KSA discount cards fail to catch on with students

ESC program rollout faces repeated delays.

By Chloe Smith
[contributor]

The Kwantlen Student Association (KSA) has launched a new $10,000 student discount card project that students likely haven’t even heard of. The KSA began distributing customised discount cards to students in late October.

According to a KSA staff person, only 200 of the 2,500 cards purchased have been distributed. The current batch of purchased cards will expire later this year.

Christopher Girodat, the KSA’s director of student services, has piloted a discount card program. (Matt DiMera/The Runner)

The cards are designed and produced by Endless Savings Card, (ESC) a Langley-based company that offers discounts for over 450 different businesses, ranging from Chapters to Six Flags, to 19 different golf courses, 17 spas and resorts and countless restaurants throughout Metro Vancouver. The KSA has so far spent $9,660 on the trial project. The ESCs have been available at the student services desks on each campus since Oct. 26.

“These cards give Kwantlen students access to discounts . . . around all of our campuses, which works well for us since we are a multi-campus institution,” said Christopher Girodat, the KSA’s director of student services, in an interview with The Runner last October. Girodat submitted plans to the KSA executive committee for promotions for the cards to happen on all four campuses between Oct. 17 and 29, none of which actually happened.

Girodat stated via email that the absence of a marketing and communications coordinator, which had been vacant since January 2011, had prevented those events from taking place.

In the Jan. 2 agenda for the KSA council meeting, another report from Girodat stated that, “we are going to be issuing hundreds of KSA discount cards at New Student Orientation and with Welcome Week on each campus.”

However, no cards were given out at Welcome Week because the start date for the new marketing and communications coordinator, Josephine Wong, “didn’t pan out” for the event.

According to an earlier report from Girodat, the results of the trial program were to be reviewed and if the program was successful the KSA planned to purchase an additional 10,000 cards for $1.95 each, with a total at a cost of $19,500.

“The really cool thing about this program is it’s not just a set list of merchants,” said Girodat in October.

“The Kwantlen Student Association, through myself and through student services committee; actually we have the capacity to go out and reach out to new vendors and to add them ourselves to the program. We can make this really a customized KSA discount.”
Currently, the KSA is still waiting for approval to add any merchants to the program.

The list of participating merchants includes everything from animal dermatology specialists to hypnotherapy and Reiki. The locations are scattered throughout the Metro Vancouver area, many of which are not located near Kwantlen campuses.

For example, while the discount card can used at seven locations of Nando’s Flame Grilled Chicken, it isn’t valid at the location closest to a campus, the Ackroyd franchise, which is an eight minute walk from Richmond campus.

The Runner asked a random sampling of Kwantlen students if they thought that they would benefit from new discount cards.

Taryn Myddleton, a general studies major, told The Runner how she would use the card: “definitely coffee, coffee shops, because I drink a lot of coffee and the gyms are a good one.”

Ellen Koehler, a Surrey student, criticized the ESC cards for having a lack of recognisable vendors.

“I think it’s a good idea in general, but … I just don’t recognise a lot of the places,” she said.

Overwhelmingly, students said that if name brand franchises such as Tim Horton’s, Starbucks, and more grocery stores were included, then they might use the cards.

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