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New Pirate Card System Debuts This Fall

There has been a flurry of activity across campus this summer as Southwestern prepares to debut a new “One Card” system this fall.

The new card system will replace a variety of other cards on campus such as ID cards, meal cards and library copy cards. The new cards that can be used throughout campus are called “Pirate Cards.”

“We currently have a dozen cards of different types that show up on campus,” said Gary Logan, associate vice president for finance. “All those will eventually go away and we will have a new system that will provide much better customer service for our students.”

The new Pirate Card program is part of a $3 million technology enhancement program approved by the Board of Trustees in January 2004.

The first step in implementing the new system involved installing the necessary hardware and connecting these machines to the University network. New registers have been installed in the Commons and the Cove, and new card readers have been installed on most of the vending machines, copy machines and laundry machines on campus. Card readers also have been installed in the coffee bar located in the library and the concession stand in the Robertson Center.

The next step is to issue Pirate Cards to everyone on campus. Faculty and staff were offered the opportunity to get their cards in early August. New students will have cards made when they arrive on campus Aug. 18, and returning students will be given cards the following week. A special station will be set up on the first floor of the McCombs Center to issue cards.

There are several ways that card users can add money to their cards. One is by bringing a check to the Cashier’s Office in the Cullen Building, just as has been done in the past. A temporary card office also is being set up in Room 102 of Mabee residence hall. Pam Conger has been named the new Pirate Card Office Coordinator.

ATM-like machines also have been installed in the McCombs Center and the Library Periodicals Room. In addition to allowing students to add money to their cards, these machines will enable campus visitors to purchase temporary cards. Later this fall, students and parents will be able to access a Web site at piratecard.southwestern.edu to add money to accounts and review accounts.

Logan said students today are so accustomed to Web-based commerce that they should be easily able to adapt to the new system.

“Students want convenient access to our services and this system provides that,” he said.

He encourages students to “hang on to their cards and treat them like they are cash - which they are.” In the event that cards are lost or stolen, several offices on campus will be able to “deactivate” them. It will cost $10 to replace a Pirate Card, just as it did to replace the old ID cards.

The new Pirate Cards are just the first phase of Southwestern’s “One Card” system. In the future, Logan said, Southwestern may install a card-based access control system for dorms and offices throughout campus. The University may also approach selected Georgetown vendors about participating in the Pirate Card program.

“I would love to see the program expand,” Logan said. “It would be good for Southwestern and good for the community.”

For questions about the new Pirate Card program, call 512-863-1600 or visit the Pirate Card web site.