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New MIT Card Accesses More Services; Features Random ID Number

By Ifung Lu

Students, faculty, and staff will have access to more services than ever this year when the new MIT Card takes effect Thursday.

This card, which also serves as the main form of identification for students, allows access to many campus services that include the Multiplan - a combined meal and auxiliary declining balance account, use of campus libraries, and access to dormitory entrances, parking lots, and various buildings on campus.

Many new transactions can now be charged to the MIT Card under the Multiplan, including laundry in some dormitories, photocopies at Graphic Arts, purchases from the 24-Hour Coffee House, and vending machine purchases, said Lucy A. Barrera, manager of the MITCard Office.

Food purchased at on-campus dining facilities and orders made to Domino's Pizza can still be charged to the MIT Card.

Students living in Institute dormitories can obtain their card from their dormitory, usually at the front desk, Barrera said.

Employees and students living off-campus should get their card from Room E32-200 any time from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. through Thursday of this week.

Convenience and security

Associate Director of Housing and Food Services Kenneth R. Wisentaner believes that consolidation of services onto one card is beneficial for the MIT community.

"The goal [of the MIT Card] is for convenience and for students to carry less cash on them," Wisentaner said. It has been implemented "to make it as easy as possible for people."

One new feature is that the card now boasts the new randomized student identification number rather than a Social Security number, Barrera said.

According to Associate Registrar Elizabeth C. Bradley, the switch will increase security and privacy.

"If one has hold of a social security number, they can pretty much have access to someone's life -income, place of birth, credit history," Bradley said.

However, by replacing the social security number on the MIT card and official MIT documents, it is much more difficult for unauthorized people to gain access to personal information, Bradley said.