Wednesday, November 09, 2005

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'The Shield' to facilitate purchases and security
August 29, 2005
By David Roach

By spring 2006, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary students, faculty and staff will be able to use a single card for identification, making purchases on campus and gaining access to buildings.

The card called The Shield is currently being dis-tributed in the Honey-cutt Campus Center to all members of the seminary community and will replace the seminary's old identification cards.

After The Shield is distributed, Southern will begin using the card to control access to areas of campus such as the Health and Recreation Center and the seminary clinic. By spring, seminary personnel should be able to use The Shield like a debit card to make purchases at vending machines, copy machines, laundry facilities and campus dining facilities.

"The Shield can simplify purchases on campus," said Andy Vincent, director of The Legacy Center and other auxiliaries at Southern. "[With The Shield] functioning like a debit card, card users can avoid using credit cards or bank cards, will not need change for laundry or vending machines and will not need a separate card for vending purchases."

For Boyce students, the seminary will provide a web interface through which parents can add value to their children's accounts.

"Unlike the current Vend Card currently used in vending machines and laundry, no cash value is carried on The Shield," Vincent said. "Each device, vending machines included, is attached to a network. When someone uses The Shield, the user's account is debited the amount purchased."

Eventually students, faculty and staff will swipe their cards through automated readers to gain access to restricted areas of campus such as dormitories.

Because each card is attached to a flexible database, different cards can be programmed to allow access to different buildings, Vincent said.

In the future Southern will use The Shield for campus guests as well as permanent members of the seminary community tracking guest event participation and meals eaten in the cafeteria with the card.

Getting a new card may cause slight inconvenience for some, Vincent said, but a 10-15 minute wait in line will be worth the benefits provided by The Shield.

"Currently the most daunting task is getting the new cards distributed," he said. "Every member of the seminary community must get a new card. The old ID cards will be expiring. We have distributed several hundred so far and the process has not required anyone to wait more than 10-15 minutes."

New and returning students should have their photographs taken for The Shield through Sept. 9. For a schedule, see the announcement on page 8. Seminary family members may have their photographs taken by appointment Sept. 10-Oct. 7. For appointments, call beginning Sept. 1.

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