University revamps ID card, career website, and dining

Less work, more food. It sounds too good to be true, but it’s the direction in which most changes on campus are heading this year. Among them, the introduction of the Carnegie Mellon ID+ card with its own dedicated office, the update of the career center TartanTrak website, and the addition of four new campus dining venues.

The new Carnegie Mellon Card Office, located in Warner Hall A15, brings together services that have previously been provided by two different areas on campus. According to CMU Card Office
manager Josh Frederick, the new setting combines vendor services, which have in the past been provided by Housing and Dining Services, and student services, traditionally provided by The HUB.

“We wanted to make it more of a one-stop shop for issues regarding the card than we’ve had the capability to do in the past,” Frederick said.

The “plus factor” of the new card itself is that it can also be used as an ATM card for all students with PNC bank accounts. In addition, students will notice that their Port Authority bus pass is now branded on the card in the form of a bus icon, making the traditional bus pass stickers, only valid for a semester at a time, a thing of the past.

All the features of the card that students have come to rely on are still valid, including museum access, library loans, laundry service, printing quotas, copy machine access, and PlaidCa$h. PlaidCa$h functions exactly as Campus Xpress has in the past: cash dollars in the form of an account on the card which allows students to pay for items anywhere on campus and at select off-campus venues.

“We changed the name in a re-branding effort to get people thinking about using Campus Xpress again in a new way,” Frederick said.

The overhaul of TartanTrak, Carnegie Mellon’s online job recruiting system, was born out of a similar effort to combine the efforts of several businesses into one. The biggest change to the site is that the service, formerly provided by online job-recruiting pioneer, is now owned by the University itself.

“We lost confidence in Monster’s ability to provide us an efficient system,” said Paul Fowler, director of Carnegie Mellon’s Career Center.

Fowler explained that the new site allows the school’s career counselors to keep notes on each student they are working with as data within the TartanTrak online system, instead of in an external file or program. By being able to keep all student data and career information in one place, they have more control over issues of student confidentiality.

“[The site] is a more productive system for on-campus recruiting,” Fowler said. He added that he feels that Carnegie Mellon has created a “much more user-friendly system” than has been feasible in the past.

He noted that all resources that students will need are featured on the site as of its opening last Friday, but that more available positions for this semester will be added daily.

The most extensive revamping has been within Dining Services. Within the next two weeks, four new dining venues will be available on campus for student use. Several pre-existing eateries will open today with new hours, locations, and menu items.

“These new venues are a result of our focus on customer service and changing to meet the demands of the campus community to eat when and where they want,” stated Tim Michael, director of Housing and Dining Services, in an e-mail message.

“Most of the new venues will provide later-night options by operating until midnight, 1 a.m., or 2 a.m.,” he wrote. The new venues will continue our trend toward lighter, more healthy offerings for customers as well as respond to market demand for Starbucks-style coffee drinks.”

Michael added that the changes were based on the feedback the department received from student surveying last spring, although he noted that last year’s results gave dining the best ranking in a five-year upward trend of improved attitudes about campus dining.

The new Carnegie Mellon Café in Resnik, slated to open today, will provide Starbucks coffee drinks, as well as smoothies, sandwiches, and salads to go, hot subs baked to order, and pastries baked on the premises.

“We hope this is going to be the new hangout on campus,” said Chris Fitz, district manager for Parkhurst, Carnegie Mellon’s contracted food provider. “We want to create more of a community where [students] can sit and relax.”

Michael agreed. “The Carnegie Mellon Café is the realization of a multi-year effort to reopen the former Highlander cafeteria space.... It’s such a great space at that location on campus near the Hill, and we hope to develop a real campus gathering spot there over the next year or two.”

The café’s table seating includes soft couches and chairs in a larger adjoining room, four gaming pods straight from the Entertainment Technology Center gaming room, and athletic equipment on the facility’s second-floor rotunda. He reported that most of the materials used in the new construction are recyclable.

“The Carnegie Mellon Café will apply for a LEED certification and should become one of the first LEED-certified college dining units in the country,” stated Michael.

In the UC, Sí Señor has moved downstairs into the ‘O’ ’s old location and extended its hours from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week; its menu will now include breakfast items as well. Penne’s International Market and Sushi Two have moved into Sí Señor’s old second-floor location. In their place is the brand-new Sequoia Grill, serving burgers, chicken, fries, and fresh premium entrees.

To compensate for the absence of The ‘O’ this year, Skibo has extended its hours from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m., seven days a week. The restaurant is also in the process of expanding its menu to include more breakfast, vegetarian, and vegan items.

Skibo was the chosen venue to fill the ‘O’ ’s shoes because of its central location in the UC, according to Skibo Unit Manager Richard Kilpatricks.

Kilpatricks also mentioned that the establishment is making an effort to improve its customer service due to repeated complaints from students last year.

“We’re trying to hire better personalities,” he said. “We’re in the kitchen for the people on campus.”
Andy’s, located in the basement of the UC, will now be open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“[The University] wanted us open during busier times ... almost exclusively for lunch,” said Andy’s Manager Haywood Vincent.

Among the items now avaliabe at Andy’s are a variety of new breakfast options, including omelets, burritos, and a host of new bakery items. New lunch features will include small tossed and Caesar salads and new once-a-week entrees, such as gyros and meat lasagna, mixed in with the old favorites.

The Maggie Murph Café, located on the first floor in Hunt Library, will feature a program similar to that of the Carnegie Mellon Café. The venue is a joint project between Housing and Dining Services, library staff, and alumna of the Margaret Morrison Carnegie College for women. Fitz estimated that the new eatery will be up and running within two weeks.

The University’s next dining-related endeavor will be the Whole Sum Café, a vendor cart of sandwiches, salads, and other “on the go” foods in the Mellon Institute.

“We were happy to partner with the Library and MCS to provide food venues in these two new areas,” Michael stated.

Michael reported that student meal plans can be used at all the new venues.