The Canadian Association of University Business Officers recognized Wilfrid Laurier University for its innovative and wide ranging use of its card program to serve students and improve efficiencies. The General Meters system serves as a library card, access card, a credit card (for faculty and staff), a host of on and off campus purchasing, and even for taxis and bus rides.
Wilfrid Laurier University has taken first place in the 2006 Quality and Productivity Awards through The Canadian Association of University Business Officers.
The award recognizes how Laurier has taken the OneCard system and expanded its use far beyond its original use as a meal plan card. The University One-Card System™ by General Meters Corp.™ is now used as an identification card, library card, access card, a credit card (for faculty and staff), and can be used to purchase food at 15 campus locations and seven off-campus locations, for photocopies, book purchases at the university bookstore, and even to pay for taxis and purchases at a local pharmacy. It is also used as a bus pass.
“The University One-Card System™ has significantly reduced the need for cash, credit card and debit transactions on the campus, thus saving both time and money for many different parts of the university,” the university said in its competition entry.
“The record-keeping capabilities of the University One-Card System™ program provide savings in inventory control, identify purchasing trends, and track frequency of visits and times to outlets, services and rooms.”
Jim Butler, Laurier’s vice-president of finance and administration, said the university receives about $211,000 annually in revenue from off-campus vendors, which offsets the cost of the operation. While many universities use a declining balance, OneCard-type card for meal plans, “most universities don’t invest in it like we have,” said Butler. “Nick Tomljenovic, manager of University One-Card System™ services, gets most of the credit for taking the OneCard to where it now is.”
Laurier actually tied for first place in the competition with the University of Ottawa. Both universities received $7,500 for their wins. Butler said the Laurier prize money will be put back into the OneCard budget.
The Canadian Association of University Business Offices is a non-profit professional organization representing the interests of administrative and financial officers in Canadian universities and affiliated colleges.