GW should embrace Apple’s student ID technology

A missing GWorld card spells disaster. You can’t pick up packages, eat dinner or even get into your residence hall without it. But if that information was stored on your iPhone instead of small, easy-to-lose card, there wouldn’t be a problem.

At Apple’s annual fall keynote event, the company proposed the newest slate of iPhones and Apple Watches. However, the announcement that went majorly unnoticed was the addition of a student identification program to the Apple Wallet app. Along with credit and debit cards, boarding passes and concert tickets, students can now use the app’s technology to pay for laundry, get into their residence hall and present identification. Adding GWorld to this program would make completing these activities more convenient for students.

Duke University and the universities of Alabama and Oklahoma currently have the program, while Johns Hopkins, Temple and Santa Clara universities will implement the service by the end of the year.

If GW added its student ID equivalent to the program, a simple tap of one’s iPhone or Apple Watch would allow purchases at select GWorld restaurants, admission to campus events, laundry transactions and more. The system uses the same security as Apple Wallet, so a student’s GWorld card would be just as secure as payment information in Apple’s system.

Adding the GWorld card, which works at more than 90 local restaurants, would solve a simple issue of convenience for many students. Not all food vendors use Apple Pay, but many establishments often frequented by GW students – like Whole Foods, Panera Bread and Dunkin’ Donuts – allow payment by iPhone or Apple Watch. Students could simply pay with GWorld, but via their mobile device, allowing for mobile orders that could ease congestion on our crowded campus.

The University’s tap-based systems outside residence halls, laundry rooms and some individual rooms would allow for this service to unlock these rooms. While some residence halls do not have scanned entry to individual rooms, implementing the service would still add convenience when entering the building.

Partnering with Apple doesn’t require an additional expense for any student – in fact, it could essentially eliminate the $25 replacement fee for GWorld cards, which would help economically disadvantaged students who might not be able to quickly purchase a replacement ID. Eventually, the University could transition into an all-digital format for GWorld cards, which would save funds and eliminate waste. While none of the University’s peer schools currently have an all-digital platform, it could prove an example of GW’s commitment toward eco-friendly and technologically-advanced alternatives.

Switching to this system would add convenience for students and would not pose security threats, and could easily work in the current technology GW has. The solution is simple – if the University aims to further innovation and convenience to improve the student experience, partnering with Apple Wallet is its best option.

Zachary Nosanchuk, a freshman majoring in political communication, is a Hatchet opinions writer.

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