Temple students, faculty and staff are receiving new Owl Cards due to a combined effort by Computer Services and Diamond Dollars.
The new cards are part of Temple’s plan to update the IDs about every six years.
“It has always been the intent of both Computer Services and Campus Safety to re-card the university at a regular interval, and we’ve really settled on about six years,” said L. Scott Brannan, the director of Diamond Dollars and the Access Card Office.
Brannan talked about the Owl Card’s new “contactless” technology. This will allow users to tap the card against a card reader instead of swiping it. The new technology is currently being installed in all new electronic door swipe systems.
“Ultimately, we want to roll that same technology out to dining services so we can speed up lines,” Brannan said.
The Johnson and Hardwick cafeteria, the Student Center, Starbucks, the TECH Center and others could all benefit from the expedience of the new cards.
The new Owl Cards allow PNC Bank customers to use their IDs as ATM cards, but must activate this service through the bank first.
The biggest challenge was trying to get the new Owl Cards into the hands of more than 45,000 people, Brannan said. The logistics of the distribution process required sending the information to the printer in May to allow Temple to sort and distribute the cards by the beginning of this semester.
The last Owl Cards were released in 2005 when Temple switched from the use of social security numbers to TUID. Barbara Dolhansky, associate vice president of Computer Services, said that Temple was successful in getting cards out to the same number of students.
Brannan and Dolhansky urged that students keep using their old Owl Cards until Sept. 10. The ID card system integrates with multiple systems around Main Campus including Diamond Dollars, security card access, Kronos time keeping, parking, meal plans and library circulation. All these systems must be switched to the new cards at the same time, said Dolhansky.
The new Owl Card also allowed the design team to add an expiration date to qualify the card as a valid voter ID in Pennsylvania.
“The timing of it was perfect,” Brannan said.
Dylan Morpurgo, a junior political science major, agreed.
“On Temple’s end, it was just great timing for everyone,” Morpurgo said.
Morpurgo was part of the initiative through Temple Student Government to bring the new expiration dates to the Owl Card.
“It doesn’t just enable students to use them to vote, it enables the faculty, professors, all the staff, anyone who works in the [Student Center], all the local residents who work at Temple are now able to use that Temple ID to vote,” Morpurgo said.
The new cards’ design had not been finalized when Pennsylvania enacted a new law requiring voters to present photo identification at the polls.
All the cards have been pre-printed with the photos from the system and are ready to pick up at local campuses.
Brannan said that the office’s hours will be flexible as students pick up the new cards.
“We are opening early and closing late,” Brannan said.
Lily Fronden can be reached at email@example.com.
*Times and pick-up locations for each campus are listed at temple.edu/owlcard.