The thing about Gullcards…

9/9/14

BY SHANNON WILEY

News Editor

I am about to start my second week of my sophomore year here at Salisbury University, and I am already on my sixth gull card.

Between my habitual clumsiness, my cards’ habitual lack of ability to stay in sync with the doors and a few rookie mistakes at the beginning of last year, I’ve stood no chance.  Although I’ve definitely learned how to keep better track of my card and keep it working, I can’t help but think about ways this system could be improved.

An answer to my prayers came this summer when I was talking to some family friends about their trip to Disney World.

Recently, the amusement park has introduced their new MagicBand, an adjustable bracelet that keeps track of and stores all the information one could need. It serves as a room key to let people into their hotel, a ticket to let them into the park, stores information about the wearer that was pertinent to the park, a reloadable debit card so that people did not have to carry cash and has on it the wearer’s name and ID number. Sound familiar?

This kind of technology, while trademarked by Disney, could easily be translated into something that schools like SU may use.  I understand the need for an ID card, but not having to pull it out of my wallet at least 10 times every day would eliminate a lot of the risk of losing it.  Meanwhile, having something that does everything our current GullCard does now that I would keep attached to my wrist would eliminate the moments where I get to my room  or Commons just to find out I can’t get in because my card is out of order from the barcode getting scratched or my card being bent too much.

The MagicBands look like thicker Livestrong bracelets and come in many different colors the wearer can pick from. If SU had something like this, they could keep this trend in order to give students a personal touch to their new wrist accessory, or they could put it in maroon to keep with school spirit. The look of the bracelet would allow students to wear it casually, but also take it off by undoing the straps to be stored in a backpack, purse or pocket if they are attending something more formal.

Along with being able to fulfill all the needs the Gullcard already does for us, but in a lower-risk way, these bands also give the benefit of added safety. It is no secret that the city of Salisbury is not the safest place to live and although I know my way around pretty easily now, if I’m out after dark I am uneasy and feel nervous.  These bands though, come with GPS tracking.

I know that everyone now a-days is worried about being tracked by the government and people would worry about police or the university using the trackers to be able to bust parties or invade privacy, but really the police and administrators have better things to do with their time. On the flip side, say something did happen to you or one of your friends while they were out walking. A tap into their bracelet tracker and police can pinpoint where the person is now, or at least find out where they had been that night in order to get a better idea of where to find them.

This may not be the perfect idea, and I know many people don’t have nearly as many problems keeping track of their Gullcard as I do, so there is no desperate need to fix the system already in place. However, upgrading to something like the MagicBands at Disney World is definitely something for Salisbury to think about.

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