Almost 1,000 students on campus have given up their phones in class in return for rewards during these past few weeks of school.

Pocket Points is a newly created app that lets students gain points by having the app open while in academic buildings. Students can use the points gained to receive discounts at local businesses.

“The goal behind the app was to have a mission of keeping students off their phone during class, seeing that that’s disruptive to your own learning and also to your teachers who are up there lecturing,” said market representative for the app Tyler Rochelle.

After being developed by two Sigma Chi students, the app launched at Chico State University in California during Fall 2014.

Once successful, it moved to three other universities. Now, in Fall 2015, the app has been launched at 200 colleges, including North Carolina State University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

To gain points with the app, simply open the app and lock your phone. As time goes on, the app shows how much time you have until you gain a point. The more students who are using the app at the same time, the faster the points rise.

“The idea was to kind of unite the local college community with it,” said Rochelle.

“It’s 20 points for a free hour of flight at Defy Gravity. It’s also 15 for a free thing of queso at Monterrey’s,” said Rochelle. You can also use your points for online discounts on websites like Southern Marsh or Country Club Prep.

Other businesses that have joined include Chick-fil-A, Amalfi’s Pasta ‘n’ Pizza, Bento Asian Diner, and Blimpie America’s Sub Shop to name a few.

“The idea that gets them on is that they’re getting an access to the 27,000 person market at this school, that’s all coming through this app,” said Rochelle.

Rochelle has been working hard at getting businesses to join.

“We’re still signing on new businesses and we’re always trying to grow, so the businesses on the app definitely aren’t done and we’re not hoping they’ll be done anytime soon,” said Rochelle.

Pocket Points has proved to be a benefit for teachers, students and local businesses.

The free app can be downloaded on the App Store for iPhones and Google Play Store for Android devices.

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Alexandria Sands is the Niner Times' community editor. She is a senior majoring in Communication Studies with a double minor in Journalism and English. Sands' work has been published in The Charlotte Business Journal, Creative Loafing, The Gaston Gazette, The Shelby Star and The State Port Pilot. When she's not in the newsroom, you can catch her reading a book on Oak Island. Reach her at community@ninertimes.com or @alexsands_.

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