University unveils new GWorld cards as part of fall revamp

GW quietly revealed a new design for GWorld cards late last month, selecting fewer than 150 students, faculty and staff to receive the cards as part of the revamped system planned for next fall.

GWorld 2.0 cards will eventually kick off a replacement of the antiquated servers currently running the GWorld program, but for now, the new cards will use the same software, said Ed Schonfeld, senior associate vice president for administration. The University has considered Metro compatibility and touch technology for the fall release, but Schonfeld said GW is still finalizing what features the new cards will have.

The redesign features a larger photo, a hologram, a new randomly generated card number, a user classification – alumni, student, faculty, or staff – and an expiration date. Unlike the current horizontal, orange GWorld cards, the GWorld 2.0 cards are vertical and feature a GW flag, hologram crest and buff and blue tones.

Schonfeld did not have an estimate for the cost of the total project, which will include new software, servers, cards, and more than 500 card readers, but he said he expects the project to remain within its $1.5 million budget.

Some students were randomly selected during the past two weeks to receive the new cards. Faculty and staff, including the GWorld office, media relations and other staffers were also selected, Schonfeld said, and the University expects to begin issuing the cards on a wider scale at the end of April, allowing students until October to make the switch. Before the current cards become inactive, notices will be posted in residence halls, as well as on Facebook and Twitter, to warn students when buildings will switch to the tap system.

Alumni will be encouraged to change their cards, but will have to do so while in D.C., as new photos will be taken for the redesigned cards, Schonfeld said.

Steven Nichols, deputy director of the GWorld card program, said only 150 members of the GW community were selected to allow the University time to gauge reaction to the new cards.

“There isn’t a preset limit at this point,” Nichols said of how many users will be included in the testing. “We want a soft rollout, refine our procedures, and make sure everything works.”

Once introduced, the new cards will include a tap-and-enter system – like that used for the Metro SmarTrip – rather than the swiping system for access into buildings and residence halls, Nichols said. When the University does begin the switch from swipe-and-enter readers to the tap-and-enter system, it will be a “hot-swap,” Nichols said.

“We will take the reader off the wall, mount the tap and then it will be ready to go,” he said of the 500 access control readers that will need to be replaced.

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