Getting ready: Suzy Nattress and keys to Bates

Obtaining a Bates ID card is like getting your driver’s license, but much quicker: your picture is snapped, the card is printed out, a number gets typed into your Bates computer record, and Bob’s your uncle. All in about two minutes.

It’s a swell investment of time considering what the card is good for. It’s not just access to your residence and other buildings, but it’s also your meal ticket in New Commons, your library card and, in a fairly recent development, your license to print documents from a computer in Ladd Library. Where previously many clients would send docs to the printer and then forsake them, now you must swipe your ID card at the printer for your documents to emerge.


Suzy Nattress, who manages the college’s card-operated building access system, estimates that some 325 students picked up their key and card sets by the end of Monday. Most were first-years bound for outdoor trips with AESOP. Others were early-arriving Bates varsity athletes.

Across campus, ID cards are a topic at the College Store too, as store director Sarah Potter consulted at length with a first-year student and his parents as they pondered a rack of ID holders and lanyards. “It’s the biggest decision you’ll have to make,” Potter joked.

Maybe not so big, but not so easy either. “There are four colors, there are single and double card holders, there’s just the shoestring size, the little purse size, there’s the breakaway clip — there’s a dozen different choices,” Potter explained later.

Does Bates use the students’ mug shots for anything besides the ID cards? Yes, Nattress says — they’re supplied to faculty to help with recognizing new faces.

On Monday, the ID station was in Pettengill Hall, where arriving students got help unlocking the mysteries of the post-office box system. And there were two tables for obtaining room keys. At one table you would sign a copy of the key-use policy, and at the second one the keys were actually handed out, plucked by a student worker from a long tray of carefully sorted keys.

The first key table had a special added attraction. Just for the occasion, Nattress’ assistant, Ursula Sandstrom ’13 of Seattle, baked cookies all weekend, Nattress said. There were snickerdoodles, chocolate sugar snaps and chocolate moose cookies. “That’s a first for us,” said Nattress.

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