Dining Services introduces new tablet swiping system

Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016 - An employee in McMahon dining hall swipes a student's OneCard ID through the new tablet-based swiping system that is being implemented throughout all eight dining halls. (Owen Bonaventura/The Daily Campus)

Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016 - An employee in McMahon dining hall swipes a student's OneCard ID through the new tablet-based swiping system that is being implemented throughout all eight dining halls. (Owen Bonaventura/The Daily Campus)

The University of Connecticut’s Dining Services recently introduced tablets into two of its dining units, making it easier to identify students who are swiping into the units and speeding up the process, according to Dining Services.

The tablets are currently being used successfully in South and McMahon dining halls, Dining Services executive director Dennis Pierce said.

“We’re moving in a direction to make better use of technology,” Pierce said.

The tablets also allow for better facial recognition when swiping students into the dining units, Pierce said.  

“Unfortunately, students do pass cards even though they’re not supposed to,” Pierce said. “Having the tablet and a larger picture gives you an advantage for identification.”

The primary goal of introducing the tablets was not, however, to prevent students from using their card to swipe in others for free, Pierce said.

“We didn’t intentionally go out there to do that,” Pierce said. “We wanted to be able to upgrade technology to have a better picture of the individual for recognition purposes.”

The use of the tablets also makes the process of swiping students in quicker because the larger image makes it easier to match the individual on the card to the one entering the dining hall, Pierce said.

“The clarity is there,” Pierce said.

Dining hall workers are currently adapting to the new technology, some saying that they are optimistic about the increase options and speed that the tablets have to offer.

“I like it because it gives a full-size picture of the student in front of me,” said one dining hall employee at McMahon who preferred to remain anonymous. “It’s hard to match a student with the picture on the card.”

The photo identification makes it easier to identify students who are using IDs other than their own to try and swipe into the dining hall, the employee said.

“I’ve had a lot of students in the past that I’ve taken IDs from because they used another student’s ID,” the employee said. “Since we’ve started (using the tablets) we’ve dramatically cut down on students using other IDs.”

Students said they like the new system since it makes lines go faster than the original swiping system.

“It’s pretty interesting,” first-semester finance major Josh Cohn said. “They’re definitely changing with the times. It’ll be quicker at getting people into the dining halls.”

Others said that the new system will be fairer to those paying for meal plans, since it prevents students from splitting a meal plan by trading IDs.

“I’m paying for my meal plan, I don’t think it’s fair for other students to take IDs and use them,”, third semester actuarial science major Amelia Tavarnesi said. “ It raises the cost of the meal plan and it’s not really fair for us.”


Anna Zarra Aldrich is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at anna.aldrich@uconn.edu. She tweets @ZarraAnna.

Marlese Lessing is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at marlese.lessing@uconn.edu. She tweets @marlese_lessing.