Every generation embraces unique values, motivations and expectations. Generation Z has been attracting attention in marketing circles because of the unique characteristics that make them different than their predecessors —Millennials — requiring colleges and universities to dramatically redefine their approach to creating positive user experiences for this group on university campuses.

If you hadn’t heard, Gen Z (or iGen) consists of those born from 1995 through 2012. This is the first generational group that has never lived without the internet; they are digital natives. Unlike previous generations, they clearly understand how technology works and how to filter out what is not relevant to them. Gen Z students are known as the mobile generation with short attention spans, and can multi-task on an average of 5+ screens. They communicate in pictures and are constantly creating their own “brand” through YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram and other social media. They also have grown up in a ratings world where a five star experience is an expectation versus an aspiration.

How does this translate to a University ID Card Program? The student experience encompasses all of the touchpoints that a student has with the university. The issuance of the campus ID card at orientation, one of the first touchpoints, sets the tone for a student’s experience. A new and upgraded approach, starting with the university ID card program, ensures a positive beginning to the student experience for Generation Z.

Doing things “the way we always have done them” is not going to cut it for Generation Z. Recently, I went with my daughter to her college orientation and stood in line for nearly 30 minutes waiting for her to get her student ID. With what we understand about the short attention spans of Generation Z, does this sound like a great student experience? Gen Z students are a major participant in “influencer marketing” where they not only listen to others across various digital channels but they love to share what they learn and experience. Just image how many Snapchats, Instagram posts or YouTube videos will be shared showing their dissatisfaction waiting in line to be enrolled for their student ID cards when their expectation is to have a digital and quick five star process?

How many universities market a brand image of “High Tech Research University” to students and end up having a Student ID card that rivals a retail wholesale club card? On the one piece of tangible university branding that students use and interact with on a daily basis, does this really best communicate the university’s desired brand image? How about this “tech- forward” university not using the ID card for multiple functions across campus (access control, vending, meal plans, laundry, library, transportation, etc.) while a two-year school down the road is? Does this communicate the right message to students and reinforce the university’s value?

The campus card administrator plays a huge role in the student experience, while trying to balance adding functionality with infrastructure costs, tight budgets, and overall program security. This is a complicated task — Entrust Datacard can provide assistance. Entrust Datacard offers innovative, custom-tailored ID technology solutions to meet and exceed the unique needs of Generation Z, while helping to navigate the needs and complexities of today’s University Card Administrator.

Innovative Solutions Include:

1. Streamlining student orientation with multi-location capture, enrollment and printing capabilities

2. Enabling student IDs to be used safely and securely throughout campus and beyond with contactless “OneCard” multi-use IDs

3. Enhancing or personalizing your school’s brand image with vibrant ID images, and improving card security and durability through state of the art printings and supplies technology

Create positive student experiences through your ID program with the Entrust Datacard Ultimate Identity Solution for Higher Education.

To learn more and talk with an expert, visit https://www.entrust.com/solutions/industries/education.