Elon University students use their Phoenix Cards on a daily basis. They’re a gateway to basic aspects of college life like meal plans, printing dollars and buildings on campus.

Recently, the Phoenix Card swipe method was dropped in favor of a faster, more convenient touch method. This method enables students to perform the usual functions with their cards simply by touching them to a receptor.

Although many criticize the university for overspending on major projects like new buildings, it is comforting to see a simple yet effective change being made to pre-existing structures on campus. This change is not being made out of necessity but for the convenience of students.

The change from swipe method to touch method has already been implemented in on-campus dining halls and eateries. It is beneficial in making transactions quick and effortless. If this current integration of touch technology is any indication of its success, its use across campus will streamline day-to-day activities on a broader scale.

Touch technology allows Phoenix Cards to be used without being removed from a wallet or bag, something previously impossible with the swipe technology.

The benefits of implementing touch technology and its planned integration on campus are obvious. Since swipe technology is less convenient than touch, this new technology should be installed wherever possible.

The collaborative efforts of Campus Safety and Police, the Phoenix Card Office and Instructional & Campus Technologies have allowed the implementation of the new touch cards. Touch access will be progressively added to academic buildings this semester, with plans to implement the new technology in residence halls this summer.

This new measure of convenience for students is a step forward in on-campus technology integration, and for that, we should be thankful. Although the actual conversion from swipe to touch is simple, it raises the question of what other ways new technology can be used to help students live and learn.

Beyond further changes in how Phoenix Cards are used, there are numerous possibilities of on-campus technology integration that could be explored.

There is still much potential for how technology is used in the classroom to enhance learning. Perhaps we could see more instances of mobile devices and social media in course curriculums or further developments programs meant to aid in student collaboration like Google Docs.

These are a few examples of technology integration that aims for convenience because they take advantage of devices and services that are nearly universal among students. 

The new Phoenix Card touch system isn’t Elon’s first major technological advancement, and it certainly won’t be the last.  Nevertheless, it’s important that we  support Elon’s programs for campus technology, whether it’s pioneering newer technology or developing entirely new methods of integration. We should accept that these kinds of change are important and beneficial in terms of their immediate and long-term applications.


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