Campus Card Administrators have both a fun job and a challenging one. I can definitely attest to this as a past campus card administrator. Working with students always brought a smile to my face and kept the day moving at a fast pace. Those same students, though, also presented many challenges that made each day unique. There were, of course, the standard challenges with servicing students such as working through release of payments for meal plan activation and helping students if they were having issues with their card. However, I am referring more to the “I can’t believe what happened at 2 am” instances I often found when I arrived in the morning.
Most campus administrators have dealt with students who have cards not working; for example, a broken card that clearly has been used as an ice scraper since there is road salt residue remaining on the broken piece. I am sure these instances are on the rise at this time of the year with the heavy snows we are receiving. Or, the card that a student reports is not functioning and they are not sure why, however, there are clearly teeth marks all over the card. Or, my personal favorite, the contactless card that stopped working to get into their room which has a hole punch right through the internal antennae so it could be attached to a lanyard or keychain. These are all pretty common occurrences. However, the other day I heard a report from a client that literally made my jaw drop and had to re-read it 3 or 4 times to make sure I had it right. This prompted me to ask our clients for similar items that they have encountered.
So I bring to you my top 5 list of “so that’s why that terminal is not working and I was called at 2 am to fix it” items.
5. Isn’t that the magnetic card reader? Cardholders sometimes can’t tell the difference between a receipt printer and a card reader, insisting that the card must be inserted into the slot from where the receipt comes. Jamming a card into the receipt printer may stop said receipt printer from functioning properly.
4. It’s in the toilet. An administrator received a report that a building with various terminals was offline. When investigating the incident, it was found that a Building Controller had been disconnected and placed in a toilet. Luckily this toilet was non-functional and did not have water in it and was located in the custodial closet. Easily fixed but still a “what just happened” type of a moment.
3. Shaken, not stirred. A client who was in the process of installing vending terminals inside of their vending machines for use with contactless cards found a machine not working. Upon investigation it was found that someone shook the vending machine so hard the terminal became dislodged and would no longer function. Now, I know you’re not you when you’re hungry so you need a Snickers, but shaking a vending machine can be detrimental to your health.
2. Buggy Reader. You often hear of technical equipment of any sort as acting “buggy.” This was true for an external access card reader. When the reader was checked to see why it was buggy, it literally was buggy. A spider had gotten inside and hundreds of baby spiders came out when the sac was burst. I know I would have screamed and run far, far away from that terminal.
1. Now we’re cooking with grease. Or should I say lard. After a report of a non-functioning magnetic stripe door access reader in a residence hall, it was found that some students filled the reader with ketchup and lard. Yes, lard. That terminal is definitely high in saturated fats now.
The life of a campus card administrator definitely is not dull and can be filled with unique experiences. I hope this list maybe gave you a chuckle as you read it, but also let you know that campus card administrators have a job that changes each day with unique challenges. They are a special group of people who work hard to keep operations running on campus and providing services to students, sometimes not in the best of circumstances. Thank you, campus card administrators, for what you do for your students.