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June 6, 1996

New Pitt ID card planned for staff, faculty, students

Maybe it's buried behind a community pool pass in your wallet, the name has disintegrated and the plastic has peeled off. Or maybe you are so meticulous with your Pitt identification card that its glossy coating still gives off a shiny glare.

Either way, by the time next winter rolls around, you'll have to get rid of that old Pitt ID. The University has introduced a new ID card to go along with its brand new ID Center, which opened last month in McCormick Hall. The move from G-3 in Thackeray Hall was necessitated by video imaging technology used for the new IDs, according to Lynell Scaff, director of the auxiliary Budget and Finance department. "The [new] card will eventually become a doorway to everything in the University," Scaff explained. "It will be much more efficient." The new computer-enhanced uses for the card should be available within five years. Among the expected uses will be admittance into residence halls and computer labs by sliding the card through a slot at the front door of the building. The card also will be usable in certain vending machines around campus. In addition, there will be stations located around campus for students to check information, such as how much BLOCKS or Choice Dollars are left in their accounts. "We're trying to move to a cash-less society, to make it easier for students," Scaff said. The card also will differ visually from the current one. The new ID will still have the employee's or student's picture and the University seal, but the seal will be a hologram, making it difficult to reproduce the card illegally. Scaff also said that the individual's social security number will no longer be on the card for security reasons. The only numerical identification will be the 2P number on student IDs, used for Choice Dollars.

And Scaff said the new video imaging system will be able to retain the individual's picture, so when an ID is lost, a new one can be made very easily. "If someone loses their ID or it's stolen they can make a phone call to arrange for a new one," she said.

Scaff expects the entire University to be changed over to the new card by January 1997. The reason for starting over the summer, she said, was to get a head start on incoming freshmen who are here for advising sessions. The ID Center is located on McCormick Hall's first floor.

–Mark Gordon

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