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Ryan Bishop, an exercise science major from New Jersey, keys into Northeast Hall. “I like them a lot better than the keys,” Bishop said.

Students returning to WKU for the fall 2019 semester most likely noticed the addition of small, black scanners and received new ID cards while moving into their residence halls.

For over two years, Access Control, Information and Technology, Housing and Residence Life and Planning and Design have been working together to make WKU safer.

According to Quentin Hughes, the Access Control administrator, the new card is technology that cannot be copied. Hughes also said ITS has been working all summer to transition and install all of the readers to the residence halls.

“We really wanted to have a more centralized and accountable method in place for how we do electronic access control on campus,” Hughes said.

Hughes explained that the volume of electronic access control at WKU required full integration for automated cardholder imports and user-friendly levels of access through ITS.

After installing the readers, Hughes said the next step was distributing the new ID cards, which are red over white with a small inch-by-inch, portrait style photo on the far right of it.

“As those cards get into everyone’s hands, we will fully migrate into that encryption technology,” Hughes said. “We’re still several months down the road from getting all of that put into place.”

Hughes said HRL has been instrumental in paving the way for university-wide enhancements.

Mike Reagle, executive director for housing and dining, was an integral part of the process according to both Hughes and Jeppie Sumpter, senior director of infrastructure and operations at WKU.

“The electronic access system is a more secure system because if a student loses their card we can instantly take that card out of the system and it won’t work,” Reagle said. “A lost key would still work on the building.”

Sumpter said ITS had begun increasing its involvement on campus.

“Information Technologies Services is playing a more pivotal role in WKU’s Electronic Access Control efforts as compared to years past,” Sumpter said in an e-mail. “We have been working to build a new foundation for these services to serve the university’s needs moving forward.”

Sumpter said the project included new encrypted ID cards, all new card readers, new software and updated software and explained that it focused on increased security, ease of use, efficiency and automation where appropriate.

Sumpter also said safety was a priority to this project.

“WKU cares greatly about the safety of its students, employees, affiliates and guests,” Sumpter said. “Safety and security is never just one ‘thing’ nor buying a certain product.“

News reporter Abbey Nutter can be reached at 270-745-6011 and abbigail.nutter168@topper.wku.edu.Fol- low her on Twitter at @abbeynutter.