In general, students seem to applaud the new student IDs,
which feature computer chip technology enabling the cards to
hold a large amount of information.
Justin Itoh, associate vice president and chief information
officer for Information Technology Services, said that students
have been very impressed with smartcard technology.
I’m excited that the university is able to provide the
first campus-wide implementation of smartcard technology in
the state,” said Itoh. “With its built-in capabilities,
the possibilities are limitless.”
The immediate plan for the UniCard is to use it for access
control. “This means that every student who enters various
locations throughout the campus will show the card for entrance.
We are finishing up the turnstile for the downtown computer
center and will have a similar setup at the Hawai‘i Loa
campus,” said Itoh.
Students have a wish list of their own. McCary would like
to see the card incorporated with the bus system and would
to be able to use it at the cafeteria or various vendors
on Fort Street Mall. “It will be convenient to have one
card do everything,” said McCary.
Junior Sharon Gouveia would like to use her card for street
parking meters. “It would be wonderful to pull up next
to a parking meter, swipe my card, and go.”
Itoh said that HPU is in negotiations with O‘ahu Transit
Services (OTS) which manages the public bus system, to enable
students to have their UniCard charged on the bus. During the
test phase, a single designated bus route would be used, and
students will be asked to try out the system.
I envision that the bus system is only a start. We are looking
for synergies in other industries. We plan on making the UniCard
the only card you’ll need,” said Itoh.
Some specific UniCard functions being explored, according
to Itoh, include:
Charging meal tickets from the dining commons
Charging food at the Sea Warrior Center and other local vendors
Better integration with the library system
Charging for photocopies at university locations
Integration of timekeeping and attendance control
Not only is the technology notable, but the professional
look, security lamination, and the color and design of
the card have
received positive faculty and student comments, said
These cards are a lot more professional,” said Gouveia. “Now,
I feel like I belong to a real school. I was embarrassed when
my friends from mainland universities showed me their cards,
and I had to show them my elementary-school aged, laminated
Students are also pleased that the card no longer displays
a Social Security number, but rather a computer-generated number,” said
Stephen Simpson, executive assistant to the President.
Students are using their cards to print from the
computer center and to receive discounts from several
when they display
their IDs. L&L Drive Inn offers a free drink with every
plate ordered. Hanalei Bread & Breakfast offers students
breakfast for $1.99, and Papa John’s Pizza gives a 30-percent
discount on regular menu items.
It’s not too late to get in on the savings. Students
who didn’t pick up their IDs earlier this semester can
still get them at Meader Library downtown or Atherton Library
at the Hawai‘i Loa campus, through Dec. 14.
Students found the process of getting an ID convenient
I had my doubts about the ID process,” said Gouveia, “but
getting my ID was actually trouble-free.”
Overall the processing has gone smoothly. Of course there were
a few bumps in the road as is true in the adoption and implementation
of any entirely new system. Most of those situations have been
addressed,” said Simpson.
While students are excited about the new cards,
concerns linger. “It’s
great that we have an all-in-one-card, but the only thing that
worries me is if I lose my card. What should I do?” asked
If a student should lose a card, Simpson said,
he or she can get another one by going to either
Hawai‘i Loa or
downtown campus libraries. A replacement card costs $15. The
student’s ID number remains the same, but the computer
chip in the old card is deactivated, and all the money and
print information is transferred to the new card.
Simpson reminded students that they do not get
new cards at the beginning of each term. Rather,
a validation sticker to place on the back of
the ID. See the HPU Pipeline for more information.