One scanner sees thousands of students daily at each of North Dakota State’s dining center.
Hand scanners have been implemented in practice in the dining centers since fall 2011, following the beginning of unlimited meal plans that started in fall 2010.
The hand scanners were installed to speed up the service of people entering the dining centers, as well as to prohibit any passing back of IDs.
“We needed a two-level authentication for the unlimited meal plan,” Wendy McCrory, associate director of Bison card and dining, said.
Christine Davis, a dining services employee, said that only people with an unlimited meal plan enter by using a hand scanner.
“Those that paid for it deserve to have it,” McCrory said about preventing people from using other people’s IDs to enter the dining centers.
Darren Peterson, director of dining services, said that the meal plan dollars are based around unlimited dining.
“We currently are purchasing $4.5 million dollars in food annually in dining,” he said. “And if students were allowed to take any type of food out, it would just evolve into them taking out as much as they want, and then we’d have to increase the meal plan dollars.
“The students at this university have the opportunity to come into these dining centers and eat as much and as often as they want to eat, in the time that we’re open,” Peterson said.
Peterson also added most if not all universities have a policy prohibiting removing food from the dining center.
Sanitation of the hand scanners can also be in question.
“The surface of them has an antibacterial surface, but that’s why we have hand sanitizers throughout the dining centers,” McCrory said.
Davis said that the top parts of the hand scanners are cleaned regularly, but the hand placement itself is cleaned by the anti-bacterial gel surface on the hand scanner. There is no regular policy for cleaning the part where student’s hands touch.