PulseA day in the life of the Tiger Card Office

Everything the Tiger Card touches is their kingdom
Marielle Anne SambilayJanuary 30, 2020593 min
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Photo by Martina Almeida

The Tiger Card Office, located beneath the George M. Storch Memorial Building, is one of the first stops an incoming student makes when they arrive at Trinity. There, first-year students receive a freshly printed Tiger Card, marking them as an official members of the Trinity community. However, behind the scenes, this small office goes beyond the plastic ID card in every student’s pocket.

“Anything the Tiger Card touches, we work on,” said Trey Dunn, a technical support system analyst.

The Tiger Card allows students access to their dorm rooms and labs, meal plans, the Wēpa printers around campus, vending machines and some off-campus vendors. It serves as a student’s identification, bank card when students add funds to the Tiger Bucks account and a key to many of the facilities on campus.

“We take care of City Vista and Kings Highway, where the [Information Technology Services] division is, too,” said Mark Douglas, a technical support system analyst.

While the Tiger Card Office can certainly assist with providing students with new and replacement cards, they also manage the electronically-controlled facilities. With these facilities being keycard restricted, any delay could compromise the productivity of students, staff and faculty alike. As such, door access is a vital part of the Tiger Card Office’s duties.

“The door access system, which is a huge part of our office, is in real-time. You can see people badging in, and if they have a problem, we can see it and fix it right away,” Dunn said.

The influx of students at the beginning of the semester marks one of the busier times in the Tiger Card Office, as the staff will have to grant access to each student for their designated areas, taking care of changes until the end of the add/drop deadline.

“We will easily get up to 700 students that we have to enter in manually [from the beginning of the semester to the end of add/drop],” Dunn said. “Each student can have up to 15 different groupings of rooms and areas that they need to get into. Most of what we do here has to be done pretty quickly.”

But when students settle into their classes following the add/drop period, the activity in the office falls off as the focus turns to maintenance. This process, which can happen during or after hours, is vital to the ecosystem at Trinity since so many students and faculty depend on the reliability of the Tiger Card system.

“It kind of slows down, and we have to do the maintenance part,” said Oralia Carrillo, a system administrator. “You know, checking on stuff before it breaks.”

The staff at the Tiger Card Office, with all of the responsibilities on their plate, have different specialties in each department. There are two technical support members, and two clerical support members. With such a small team, there are no delegated shifts. The staff is on-call around the clock when any issues arise.

“The departmental mailbox stays pretty busy. We have gotten calls from students who lose ID cards on the weekend. Even though that is not critical, we have come in to meet with them to give them a card,” Carrillo said.

In addition to door access, the Tiger Card Office is in charge of the upkeep of other facilities that require the Tiger Card.

“We handle the laundry machines, the Wēpa printers, readers,” Douglas said.

Upkeep can include reconciling the value transfer stations, answering issues with doors, and servicing the washers and dryers. The staff also does a daily reconciliation to ensure that each transaction updates on every student’s account.

“We have a notification system [for the Wēpa printers], and it will tell us each week when they are low on product,” Dunn said. “We keep them loaded with paper, ink, toner, whatever it needs.”

While the technical support staff handle the day-to-day, Paul Wright, the director of business operations, oversees the entire office and its functions. Wright is in charge of contracts with the businesses on campus such as Aramark for dining services, Coca-Cola and Canteen for drink and snack vending machines, and the Barnes and Noble bookstore.

“Essentially, my days revolve around all of the activities associated with our auxiliary services,” Wright said.

As Trinity implements Trinity Tomorrow, the 10-year strategic plan to meet campus needs and maintain sustainability, new facilities will add extra doors to the Tiger Card system. Due to security concerns, the Tiger Card Office does not qualify for student workers, but the small staff could be expanding with the campus.

“At first, it was just a tech support analyst, a system administrator and our clerical support. Now we have got two of [tech and clerical support],” Carrillo said. “[The office] will probably end up with a third tech support analyst by the time the 10-year plan goes through.”

The expanding reach of the Tiger Card Office means many tasks to micromanage and troubleshoot, but Wright believes the experts at the Tiger Card Office will be able to keep up.

“Fortunately, we have a great team that has been together a long time and works well together, so any service disruptions to the Trinity Community are at a minimum,” Wright said.

Marielle Anne Sambilay

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