Photo: image of digital student card, from UU website

UU to re-introduce ‘real’ student card after all


Students will soon be able to buy a hard copy student card again. The card was   abolished last year, after the UU introduced a digital student card – as the first Dutch university to do so. Students in the University Council insisted upon a return of the tangible card. They’re still not entirely satisfied, however.

Read in Dutch

Read in Dutch

The university will once again offer students the opportunity to request a laminated student card, to be used alongside the digital one in their MyUU App. Students who wish to obtain the tangible card, will have to pay for it. The exact amount is yet uncertain, but it’s thought it will cost 5 euros.

For now, it’s only a trial. The university board will reevaluate after a year whether students are actually interested in the tangible card. It’s still unknown when the card will be made available, and what it will look like.

Blown off
The announcement of the opt-in system, during a council meeting this week, came as a surprise. The student members had called for a reintroduction of the student card the entire year, but had consistently been blown off by the university board.

The message also led to confusion among students in the council. They were happy there’ll once again be a physical card that students can show when organisations such as museums, swimming pools, and others ask for it. Their experience is that the digital student card, which was introduced this academic year, isn’t always taken seriously.

On the other side, it quickly became clear that the new card doesn’t meet one of the wishes the students had voiced earlier this year. They’d asked for a multifunctional card that could also work as library card and sports card.

Rector Henk Kummeling stressed that the new student card exclusively acts as proof of registration with the UU, and nothing else. The university would rather focus on further developing the MyUU App, and wants to integrate the Library and Olympos cards in the app. The app will also soon be able to send push messages, for instance in case of bad weather warnings. Students have said they’re quite satisfied with the way the app works. Kummeling: “We’re not going to manage the upkeep of two parallel systems.”

Some students argued that this makes the card no more than a ‘floppy plastic thingamabob’ that will naturally lead to decreased interest in it. The student members of the council requested the right to join the discussion about the new card’s exact properties.

Rector Kummeling said he thought it’d be “fine” if students joined in on the thought process, but he did warn this might lead to a delayed introduction of the card; the original goal of September will possibly not be feasible that way. Additionally, he doesn’t want to mess with the idea that the card can’t be anything more than a proof of registration.

That led to some furious deliberations and a number of recesses of the meeting were called. In the end, the students gave their OK, albeit reluctantly. They’ll be included in the process, under the rector’s conditions, possibly quitely hoping they’ll be able to realise at least some of their wishes.

Translation: Indra Spronk

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