Taking the Show "On the Road"

Posted By: Kim Pfeffer Positive IDentity Blog,

At the start of the Fall 2018 semester, EmoryCard had hundreds of students and staff waiting an average of 20 minutes in a lobby less than 600 square feet; the longest wait clocked in at 1 hour 36 minutes!  As you can imagine, this did not go unnoticed by faculty members making their way through the building. To quell any hullabaloo (and stop those nasty DMV rumors), we needed to add a stop-over on our journey to improving customer service – immediately. There must be a way to get the crowds out of the lobby and bring our services directly to the locations where they are needed most.  So, the “mobile unit” idea was born!

To address the increase in customer traffic and lengthy wait times we worked quickly to put together three units, that can be easily transported throughout campus, by May 2019. The units are full card production terminals, stocked with laptops, printers, laminators, cameras, backdrops as well as the miscellaneous wires, power strips, printing supplies, and all-important mirror stored in two Pelican cases.   All in, the cost for the three units ran us just over $33k. 

The smaller case, housing the tripods, backdrop, miscellaneous cables, and accessories measures 3’ high by 3” wide and weighs approximately 25lbs. The larger case, housing the laptop, printer, camera, and power strip, measures 2’ high by 10” wide and weighs approximately 85lbs. This may sound like a lot, but the cases are on wheels and can be rolled out, set-up and managed by just one team member – saving the entire team time and energy during the busiest season of the year!

As our mobile units run on our campus Wi-Fi, we can bring services directly to orientation programs or host extended pop-ups in our Student Center during move-in, orientation and semester start.  Between 2018 and 2019, thanks to the mobile units and increased promotion of our online photo upload service, we saved patrons 19 hours of wait time and 13 hours of service time.  The Mobile Units also provided the opportunity to host our first EmoryCard Amnesty Day where we issued over 800 replacement cards, in one day, free of charge – no questions asked – to students, faculty, and staff.

The mobile units had a break in 2020, but we brought them back out in full force in 2021!  We continue to see a decrease in traffic at our office and an increase in the satisfaction of our customers and campus partners.


Kim Pfeffer is a first-term member of the NACCU Board of Directors. She serves as director of EmoryCard at Emory University since 2018, and has over 20 years higher education experience.