Handshake, MFA and mobile ordering discussed at forum

Katy Vaccariello, Staff writer

On Monday Nov. 4, Mercyhurst Student Government (MSG) held its biannual Fall Forum in the Student Union Great Room. What was once held as a panel discussion inter-action has now become a one-on-one question and answer opportunity following short discussion from the attending panelists.

“I thought this was a more approachable way for students to get the answers they needed, by asking the experts,” MSG President, Abby Staub, said.

This semester’s panelists included Heather Balas, director of the Career Development Center, Jeanette Britt, vice president for Technology and Chief Information Officer, Katie Boyd Parkhurst general manager and Hannah Cox, director of IT Client Services.These four panelists were invited to talk about the current changes taking place on the Mercyhurst campus.

“These four categories are hot topics right now, so we have Jeanette Britt speaking about the North East Consolidation,” Staub said. “We have Heather Balas with the discussion of the new Handshake app, and Parkhurst because of course dining is always a hot topic. Hannah Cox came from IT to talk about Multifactor Authentication being a new program on campus for students.”

Each of the four staff mem-bers making up the “Ask the Experts” panel was given a brief period of time to explain why exactly they were there.

Balas first explained that Handshake was a new app available to all students by using their single sign in account. The most important fact to re-member is that the app is a job posting platform.

Students will see on-campus employment opportunities, entry-level positions and reviews for potential employers. The app provides students with targeted information based on their interactions with the app, similar to Spotify’s algorithms. There is also access to request reviews of any formal document needed in the interview process such as a resume and cover letter.The second item addressed was the North East Consolidation. Britt discussed the influence behind the consolidation which dated back to 2016 when enrollment began to drop significantly.

Before jumping to the conclusion of consolidation, some renovations were made to in-crease interest in the school, but there was no change in two years. Task forces were created to investigate the low interest. With the facts collected by the task force present, the Board of Trustees voted to consolidate North East in two years. This grace period allows the current students to complete their degree, and the task force to work out all the intricate details of merging the two campuses together. Several details are in the works and will be shared in years to come.

The third discussion of the event was with Parkhurst and their initiative of mobile ordering with Boyd. Mobile ordering is available through the Get App. Within the app there is a link to order food from Anchor Express in Ryan Hall. Students can order pizzas, wraps and Starbucks drinks from the app and avoid the wait in line. It is only available for the Anchor Express, but over time as the program develops more options may become available.

The fourth and final topic highlighted was Multifactor Authentication with Cox. Multifactor Authentication is strictly for the security of the students. This form of protection is the first visibly seen by the students when protecting their identity online. Multifactor Authentication is protecting the student body from 99% of the identity attacks out there. Several students have expressed the inconvenience of this protection. Cox explained that IT will work with students to make the process more efficient and less inconvenient. The longer you work with the program, the easier it will become.

Overall, the Fall Forum gave students a chance to learn about all of the new features available to them from various parts of Mercyhurst’s campus