BG1 card still misunderstood by many in student community

Editor’s note: This story originally ran in the Aug. 18 freshman edition. It is being reprinted for students who did not move in early.

We’ve become a nation of swipers.

From credit cards to debit cards, and gas cards to gift cards – it’s apparent that many forgo the use of cash for the convenience of swiping their cards.

It’s not surprising then that the University seems to be absorbing this trend by making changes to the capabilities of student photo ID cards.

Beginning the first week of classes, BGSU photo IDs will transform into the BG1 card, making the cards usable for more purposes at locations on-campus and at some participating off-campus businesses, like the SBX bookstore, Dominos and Wendy’s.

The new BG1 Card will allow students or parents to put money into an account for later access through new campus ATM machines and for purchases.

The account is set up for all students and accessible through their MyBGSU Web page, as well as the ATMs. Parents will also have the choice to activate the account and put money into their child’s account through the Web site.

BG1 Card began life in November 2005, when the University established an implementation committee to review the repercussions of putting most everything on a single card for students and faculty.

Controversy soon circled within the student body as many became anxious about the path BG1 Card would take. Rumors that the card’s debit card function would eliminate campus credit options, including B!G charge, soon surfaced, causing possibly the most unrest.

Many students use the credit option of B!G charge to make needed purchases, such as textbooks, before they receive loan money, paying the bills once they show up on their bursar account.

Jeff Nelson, director of the BG1 Card committee and the University bookstore, believes these rumors began simply because of misinterpretation.

“Someone’s personal opinions [concerning the loss of B!G charge] at the meetings were being misunderstood for University policy,” Nelson said.

These rumors led to University President Sidney Ribeau to establish a Bursarables Task Force to deal directly with the credit issue, Nelson said. The task force was to weigh hopes and fears concerning the issue of keeping the B!G charge for students.

That review is ongoing, with a recommendation on the future of campus credit options expected by November 1.

Until then, students can use their new BG1 Card as they normally would and will have to wait until November to see whether they can continue to bursar items.

“We have no idea what an ideal [bursar] policy would cover, since BGSU is the only University in Ohio which currently offers this line of credit to students,” said Bernard Little, Undergraduate Student Government president and a member of the Bursarables Task Force explained.

“Nobody likes change,” Little said, “so doing just that to the B!G charge policy could upset students at first.”

“Who carries cash these days?” he said. “Bursar is a part of BG’s culture.”