Photo by: Henoc Kivuye
Student ID cards received quite the makeover for this upcoming school year, but it’s what’s on the inside that has the campus talking.
“This summer we remodeled the student ID cards, giving them proximity card technology,” Vice President of Information and Technology John Hermes said. “This means that the new cards have a smart chip inside of them.”
The former Oklahoma Christian University ID cards consisted solely of a magnetic strip.
“Magnetic strip technology is steadily becoming outdated and proximity cards are becoming the new standard for campuses now,” Hermes said.
But don’t expect to see extensive changes immediately. The few changes occurring this year will be appearing gradually.
“The most noticeable change around campus regarding the new ID cards is the new printing system,” Hermes said. “All of the campus printers now have a proximity card reader on them.”
The new card readers have changed the printing process.
“The way these readers work is that now when you print, your print job is sent to the main server and when you scan your new ID with the proximity card at the printer you want, your individual ID will send your print job to the selected printer,” Hermes said.
The new printing system is expected to save the campus thousands of dollars in printing materials.
“This year is our first year so we are expecting to break even with the initial start-up costs,” Hermes said. “The new ID cards with the proximity technology cost around $10,000, getting the scanners on the printers cost about $6,000 and the software ran about $20,000 but we expect to save around $30,000 a year. After this year we expect to see some big savings.”
While returning students can still use the old printing system, IT will be shutting down the old system within a few weeks.
“Ideally, within the next couple of weeks everyone will have their new ID cards and will be switched over to the new system,” Hermes said. “Right now there is still enough of a line for the new ID cards that we haven’t sent out any announcements in order to keep from worsening the issue, but we will be sending out official announcements within the next few weeks.”
While new printing technology could be the most immediate change from the new IDs, the school will implement other various changes as well.
“Students can expect to see some of the old exterior door magnetic strip locks being replaced with the proximity card technology, but individual locks at the dorms and apartments will remain the same for the foreseeable future,” Hermes said.
While initially a little rocky, the student response has been positive towards the new printing system.
“At first I wasn’t sure about the new print system,” senior Eric Alberts said. “It seemed like something wasn’t going to work or that they would have a lot of performance issues, but after figuring out how it works and actually using it for myself I’m starting to enjoy the new system.”
Students who have already switched over to the new printing system have expressed similar reactions.
“I think this new print system will prove to be a lot more efficient than the old one,” senior Tiffani Seeley said. “And for those who either dislike or haven’t switched over to the new system, after more information and instructions for the new system comes out, I think they’ll grow to like it, too.”
Proximity chips aren’t the only changes to student ID cards this semester. Thanks to Oklahoma Christian’s marketing department, this year’s student ID cards have been outfitted with a brand new look.
While the student reaction towards the new printing system has been consistently positive, opinions about the student ID card’s new look have varied across campus.
“I really like the new design for the student ID cards,” Alberts said. “I really like the maroon and white because they’re OC’s colors and I think the new ID cards show a type of school spirit that the old ID cards didn’t have.”
Some students disagree.
“Personally, I liked the old ID cards better than the new ones,” Andrea Dennis, a senior graphic design major, said. “Style-wise, I think the new ID cards are plain and I preferred the grey over the maroon.”
So far, integration to the new system has been fairly successful.
“The only problem we have come across so far is that students have to go to the cafeteria and get their meal plans and Eagle Bucks re-encoded to the new ID cards,” Hermes said. “It’s a little less convenient than we would like, but it’s better than the problems we could be having.”
To switch over to the new printing system, students must get their new ID cards at IT and install the new printing system. There is a link posted on IT’s website explaining the process, and any additional questions can be brought to the IT office.