September 29, 2003

EmoryCard a versatile tool

Eric Rangus

The black stripe on the back of every staff and faculty member’s EmoryCard is a powerful—yet vastly underused—tool. It can do a lot more than grant its user access to the Woodruff Library.

Through an effort known as the EmoryCard Advantage Program (ECAP), members of the Emory community now can use their cards for purchases not only on campus, but also at several area merchants.

Guiding ECAP is a five-member Student Merchant Advisory Committee, charged with identifying and prequalifying merchants they feel would be strongly supported by Emory students. Since ECAP’s creation in March, the focus has been on restaurants. So far, six area eateries have come aboard: Cold Stone Creamery, Doc Chey’s Noodle House, Everybody’s Pizza, Kyoto Joe’s Japanese Grill, Willy’s California Style Burritos and Wing Nuts.

“They are my quasi-board of directors,” said EmoryCard Director David Siegel of the advisory committee. The EmoryCard office is part of Campus Life. “A lot of the responsibility for the success of the program has been given to them.”

The idea was to attract businesses that appealed to students, but as every diner at each of those places knows, a significant amount of their clientele is staff and faculty. The EmoryCard is another avenue for payment. It can be used exactly like a debit or credit card.

Siegel said that in the past few faculty and staff have sufficiently utilized their EmoryCards for anything other than on-campus identification. The rollout of the faculty/staff dining account at the beginning of the fall semester has changed that. While statistics aren’t kept, Siegel said that a significantly greater number of nonstudents have opened accounts.

For faculty and staff, those accounts take two forms: the faculty/staff dining account, which is exclusively for on-campus dining; and the PLUS account, which is for off-campus dining as well as on-campus purchases. Money for ECAP comes from a user’s PLUS account.

Deposits to a faculty or staff member’s PLUS account can be made at one of the several EmoryCard automatic deposit machines located in the Woodruff, Health Sciences and Law libraries, the Rollins School of Public Health, the Goizueta Business School, White Hall, the Cox Hall Food Court and the EmoryCard office, located in room 270E of the Dobbs Center.

Employees wishing to activate or add funds to their faculty/staff dining accounts can do so online at or at the EmoryCard office. A minimum of $25 must be deposited to activate a dining account. Through the faculty/staff dining account, members will receive 5 percent off all
on-campus food purchases.

A faculty/staff member’s PLUS account covers all off-campus food purchases as well as non-food purchases on campus (such as at the bookstore). Members do not receive a 5 percent discount at participating businesses.

Siegel said he and the committee are preparing a report for Ron Taylor, associate vice president of Campus Life, that will help determine whether ECAP will continue. The committee then will make recommendations on new merchants. If any are okayed, they most likely would be added in the spring.

If any of the current restaurants on the ECAP roster have a say, the program will be sticking around for a while.

“I just spoke to people at a couple of the restaurants, Wing Nuts and Doc Chey’s, and each said they’ve had an increase in sales,” said Amrit Dihr, a sophomore international studies major from Los Angeles and chair of the advisory committee.

“Most merchants are very receptive to participating in the program,” Siegel said.