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Have you heard of the Red Card Program?

The potentially beneficial Red Card Program is under advertised to students

The Red Card Program at UMBC is a good program to promote off campus businesses and save students money, but is often unsuccessful because some students have never heard of it. Advertising for the program needs to be improved and its benefits should be shown to the student body.

The Red Card Program at UMBC is majorly flawed — not by design, but by lack of awareness. Many students are unaware of the potential benefits of this program.

The program allows for UMBC students to receive discounts at off-campus businesses by simply showing their red card. For example, students can receive discounts at popular restaurants such as Pho Saigon, Grilled Cheese and Co. and Taste of Aloha. They can even pay for Papa John’s pizza with their flex dollars.

Other businesses part of the program are Little Abner’s liquor store and Penguin’s Bar. The program’s potential is obvious — it helps students save money and promotes local businesses in Arbutus and Catonsville.

The main issue is that students are unaware of the program, as there is virtually no advertising of it around campus. A single post on myUMBC from October 2014 is the only real promotion of the program. The post then provides a link to a Facebook page, but that is only helpful if the user can find the post on myUMBC first.

“If no one had told me anything about the red card program I wouldn’t have known,” said Dylan Nathan, a junior graphic designs major. “They should make it more known or advertise more about it. If I was going to a place that offered it I would definitely use it, I mean why not?”

UMBC should want to create a good relationship between its students and its surrounding business communities. The Red Card Program has potential to help with these relations and was even created for that reason.

It was created by the Student Government Association as a program to positively affect the local economy from the UMBC Community. The program is now overseen by the Service and Community Department of SGA.

“We are still in progress of advertising to the entire campus,” said Ally Yang, sophomore biochemistry and molecular biology major and head of the department facilitating the Red Card Program. “There is a Facebook group right now, UMBC Red Card Program, and it has all the businesses participating in the program.”

UMBC often has a difficult time getting students to participate in events on-campus, so organizations need to work extra hard to advertise for a program that focuses on off-campus businesses. There should be more advertising on myUMBC that would also have frequent updates and reminders for students.

New students, whether freshman or transfer, should be told about the Red Card Program when they come to the university. This way, they can start off knowing about the program. It appears that most knowledge of the program is through word of mouth, but could vastly improve if the SGA works to spread the news even more.

Some restaurants, like Pho Saigon and Taste of Aloha, cater to a good amount of UMBC students. In some cases, the program has been successful, but it still needs a lot of work.

“Red Card Program is just more [sic] than getting discounts at different stores,” said Yang. “Next time anyone uses the the Red Card to get a discount, think about how this is possible. You are able to do this because of the impact UMBC has on businesses around campus. We rely on them for dining, they rely on us for customers. To me, that is successful community outreach.”