University paid to offer new cards

A process that took more than a year to plan was accomplished in just two weeks when new Blugold ID cards were issued to upperclassmen Sept. 19 through Sept. 30.

Students may use the new cards as a debit card through U.S. Bank, and 116 students opened new accounts through the bank to access the option. Of students with existing U.S. Bank accounts, 216 also picked up the debit card option, Malinda Hebert, service operations manager of University Activities, said.

Within a year, students signed up for the option can access any ATM machine in the world with their Blugold, said Angela Ralston, partnership manager for the campus banking branch of U.S. Bank.

U.S. Bank paid the university $30,000 to distribute the cards, which covered increased labor, printing and other costs, Hebert said.

Vice Chancellor Andy Soll said Eau Claire now will be paid a minimum of $15,000 a year by U.S. Bank.

Ralston credited the students, specifically Student Senate, with bringing this new option to campus.

“What brought U.S. Bank to the campus was the students,” Ralston said. “We’re just really excited to be a part of this campus.”

About 85 percent of the campus, including freshmen who received theirs at orientation, have picked up their new cards.

Any student who didn’t pick up a card can still do so at the Service Center, located at 158 Davies Center. All old cards were deactivated Oct. 3.

In the two-week period the cards were available outside the Council Fire Room in Davies, 5,600 students picked up their new cards. However, a slow start had university officials considering extending the campus re-carding by a week.

But Hebert said although they were unable to e-mail every student at the beginning of the re-carding, they did send out e-mails toward the end of the two weeks to students who had yet to pick their card up, which helped get more cards re-issued.

The cards were printed in the summer, Herbert said. That process went relatively quickly, as they were able to print each card in only a few minutes.

Hebert called the Blugold card re-distribution “very successful” despite light advertising, and students commented on the relative ease at which they were able to get their cards.

Juniors Ashley Borman and Brittany Johnson agreed the process was very simple and pain-free.

“There wasn’t a line when I was there, and I thought it was good that it was separated alphabetically,” Borman said.

All faculty also will receive new Blugolds beginning Oct. 24 through Oct. 28.

Eau Claire is the 24th school to become partners with U.S. Bank, a list that also includes UW-Oshkosh and UW-Stevens Point.