College students love to hate the same things. What do we hate? We hate going to class and being poor. What if there was a way to reward ourselves by going to class and paying attention? No, I don't want to hear about preparing me for the future. It's been five years since I took my first calculus class and I still haven't used it once. I want my reward to be tangible, measurable, and for the love of all things holy, useful to me.
Other than time, the most useful thing for any college student is money. So that's what these geniuses from Chico State decided to give us with the Pocket Points smartphone app. Pocket Points is an app that uses your location to determine if you're on a participating college campus or not, and rewards you for staying off your phone while you're there. For every 20 minutes you spend in a campus building without looking at your phone, you earn points that get you discounts and even free stuff from local and online businesses.
You don't have to go back and read that again. It's true. We have a reason to go to class now.
I just downloaded the app a few minutes ago and they hook you up with 15 points right off the bat, which is already enough to get discounts at places like AJ's, Red Mango and Mad Mushroom. Now, it's easy to get lost in the revolutionary idea of saving money while going to class, but this app has some seriously striking ideas behind it that we should all tip our hats to.
At its foundation, I think Pocket Points is something really incredible. It's a way for the community and our campus to support each other. Local businesses can now incentivize the students in their communities to attend class more often, and pay attention by saving them money as their customers. The university benefits with more attentive students, the local economy benefits by attracting more student business, and the students benefit on both ends with better grades and more savings. Everybody wins, especially us.
Our dependency on our phones causes us a lot of problems in several of areas of our lives, and we need as many reasons as we can find to become more independent of them. Our friends at Chico State took advantage of the glaring commonalities that all college students share: we like free stuff. The true heroism in this app is that they coupled it with our dread of the classroom, and reward us for overcoming our fear of note-taking by giving us the free stuff we so consistently crave.