April 15th, 2008 | Uncategorized

Bursar at Toad’s? A Campus Cash vet weighs in

By Zach Marks

In my post about the treasurer race, I tried to talk a little policy in addition to the usual horserace commentary, noting that Jon Wu’s promise to make Campus Cash, a plan to get Yale IDs accepted as credit cards at New Haven vendors, didn’t really bring anything new to the table. Danny Seifert, a candidate for VP last year and treasurer the year before, has been working on the Campus Cash project for the last two years and is thus much more qualified to comment on Wu’s campaign and make snarky comments should he choose. Here’s an e-mail he asked I post on the blog:

Jon Wu is definitely a legit candidate for Treasurer, but he might making empty promises about bringing Campus Cash to school in the

fall– or, at least, about his role in the process. Obviously, it’s a popular issue, so it makes sense for candidates to trumpet their dedication, but I think this one’s a bit of a stretch. Here’s an update on the project, in case anyone is interested:

I’ve been working on the Campus Cash project– it will probably be called Bulldog Bucks when it debuts, but the name is still up for debate (YCC survey, anyone?)– since freshman year, and although progress has been ridiculously slow, all signs point to a fall implementation.

Victor Stein, the administrator in charge of the program, said that responsibility for development of Bulldog Bucks has passed from his team to a third-party vendor, CBORD Group, which specializes in on- campus card software. Since Yale uses the Odyssey software system for its dining halls, CBORD is the best choice to develop a compatible card-payment system. Check out the system here: http://universities.cbord.com/solutions/solution.asp?id=14

In order to make CBORD’s system truly comprehensive at Yale, several YCC members met with Mr. Stein throughout the year. In essence, we combined Yale’s various, confusing payment options (e.g. EliBucks, Flex Points, bursar) into one declining-balance account which covers laundry, printing, movie rentals at WHC, and a variety of off-campus restaurants. The meal plan is on a separate account, also stored on the ID card. In the future, Yale will likely get vending machines that accept our ID cards.

The program is long overdue, but full implementation requires a massive amount of new hardware and software, and thus considerable work from ITS. The complexity of the program discouraged the Yale administration for about two years, and it was only at the end of last year that they agreed, in principle, to explore the idea. 

Believe me, I want Campus Cash more than anybody, so I’ll make damn sure the system rolls out in the fall.

There’s a lot of work left to be done once the system actually goes into effect, and Jon Wu might be a factor in tweaking Campus Cash, but most of the groundwork has already been laid. Like I said, I think Wu can be a very solid Treasurer, but he might be embellishing his role on a few YCC projects. Then again, it’s never too early to starting beefing up that resume.