Lucky 13 contest celebrates 13 years of GoldPlus on campus


The GoldPlus Office — which manages Lehigh’s student debit account system — is in the midst an eight-week long event called “Lucky 13,” to celebrate the office’s 13th anniversary.

From September through November, students who use GoldPlus at participating off-campus merchants have the chance to win gift baskets with gift cards and other items in that particular year’s theme. This year’s gift baskets include Lucky Charms and other candies, as well as multiple gift cards. According to the office’s website, one goal of the celebration is to acknowledge the importance of GoldPlus merchants.

The off-campus merchants involved in the celebration are: Campus Pizza, Domino’s Pizza, Express Tanning Bethlehem, The Goosemen, Jenny’s Kuali, Lehigh Pizza, Molly’s Irish Grille & Sports Club, Rite Aid, Saxbys Coffee, Subway, Sunset Tan, The Yoga Loft and Upscale Stylez. Any student who uses his or her GoldPlus account at these businesses has a chance to win one of the gift baskets.

The celebration also includes on-campus merchants. Common Grounds, Upper UC Food Market, Baker’s Junction, Global Cafe, Lucy’s Cafe, Pandini’s and the laundry machines in dorms are also places GoldPlus can be used for a chance to win.

The tradition started in Fall 2010, the eighth year GoldPlus was offered off campus, with that year’s theme being “Great 8,” and has now become an annual two-month celebration.

While the number of merchants who get involved fluctuates yearly, there are certain merchants who always donate a gift card for all eight weeks, like The Goosemen, which donates eight gift cards every year.

Made with Canva/ Gaby Morera

Made with Canva/ Gaby Morera

Will Hlay, the GoldPlus and ID manager, said the event is not necessarily about getting people to use their GoldPlus accounts more frequently, but rather a celebration of the businesses accepting GoldPlus with an event that’s beneficial to both the students and the merchants.

“Students can win prizes and they’re using their GoldPlus anyway,” Hlay said. “It’s beneficial to the merchants as well, because you have to go to these merchants to have the chance to win.”

GoldPlus was originally created to alleviate safety concerns surrounding carrying money on campus, which was supported by parents of Lehigh students. However, GoldPlus is also largely about the convenience of being able to use the Lehigh ID card, which already provides building access and meal plan swipes. There are now over 5,400 students and faculty members who use GoldPlus.

“I love using GoldPlus,” Alex Cirella, ’18 said. “It’s easy. I don’t have to carry around any money.”

In addition to Cirella, Georgie Brattland, ’18, and Olivia Mobarakai, ’17, said another perk of using GoldPlus is that its connected to Office of the Bursar, which their parents put money into. They also said GoldPlus was convenient to use for laundry their first year at Lehigh, as opposed to using quarters. 

The merchants also had similar views on GoldPlus. Jenn Mitchell, who works at Saxbys, and May Toukolehto, who works at Johnny’s Bagels, said they both like the idea of GoldPlus and are glad to offer the service, but wish the technology of how GoldPlus works was better. They both said that they’d always accept GoldPlus, but they hoped the technology would improve so they’d have less trouble when using it. 

“We can only do one transaction at a time, and the lines end up getting long especially at busy times like lunch time,” Mitchell said. “It’s way too old school.”

Toukolehto agreed that the system is too slow, but said it’s good for the students.

Hlay said GoldPlus exists as a service that truly is for the students, and the celebration is a way to do something for the merchants who accept it. 

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