Swipe needed more research

Current AMS media and volunteer director Dan Jacobs started a program last year intended to provide a convenient service to students as recognition of their association with the AMS. The program would implement a Swipe card to act as a hybrid--debit and coupon--card that could be used at all AMS venues on campus, as well as at selected local businesses. After six failed attempts in previous years, the Swipe card program was cancelled once again at the end of the summer, after it was deemed not cost-feasible, but not before $8,410 was sunk into the project. After so many unsuccessful efforts, one would assume the AMS would do extensive research into the costs and planning involved before investing considerable monies into the program. Last year, the AMS entered into a partnership with Toronto-based company Givex, who agreed to cover all startup costs required for the program to get underway. A flaw in the plan, however, was that the AMS wasn’t notified, and didn’t inquire, how much the project would cost. In order to fund the technology and Swipe cards for one year, Givex required the Kingston companies to put $5,000 into a floating account, which was too much to ask of small businesses for investment in a new program. When the AMS contacted Wells Hospitality, as an alternative to Givex, the estimated cost of $60,000-$65,000 was deemed unfeasible and the program was cancelled.

The AMS should have thought twice before starting up a program this large, for the seventh time, without sufficient financial information required to carry it through to the end.

Lack of institutional memory caused by the yearly turnover of students, allows these kinds of projects to consistently fail at the expense of students.

Since AMS executives spend only one year in their position, they often feel it’s important to do something big in order to leave a lasting impression. But sometimes, it takes more than a year to implement a successful program and failing to recognize that, proves an unsuccessful waste of student funds. The focus shouldn’t be on superficial attempts to make it like a program is being worked on, but instead on background research and behind-the-scenes preparation. At least this year Mike Cotton, who was terminated from his position as Swipe coordinator, is putting together a manual for future AMS members so that hopefully the same mistakes aren’t made again. It’s unfortunate it took more than $8,000 of wasted student money for the AMS to reach this conclusion.

All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to journal_editors@ams.queensu.ca.

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.