Mobile app rewards students for staying off their phones


The mobile smartphone application “Pocket Points” allows students to gain discounts by not using their phones in class while on campus.

Ryan Grysen, a senior studying information systems is Central Michigan University’s campus representative for Pocket Points.

Grysen said the points students acquire in the app can be used at 22 businesses in Mount Pleasant. There are also double points on Tuesday.

“It’s a brand new idea, it’s kind of technology trying to get rid of technology,” Grysen said.

The free app is used at more than 150 schools nationally, and CMU is one of three schools in Michigan to use it. The other two are Michigan State and the University of Michigan.

“The guys who started it go to California State," Grysen said. "They started it because when they were in a big lecture hall, every single student was on their phone, so they started brainstorming like 'What exactly should we do to solve this problem?'"


Screen capture from Pocket Points, showing the location of all the business that offer discounts through the app.

Grysen started working at Pocket Points this summer and was responsible for making a “geo-fence” grid around campus so the app could track when students are in an academic building. Grysen is also responsible for promoting the app. He works with local businesses to keep coupons updated.

Lapeer senior Megan Lamphere said she has been using the app since MainStage in August. 

“I’ve used it at Papa John’s and Doozie’s so far,” Lamphere said. “At Doozie’s I think you can get a free waffle cone.” 

Lamphere is hoping to use Pocket Points at Erbert and Gerbert’s, because they have some good discounts, she said. One coupon is 10 percent off the whole meal, and another one is a free drink.

To use the app, location settings need to be turned on. The time it takes for students to gain a point depends on how many students are currently on campus using Pocket Points. 

The more students on campus at that time, the faster each student earns their next point. By being on the main screen of the app, a “lockscreen” is created, meaning students are unable to look at text messages without the app closing out to avoid stopping earning points.

“You can click on the place you want, and then it shows you the coupons you have available,” Lamphere said. “If I wanted to use something, I would click on it and hit ‘purchase’ and then I get 24 hours to redeem it. And if something is a little confusing it will give you more explanation. Then the cashier just approves it.”

Sophomore Madison Drouillard said she has about 35 points so far, and she uses it whenever she remembers.

She said the app is helps her stay off her phone. 

Drouillard is hoping to use it at Menna’s Joint and Dog Central. Businesses she would like to see participate are Walmart, CVS and Walgreens.

“I like how easy it is to use," Lamphere said. "I don’t have to give up anything, I just don’t look at my phone during class. It’s very simple. Especially if it’s a building that has a computer lab in it because even if I’m not in class, I can still get the points as long as I’m not on my phone.”


About Cala James

@Cala_Christine | Staff Reporter

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