Picture by Jacob Reynolds
The Bulldog Bucks program at Drake University had some expansion over the summer. Along with using Bulldog Bucks for food, laundry and printing, the program has extended its functions to include validity for Uber rides and usage at the Drake bookstore.
Sara Heijerman, the manager of the Student Services Center, said the expansion is a result of a simplified method of expanding the program from a technological perspective.
“Recently there was just an opportunity to expand the program without changing much technology on the back end and adding some additional functionality,” Heijerman said, “so we decided to implement that so the students could use it and that’s where adding Uber and bookstore usage was able to come into play this year.”
Heijerman also said Blackboard, which controls the Bulldog Bucks program, and Uber developed a functionality with each other last year, and Follett, the company that owns the bookstore, already had the Blackboard functionality, making the expansion easier to implement.
Katie Wilz, the Drake bookstore manager, said the bookstore talked with the University over the summer to get the program implemented, allowing the process to go more smoothly.
Wilz also said the Bulldog Bucks program expanding to the bookstore would be convenient for students looking for other payment options.
“It gives (students) another option of payment and I think it’s probably because a lot of parents may put money on the card,” Wilz said.
Wilz said the process of using Bulldog Bucks would be a simple method of giving the bookstore cashier a student ID.
“Basically, your Bulldog Bucks is a debit payment system,” Wilz said, “so money is already put on (an) ID earmarked for Bulldog Bucks and they use a method of payment which is basically a campus card.”
The Bulldog Bucks program usage in the bookstore will help students buy Drake gear before graduation or be easier on parents reluctant to give their children large amounts of money during a buying binge, Heijerman said.
“Bulldog Bucks are an account parents are more willing to put a little money on rather than just giving you a $100 bill or something like that,” Heijerman said. “They’ve also got basic toiletries and basic school supplies and things like that so if you’re in a little buying binge and want to grab something small at the bookstore, it might be convenient to use your Bulldog Bucks if you have your ID card versus using cash or money.”
The use of Uber can also be used anywhere, not just usage on the Drake campus or even in Des Moines, Heijerman said.
She explained, “Download the Uber app to your phone, as you would with any payment method, and instead of adding a debit or credit card or in addition to adding your debit or credit card as your payment method, you could just use a campus card instead.”
Heijerman said the use of Uber from a student’s Bulldog Bucks account would also be useful when a student is on a January term trip or abroad for the semester.
“We thought that was a great usage, especially for students who were traveling for J-term or traveling abroad where Uber is available. (If) you’re, say, going to New York City on a J-term trip, it could be a really convenient thing to be able to use Bulldog Bucks,” Heijerman said.