As both returning and new students return to campus this September, they’ll notice a big change: they will now be using the OneCard to pay at campus stores and cafes, enter dorms, access the Fitness Center, use printers on campus, and check out books from the library.
Ryan Noble, Associate Director of ITS, explained, “For over 20 years, the Deerfield community has been using a [Greer card], implemented by Dining Services in the 1990s. [This] old system grew into a point-of-sale system for the Greer, Athletics, Bookstore and access to the Fitness Center.” However, according to Mr. Noble, the Greer Card’s outdated magnetic stripe technology and software factored into Deerfield’s decision to switch to a new system.
Students will still be able to make payments at the Greer, Koch, Athletic Store, and Hitchcock House with their card, but the new OneCard system operates like a debit card, rather than a charge card. Before students can make purchases, they or their parents/guardians must deposit money into their OneCard accounts. Melissa Persons, Director of Financial Aid and Student Accounting, explained that this system gives parents/guardians and students the ability to monitor charges and deposit funds in the OneCard online, instead of using monthly paper statements to track charges.
This year, dorms will be locked and the OneCard will allow students key card access to all dorms until curfew. Mrs. Persons emphasized that “safety has always been a priority on campus and, as [the school] evaluated the need for an upgrade to the prior card system, updating the campus with a door access system emerged” as a necessity. Now that the OneCard acts as a key, Mrs. Persons said that students must “report the card lost so that it can be de-activated.” Students who lose their OneCard will also be charged a $70 replacement fee.
Mrs. Persons also explained that the OneCard is a tap card, so to use the card for any of its functionalities, you simply tap it against the card reader. A chip embedded in the OneCard controls the functionality, so Ms. Persons warned against punching a hole in the card, because it may disrupt the programming of the card.
Mr. Keith Finan, Associate Head of School for Operations and Chief Financial Officer, stated that a combination of factors indicated it was time for this change. He explained that the “software that runs the current Greer card is no longer being supported by the vendor,” and that there has been “an increasing number of requests to provide greater security to the students’ living quarters.” Because there was already a need to replace the current system and its technology, Mr. Finan said “it was both a timely and efficient opportunity to enhance the current system.”
Mr. Finan put together a committee that evaluated alternative card systems, proposed the OneCard system as a replacement, and, with the trustees’ support, implemented the new system.
Mr. Noble, the committee chair, believes that “the best part of this change is the opportunity the new platform provides for adding additional services down the road”—for example, “attendance tracking at required Academy events.” He also said that the updated system will “make supporting the system much more manageable in the long-term, thus placing ITS in a better position to roll out enhancements to the community.”
As with all new systems, there might be glitches as students come back to campus. Mr. Finan asked students to “please be patient and report those problems to Security or the Information Technology Desk respectfully.”
Ms. Persons echoed his statement: “One of the most challenging parts of this project was to define and create permissions for all of the different categories of users on campus. If you have an issue with your card… please send an email to Mr. Anthony Kenney.”