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ISSUE 117 VOL 16 PUBLISHED 4/23/2004

One-card upgrade debated

By Emelie Heltsley
Staff Writer

Friday, April 23, 2004

St. Olaf ID cards just might become more technologically savvy in the next few years, thanks to the one-card system trend occurring on college campuses across the nation.

The one-card system is just that - - one card that gives students access to entire networks of information. Seth Heringer '05, vice president of Student Government Association (SGA), pushed the one-card system during his run for SGA President for the 2004-2005 year.

"A one-card system would contribute to the safety, efficiency, reliability and convenience of the campus," Heringer said.

Card companies customize a one-card system to meet the needs of individual schools. Cards can access on-campus systems, such as the library, dining hall, residence halls and laundry facilities, but can also be programmed to reach outside the school, and be used as a credit, debit or "declining balance" card.

Heringer's main goal in promoting the one-card system is to start a campus-wide discussion to figure out what the student body needs.

Costs remain one of the main questions about the one-card system.

"It is expensive," Dean of Students Greg Kneser said. "Technology keeps changing, and we don't want to lock into old technology."

Roberta Lembke, director of Information and Instructional Technologies (IIT), said that St. Olaf "may want to step into a system, meaning we may start out offering just a few services and then grow the services on a funds-available basis."

Faculty and staff opinion is mixed on whether or not St. Olaf needs the one-card system. Pamela McDowell, Director of Residence Life, considers the one-card "convenient" but does not think that the school should use the system "if there are other things that the campus needs, such as computers, furniture, or student work."

Hays Atkins, general manager of Bon Appétit, said that he "would support any system that St. Olaf chooses to adopt." He does not think that the one-card system would greatly influence his sector.

"I don't think that a one-card system would have any impact [on the dining and food service]," Atkins said.

While Lembke does not think St. Olaf needs the system, she thinks it would "improve the way we provide services to the campus community."

Student opinions are mixed as well.

"I don't like it," Molly Sell '07 said. "We'd be just one step closer to the prophecy in Revelation where we all become identical members of a communist community with chips in our foreheads."

Emmy Kegler '07 thinks the system "sounds great," but would be worried about lost cards.

Kathleen Kephart '07 expressed similar concerns.

"It's a lot of money to replace a key card or regular ID individually, much less one card with everything on it," she said.

Security problems are another issue to consider.

"Students should be aware of the inherent security issues in having one card that gives access to everything," Atkins said. "What could someone do with your card between the time you lose it and the time you have it deactivated?"

Kneser calls the possibility of lost and stolen cards a "fact of modern electronics." He said that should a card be lost or stolen, students could report it and have their account frozen.

Heringer asks all students to share their opinions on the matter with SGA.

Heringer said, "I think the one-card system could really benefit this campus, but it will not become a reality until students push for it."

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