Now that University of Maryland dining halls have switched to a biometric swiping system, students can enter with just a swipe of a hand.
But in order to use this scanning technology, students registered into the system from spring break last year to the end of the school year, according to Dining Services spokesman Bart Hipple. For freshmen, registration took place during orientations over the summer.
Registering a large magnitude of people was a little tricky at first, Hipple said.
“I think it went extremely well,” Hipple said. “There was a little bit of trial and error at the very first, but we figured out ways to keep the lines short and the process very quick and very simple.”
Dining Services worked with the orientation office to fit the process into orientation schedules. In order to register, students swiped their right hand through the scanner twice and then did the same with their left hand, Hipple said.
“It ended up going smoothly after we got it right because the first couple of times we tried to get all the students in the diner to line up,” said Matthew Huldisch, an orientation advisor this summer. “But the line would be far back.”
The incoming freshmen in his orientation groups didn’t have many questions about the new system, but that was likely because they don’t have to transition to a new system, said Huldisch, a senior government and politics and history major.
This is Huldisch’s fourth year with a dining plan, and as a student who ran out of diner points before the semester ended, he said he saw the benefits of the new system.
“I’m liking this new system so far. … It has been going pretty smoothly as far as I can see,” Huldisch said.
But while freshman marketing major Carlie Deren will not have to adjust to a new dining plan, she favors the old system.
“Personally, I feel like it’s a much quicker system if you just use the swipe cards,” Deren said. “The line tends to build up [now], and I think the swipe cards work perfectly fine.”
She said on one of her first days at the North Campus Dining Hall, “there was a girl in front of me who kept swiping her hand and it wasn’t working, so there was a big back up,” Deren said. “People were getting annoyed.”
The only drawback is the lack of a carryout option, she added.
Dining Services plans to continue registering incoming freshman during orientation, Hipple said.
“[Orientations are] broken down into smaller groups of people, which we can manage throughout the summer with the goal of having as many people as possible in the system before the school year starts,” he said.