New this fall: KatieLink! A collaborative effort between IT, Public Safety, Residence Life, and Sodexo, the new web app connecting student life and operations officially launched this week.
KatieLink is a brand new web app, which means it is mobile-friendly and can be accessed on any device, allowing students, faculty, and staff to access its many functions with convenience. Through a range of features centered around student life, Katies are now able to manage their IDs and dining experience all in one place, wherever they are!
For more information, visit the KatieLink resource page.
Manage meal plan balances
Students can manage their meal plan balances through the app, both to check their meal point balance and deposit more funds. “We’re excited that on the same day [of deposit] you can access your funds and go purchase meals,” says IT business analyst Mary Oluwalowo ’18, who served as a project manager during development. “Here, you’ll be able to manage it all on the app.”
Order ahead for on-campus dining
Students, faculty, and staff can now take advantage of mobile ordering through KatieLink! Skip the line, and have your order ready by the time you arrive.
Donate excess meal points to others
Students can quickly and easily donate surplus meal points to other students in need, a practice that was previously informal and required in-person use of the donor’s ID. Faculty and staff can donate their Dining Dollars, and students can donate meal points. The donations to the Katies End Hunger fund to be allocated to students experiencing food insecurity.
Students experiencing food insecurity are encouraged to reach out to Access and Success at firstname.lastname@example.org to request additional meal points.
Share KatieLink access with guests
Students have the ability to grant guest KatieLink access to parents or guardians, allowing guests to manage their student’s balance. Katies can customize the level of access they would like guests to have, from viewing their balance, depositing funds into their account, or receiving notifications when the balance hits certain amounts.
“This will be great for parents who want to be a little bit more involved with helping their student manage their funds, as well as being able to provide additional funds if their student is in need,” adds Oluwalowo.
Use KatieLink as a virtual ID card
Future enhancements include a number of features surrounding ID cards. Students and employees will be able to update their ID photos directly through the app, and KatieLink will be able to serve as a virtual ID card when purchasing food. Students can also be able to report an ID card as lost or stolen through KatieLink and deactivate the card remotely, ensuring that it can’t be used.
“We had to really think about what we wanted to transition into the app, and a lot of the challenges came from manual processes that St. Kate’s is currently doing on the back end… An app eliminates a lot of those manual processes and makes [everyday functions] more automated,” says Oluwalowo.
After a year of preparation and several months of development work by cross-departmental University teams, KatieLink is officially ready for campus use. A test version has been live since June, enabling IT to spend the summer training Sodexo staff on the app and gradually add more features until the full fall release.
“This app really empowers students to take [their experience] into their own hands — they can plan ahead for things; if they’re experiencing food insecurity there’s a clear place to go,” says Oluwalowo. “I’m excited about the students that this app is going to help.”
Jean Guezmir, senior vice president and information officer, was also eager to adapt to the needs of current students. “When students raised a desire for dining to be more inclusive by offering meal point donation capabilities and flexible dining options for adult and commuter students, we listened,” says Guezmir, “and when the right team of creative, agile, and collaborative students, staff, and technology got together it happened. We are so pleased with the teamwork and inclusive improvements that were delivered in this initial launch.”