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TBT: The card system is a university’s most important asset

It’s the start of a new semester and students are flooding back to campus to campus in droves. And while much of the excitement and anticipation of the new year will be centered on to graduating in time or how well the football team will do this season, the oft-overlooked card system will be there to underpin their experience on campus.

This week’s Throwback Thursday honors this notion with our “The campus card system: A university’s most important asset” written back in 2009. The piece details the importance of the campus card system to a university, and how its many vital services would be painfully apparent if they were suddenly no longer available.

Speaking with Tom Bell of Blackboard, the campus card system was described as a highly functional enterprise system, that’s more important than the student information system. “If the student information system went down for a day, that would be okay. But if you took your campus transaction system down, then you’d have to figure out different ways to eat, to get into buildings, and so on,” he says. “Imagine the attention you’d get if you turned your system off and went on vacation.”

Why then does the campus card system so often live in the periphery of peoples minds? Why isn’t it given the respect and admiration it deserves? Bell believed in 2009 that it was a matter of self marketing. Without proper marketing of the card system and its many services, there’s less of a chance for department growth or increased funding.

“Tell people what you’re doing, create an annual report that describes what’s happening in this card office, the amount of money flowing through the office and the ubiquity of those readers,” Bell says. “You have to be thinking about how to present the card to your university. They may take the card for granted, yet if the card doesn’t work, you have a wallet without money.”

Bell explains that campus card systems were built to work behind the scenes, but that doesn’t mean that other key campus stakeholders can’t be involved. “The campus card system has been supporting the mission of the university and no one talks about that.”

Hear more about how campus card offices can market themselves and their card systems, as well as some ways to maximize revenues in 2009’s “The campus card system: A university’s most important asset.”

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