SMITH: Commodore cards—one of the pillars of Vanderbilt culture. Don’t lose it now.

Don’t phase out physical Commodore cards just because digital ones are available. Why can’t we use both?

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Emery Little

Digital Commodore Cards are quickly replacing the plastic ones. (Hustler Communications/Emery Little)

Nora Smith, Deputy Opinion Editor

The other day my friend, exhausted from a long day and a freezing-cold walk home, stood shivering in a dining tent charging his dead phone just so he could get into his dorm. Why? As of this semester, if you add your Commodore card to your Apple wallet or Android device, you can no longer use your plastic Commodore card.

You heard me right. If you go virtual, your physical, plastic Commodore card doesn’t work anymore: you can’t use it to get into your dorm; you can’t use it to buy a Rand cookie and you can’t even use it to grab some Satay with your meal money. Once you’re digital, you’re completely digital. 

Why? I have no idea. What am I supposed to do if my phone is dead, and I’m trying to get into my dorm? What if I’m on the phone with my friend trying to get the latest tea between classes while simultaneously in line for a Commons omelete? What if I want my friend to pick up my Taco Mama order for me while I’m in my 289th Zoom call of the day? 

Not to mention, the mobile version of Commodore cards can be tedious. Since we’re all wearing masks (hopefully), those with facial recognition on our phones need to use EFFORT to TYPE IN OUR PASSWORDS to open our phones and sometimes AGAIN to open the Apple wallet. The audacity. 

But really, it is irritating. And sometimes, the digital card doesn’t even work. I’ve heard stories from friends who couldn’t print or get into their dorms without having to try on their phones multiple times. Maybe things in the internet world still need to be ironed out, but as of now the technology doesn’t seem to be seamless. 

I know what some of you are thinking: why not just avoid the app then and keep your physical card if you’re so annoyed with the digital version? But therein lie even more dilemmas. Now that this technology is available, why not be able to use it for when you inevitably forget your card after studying late in Stevenson and your roommate isn’t picking up her phone because she’s finally getting it on with that HOD major she’s been raving about? Why does it have to be virtual or plastic? Why not both?

It’s understandable that having two forms of one’s identification can be risky—more cards out there means more opportunity for misuse or stolen cards. If someone were to lose their physical card and not find a replacement because they have their virtual card, I suppose that could create some identity theft issues. But if many people have both plastic and digital debit and credit cards, why should Commodore cards be any different? 

There’s also the principle behind losing physical cards altogether. There was something special about having a plastic card with that horrible picture you chose at the beginning of freshman year. And what about those poor souls who lost their cards and didn’t know that you have your picture taken at the Commodore Card office to get a new picture for your new card? It would be so sad if we lost the opportunity to make fun of the still-hungover, sunken-eyed, meth-addict-esque disheveled pictures on those replacement Commodore cards. And don’t forget the frat boys. How will they ever hold their place in line for pong at frat parties? Commodore cards, even fondly called “Commie cards,” have an important place in Vanderbilt culture and shouldn’t be phased out.

Choosing between all virtual and plastic-only is tough: so why make us choose? Having both function as Commodore cards doesn’t seem like much to ask.