One card, one mystery

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 them usable for more purposes at locations on-campus and at participating off-campus businesses, like the SBX bookstore, Domino’s and Wendy’s.

The new BG1 Card will also allow students or parents to put money into an account for students, accessible 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 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 students and faculty use on a single card.

Controversy soon circled within the student body as many became anxious about the path BG1 Card would take. Rumors that its debit card function would eliminate campus credit options, like 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 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 around 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.

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

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

As the planned recommendations illustrate, it is expected to take years for the full effects of a BG1 Card system to be visible.

As a result, returning students will be hard pressed to notice any other real difference from what their cards offered last year – at least not for now.

“I really don’t know why students need [B!G charge because] the money still has to be paid back,” Little said.

“[Credit] is more of a convenience then a necessity.”

For now, the implementation committee scheduled seven features to be phased in this coming fall.

Some of these will include: laundry services and use in select residence halls, at Stampers, select campus vending machines, and ticket purchases at the College of Music ticket office.

It could also eventually replace the PED door access system.

“[BG1 Card] can do whatever we tell it to do,” Nelson said.