Preparing to Make the PennCard a 'Smart Card'

In Progress: A Campus Card Steering Committee

As the University's PennCard is readied for upgrade to a "smart card" with new functions, Vice President for Business Services Steve Murray has announced preparations for a Campus Card Steering Committee with purview over the policies, procedures and services related to the card's use. "The PennCard has historically served as the official University identification card," said Mr. Murray. "It is now used widely for building access, especially in residence halls; but it is also used with dining meal plans, recreation and library services, and purchases at the Bookstore and other locations.

Newer cards have digital photos and these photos may also be used for other purposes, including class rosters and school yearbooks. In August 1997, the PennCard will provide a variety of new financial services to students, faculty, staff and alumni as the new PennCash program is rolled out for Fall 1997.

"The charge of the Campus Card Steering Committee will be to review the current policies and business rules governing PennCard use, to provide input into the rollout of the new PennCash services, and to provide ongoing oversight of future uses of the PennCard," Mr. Murray said. "Initial areas of discussion will include privileges granted by each type of card, use of SSN, card fees, and digital photos.

The Campus Card Steering Committee will be chaired by Laurie Cousart, Director of Telecommunications, who will now also have administrative responsibility for the PennCard Department, headed by Frank Neithammer. Membership of the PennCard Steering Committee will include representatives of the Offices of the President, Provost, VPUL, ISC, Student Financial Serices, Student Information Services, Public Safety, University Libraries, Human Resources, Development & Alumni Relations, and Intercollegiate Athletics. Represenation will also be invited for undergraduate and graduate student leaders, the University Council on Communications, and the Faculty Senate.

To the University Community: Re Uses of the Magnetic Stripe

Business Services and Information Systems & Computing will soon begin modifications to the information that is encoded on the magnetic stripe of the PennCard. These changes will permit the introduction of additional services using the PennCard that are expected for Fall 1997 and will also introduce an alternate identification number to the Social Security Number that is currently in use as an identification number for students, faculty and staff.

These changes will be implemented in such as way to prevent any disruption of services that currently use the encoded data on the PennCard magnetic stripe, including dining meal plans, building and room access, Van Pelt Library, and purchases at the Bookstore, Wharton Reprographics, Chats, Stern Dining, and High Rise Commissaries. Provisions are being made to handle these changes for the card readers and systems that are linked to and managed by PennCard (dining, access, library, bookstore, etc.).

We are concerned, however, that there may be other areas of campus that are swiping the PennCard and using the data on the magnetic stripe for purposes of which we are unaware. The planned changes to the PennCard magnetic stripe will impact those services.

If you are aware of any use of the PennCard magnetic stripe in your school or center, please immediately contact Frank Neithammer, Director, PennCard Center, at 898-9810 or at frank@dining. so that arrangements can be made to include your area's use of the PennCard in the planned modifications. Thanks for your help.

-- Steve Murray, Vice President for Business Services
-- Jim O'Donnell, Acting Vice Provost for Information Systems & Computing


Volume 43 Number 27
March 25, 1997

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