously unavailable pool of student funds and inclusion in University marketing initiatives for the StagBucks program. This year alone, Fairfield University students put approximately $310,000 on their StagCards, which does not include funds used for their meal plans. Reed said the University expects that number to grow as a result of the new capability to use the StagCard off campus.

"The use of the StagCard is really embedded in the culture of our student body, " said Paul Duffy, president of the Fairfield University Student Association. "Students have become accustomed to using the StagCards for all of our on-campus purchases, and we often do not carry any cash. Now we will be able to use the cards at many of our favorite businesses."

Six businesses have signed on to the program thus far: Chef's Table, 1561 Post Road; CVS/Pharmacy, 961 Black Rock Turnpike; CVS/Pharmacy, 700 Post Road; La Salsa, 580 Post Road; Nutmeg Bowl, 814 Black Rock Turnpike; and Rye Ridge Deli, 2267 Black Rock Turnpike.

Boston University had a similar system when Scott Martin, owner of Rye Ridge, was a student there. Martin said students regularly went to businesses that accepted the Boston University cards, and that he expects a similar result with Fairfield University.

"We're looking forward to see what kind of opportunity this presents us," Martin said, noting that Rye Ridge often does deliveries to students and that they can use the StagCards for those purchases as well.

Local businesses that would like to join the StagCard network can call the Bb One Merchant Hotline for more information: (800) 576-9279.

"The University continues to seek additional businesses to join the program," said Mike Tortora, Fairfield University's coordinator of Information Systems for Student Services. Tortora conducted student surveys to determine which businesses they would like to see participate. "This initiative will be beneficial for both the students and the merchants and we hope that as the program gains popularity more of them will sign up."

Tortora went on to say that liquor stores and businesses that primarily operate as bars are not eligible to participate in the program. In addition, the cards may not be used to purchase tobacco or lottery tickets at any establishment. The University and Bb One will monitor all network members and reserve the right to discontinue the contract with any business found in violation of the terms.

Bb One is offering a special discount for businesses that are members of the Fairfield Chamber of Commerce and were identified in surveys of Fairfield University students as one of the businesses they would like to see participate in the program. Those Chamber members who sign on to the program will not be charged the terminal rental fee for the first three months. Businesses that join the Chamber this year can still receive the discount.

"The Chamber supports the University's program and the efforts to increase student patronage of our local businesses," said Patricia Ritchie, president and CEO of the Fairfield Chamber. "We have arranged to offer this discount to our members so they have the opportunity to try the system and see if it works for them."

Contact: Melissa Chotiner at Blackboard Inc., (202) 463-4860 ext. 2404

Posted On: 01-20-2005 10:01 AM

Volume: 37 Number: 141