Feb 2, 2010

Students to carry new Flames Pass

by Chris Scott

The Liberty OneCard is getting a new name and appearance but its transformation encompasses more than one of outward style. Students will receive the new Flames Pass before the end of the semester and will have expanded meal plan options, off campus dining choices and the ability to manage the card online through Blackboard.

“As the University has grown, we felt the need to have more control over production and functionality of the card,” Liberty OneCard Director Pat Faulkinberry said.

On May 4—6, about 17,000 new cards will be handed out to all resident students, faculty and staff. Students may update their photos before Feb. 12 by visiting the OneCard office —now renamed Card Services.

The old card produced by HigherOne will still serve as a Debit MasterCard for many students and will still serve all students as an account for refunds from the university.

“HigherOne will still remain our partner to disburse refunds,” Faulkinberry said. “Do not throw away the card you have in your wallet now, because it will still continue to function as the debit card for the HigherOne account.”

Because the new card will be produced on campus, students can more easily replace their cards and not have to use temporary paper replacements when a card is lost, according to Faulkinberry.

Students will be able to eat at partnering off-campus restaurants and use their meal plan, just as they do at the Reber-Thomas Dining Hall. Off Campus Solutions, which works with restaurants to set up partnerships, has been given a list of over 50 restaurants, compiled by the Student Government Association, to target for the off-campus dining program.

The new card will also have the feature of a declining balance account where funds can be deposited by students and parents to spend at on- and off-campus merchants participating in the program.

The online management feature allows students to sign into Blackboard, view all transactions and balances, add funds to their declining balance account and deactivate the card if it has been misplaced or lost.

The Card Services team plans on adding even more functionality in the future. In phase two of the plan for the new card, the Card Services team plans for the card to be used in on-campus vending machines, laundry and parking sites. Faulkinberry said that the most important thing is to first launch a program for off-campus dining, which she felt was not possible with the old card.

The Card Services staff asked students through e-mail notifications to participate in a contest for the best name and design of the new card. After nearly 4,000 votes were cast, sophomore Jon Finley’s name for the card was selected. Finley will receive $100 on his new card, but he will not be the only one to receive free credit on his Flames Pass.

Card Services will award $50 each to 400 randomly selected students who participated in the name contest.

“They are basically the guinea pigs to help us determine what we need to work on over the summer,” Faulkinberry said.

Winners will be notified by e-mail March 22, and will be able to pick up their cards March 30. Faulkinberry estimates that five to 10 restaurant locations will be ready for the pilot program by April.

According to Project Managers Thomas Yost and Nick VanWingerden, the functionalities added to the new card are the result of researching many different card options. The project managers, along with the rest of the Card Services team, traveled to schools including Virginia Tech, Davidson College, Virginia Commonwealth University, University of Richmond, Wake Forest University, Mt. Holyoke and spoke with Florida State University to compare which features would make a new card innovative and useful for students.

“It’s going to be a lot more convenient than it is now,” Faulkinberry, who has been working in university identification card industry for 10 years, said. “There has been a lot of people working for nearly a year to bring this to where we are today and we are going to be working intensely this summer to make sure it’s all ready to role in August.”

Contact Chris Scott at

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