University News

Bear Bucks receives mixed response

Senior Staff Writer
Monday, February 6, 2012


The new centralized vending system called Bear Bucks has the convenience and user-friendliness of a debit card and promisesto outdo the constantly out-of-order Card Value Center machines. But some students are experiencing difficulties as the system transitions.

“Turns out, they changed the old vending stripe machine in Faunce into a Bear Bucks machine,” said Ted Burke ’14, who was trying to put cash on his vending stripe to do laundry. This “makes it even less likely that I’ll be able to add money to my vending stripe to do laundry given the number of the remaining CVC machines that are usually broken,” he added. Three CVC machines remain on campus. The rest have been replaced by ValuePort III machines, which allow students to access their Bear Bucks accounts.

But the new system aims to target just that problem. “The biggest thing was getting away the CVCs that were consistently broken,” said Scott Thacher, director of information technology for campus life and student services.

“The biggest change from a conceptual basis is that with the new system the value that you’re going around making purchases with doesn’t exist on your card anymore,” Thacher said. “It actually exists in a central place.”

Students will no longer transport their funds with them on their ID cards, Thacher said. “If you lose your ID card, the money still exists.”

“I like the new system more because if you lose your card, the money on Bear Bucks doesn’t get lost,” said Audrey Chang ’13. But she added that it is imperative that “enough of the Bear Bucks machines” be installed on campus.

As the new semester is still in its initial stages, many students remain unaware of the new system. “I didn’t know any changes had taken place,” said Olivia del Balzo ’14.

Bear Bucks — which functions as a “debit card” for students’ needs, said Richard Bova, senior associate dean of residential and dining services — are not currently compatible with the type of readers in the laundry machines the University currently uses. “As we look at migrating the system, we need to change the readers to tie it all together,” he said. Bova added that the University has started a proposal to complete this migration.

“Feedback is very valuable during this transition phase,” Thacher said. “We tried very hard to hit the mark with what we anticipated people’s needs would be, but if there are things we can improve on, we’d love to know about them.”

Students can expect changes to extend beyond the realm of PAWPrints, vending stripe and declining balance. “You’ll be able to pay with Bear Bucks at the Health Services pharmacy,” Thacher said. “That will be up and running in the next couple of weeks.”

The University will officially announce the inclusion of pharmacy charges in the Bear Bucks system in the near future, he said.

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