University News

Vending accounts may go online

By
Contributing Writer
Thursday, September 22, 2011

The hassle of abandoning wet clothing to refill a vending stripe in one of the University’s oft-broken Card Value Center machines may become a thing of the past next semester. A system under review, which would make the vending stripes on Brown ID cards obsolete, would be “a revision and update of the current system — moving the vending infrastructure from offline to online,” said Scott Thacher, director of information technology in the Office of the Vice President of Campus Life and Student Services.

Brown’s current vending stripe system — which can be used to pay for copies, laundry and vending machine purchases — depends on old magnetic stripe writers, Thacher said.

Currently, students must add money to the stripe from declining balance accounts or with cash through the CVC machines located around campus, which then send the new amount to the stripes. In the proposed system, students would be able to allocate money online for services that used to require the vending stripe, without the need to write new amounts to their cards.

“This is an opportunity to improve student services on campus,” said Richard Bova, senior associate dean of residential and dining services. The change would create “a seamless system,” he said.

The new system — which would not require students to get new ID cards — needs approval from the University’s IT Project Review Committee next month before being implemented, which could be as early as January. Thacher said the first services to be integrated would likely be printing and copying because they are  of academic interest to both students and teachers.

“It will be a one-card system and aims to create an ease of use across the board,” Bova said. “It is a transformative project in direct response to students’ questions, concerns and comments that will also benefit staff.