by Madalyn Johnson & Jilleen Barrett, Web Editor & Asst. A&E Editor
New charging stations have been added to Kelly Commons. The screens that have been placed in the first and second floor of the building are designed by Rouge Media, a media company that prides itself in, “Reaching millions of consumers on their daily journey out-of-home.”
The commons that houses weekly guest speakers, Student Government assembly meetings, community service program meetings, communication club meetings and other important events has notably been admired by Manhattan College. In 2014, the building was commended for being certified LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) by the U.S. Green Building Council.
Now as the 2020 spring semester progresses, Kelly Commons has modernized the inside of its building even more by implementing what many students would call “screens”.
The company behind the charging stations specifically aim at drawing the attention of generation Z, college students who are occupied by regimes of meeting friends, doing homework and eating lunch in between classes, to specific messages. These messages mainly are sponsored by Rogue Media themselves. One in particular bribes students to become a Rouge Media Brand ambassador to earn rewards, such as $25 Amazon gift card, just by taking pictures of the advertisements.
The Office of Student Engagement’s Instagram account, “mcstudentengage” is also displayed on the screens as a current reminder for people passing by to check the school’s social media to find out about upcoming events. Recent announcements include the Student Government elections and renowned guest speaker, Sister Norma Pimentel’s visit.
The screens additional convenience of offering available charging spots for students does concern some. Junior Brooke Alexander, a commuter student, was pleased at the idea of a free phone charger that would be accessible at all times, but she’s concerned about the security of phones when left unattended at the charging stations.
“I wonder if your phone could possibly get stolen though because you put it on and then walk away, that’s my only concern. A free phone charger is always good,” Alexander said.
Aris Passalaris, a student in the class of 2021, explained how initially he didn’t understand the purpose of the charging stations because of how they appeared and when they were placed in Kelly Commons.
“Well it was pretty self explanatory,” Passalaris. “The screens on top didn’t really give me any information, but when I looked underneath the tabs, I kind of assumed that there would be wireless chargers and that’s why there was an uneven amount of circles at the bottom.”
Passalaris isn’t confident the charging stations will make a profound impact on how students observe ads and go about their day.
“I don’t really see the extra use in it, the thing is that they don’t really serve a purpose other than for the wireless chargeable students, but again, I’ve never seen any other phones there. So I wouldn’t really know how to gauge their usefulness,” he said.
In an email, Kenneth Waldhof, Director of Business Services, explained how confident he was that the charging stations will satisfy the needs of students. He explained how the screens show student oriented advertisements and announcements for the benefit of the company that provides them.
“Rouge Media gets their return through the promotions they sell to external product and service providers seeking to reach college students.” Waldhof wrote.
Waldhof as well addressed how Business and Conference Services worked with the office of Student Engagement to ensure a variety of ads, related to Manhattan College and sponsors of Rogue Media, are shown.
“I coordinated with the office of Student Engagement, whereby their office will manage and control college postings while also offering such opportunities to student organizations to post announcements and events,” he wrote.
John Bennett, the executive director of Student Engagement, who also spoke through email, stressed that the placement of the screens is mainly to provide chargers for students for their convenience as they proceed to different activities and clubs throughout the day.
“From our office perspective, this was a great, and free, initiative offered up to us by our business office that seems like such a win for the students. Having free charging stations in the building, especially when this is such a commuter hub, and sometimes students may not have their chargers with them, is a great addition,” said Bennett.