Starting Monday, students will be able to access a survey on the Hive Web site to vote on the off-campus businesses that they would like to see accepting Flex starting in the Fall. This initiative, started by the Students’ Association Senate and headed by sophomore Greg Meditz, has taken effect as the result of ongoing requests by students.
“The idea of bringing Flex off campus has been something the school has considered for some time – I don’t have dates and times but Dean of Students Jody Asbury and Director of Wilson Commons and Student Activities Anne-Marie Algier have both emphasized that this is something they wanted to see come to life for a long time,” Meditz said. “The Senate has been contributing in many ways, ranging from helping put together the survey, helping with advertising or simply contributing its ideas and advice.”
The survey, which will be available online for one week, will allow students to vote on which businesses they would most like to see accept Flex. None of the businesses have been notified yet and will likely be contacted over the summer pending the results of the survey.
“I think it is a great idea because it is part of continually opening up a variety of venues to students and blurring the line between campus and the community,” Jody Asbury said. “Students are always interested in variety in food, entertainment, etc., and this allows their Flex dollars to cross into new venues easily.”
Asbury has worked with Director of Campus Dining Services and Auxiliary Operations Cam Schauf, Dean of the College William Green and Anne-Marie Algier in supporting this task.
Schauf has been working with Meditz and the Senate into looking at schools that have similar models currently running, especially those schools who use Blackboard, which is the program UR uses to manage its Flex.
Schauf is visiting SUNY Geneseo next week to assess their model.
“We’re looking into the logistics about how to make it work,” Schauf said. “We are looking at other schools
for two reasons – to make sure it works and to see how they went through the politics of starting the program. How big was the pilot group? We don’t want to start too big because we need to make sure vendors get value on their end – they’ll have costs associated with accepting this program.”
The businesses will be able to either rent or buy a Flex machine.
Although some people have criticized the idea so far, stating that the program does not really allow any more freedom than simply using a credit card off campus, there are many students getting very excited about it.
“Sometimes I forget to take my credit card off campus, but I remember my ID card, so I think this is awesome,” freshman Jenna Mantis said.
In addition, the program strengthens the link between UR, the Rochester community and the RED program.
“The program says that the lines between life here and off campus are not so clear and that our world is getting bigger and our reach broader,” Asbury said.
Students tend to agree with Asbury.
“Being able to use Flex off campus would be like using a credit card that is not real money,” freshman Sarah Novatt said.
Students who participate in the upcoming survey also have a chance to win a free iPod for suggesting a new name for “Flex” that will reflect its broader use.Paret can be reached at email@example.com