Today, the PolyCard is the life of a Cal Poly student. It is needed for everything starting right when you come here. As a freshman, it holds the meal plan. Later, it can be used for Campus Express. The PolyCard is also necessary to go to the Rec Center, to get into sports games for free, get onto the library Web site and even to go to the Health Center.
However, this was not always the case. “We didn’t need it for much,” said Carole Moore, a programs coordinator and career counselor for the career services department. “I graduated in 1976 and we could replace it for free,” she said.
“It didn’t have a whole lot of use at first,” said Bill Johnson, a professor of music and director of bands who started teaching at Cal Poly in 1966. “The very first ones didn’t even have a picture on them,” he said.
Now, the PolyCard is one of the most important things for a student to carry on them. Most people use theirs every day at least once.
“Without it, I couldn’t get onto the bus,” said Kay Rathe, a junior civil engineering major.
The students can use it for discounts around town and to check out books at the school library. “The library card used to be a separate card,” said Johnson.
Even though students in 1971 thought the idea of the Poly Card was ridiculous, it has become just the opposite – very practical.
“Once something gets more useful, people know they need it,” said Johnson.