Then & Now: WKU IDs show how students change over time

Spencer Jenkins

After climbing up and down the Hill during her freshman orientation, Julie Sneath of Tompkinsville felt miserable and tired but still had her mug-picture to take for her WKU ID.

“The lady didn’t give me time to smile,” said Sneath, now a junior. “I was walking up the Hill all day long, and my hair was all sweaty.”

Although Sneath said she has lost weight in her face and her hair color has changed since her original photo, she doesn’t want to pay for another ID.

People who don’t like their picture are the people who most often want to redo their WKU ID cards, ID Center Manager Sherry Blanton said.

“The majority of the student body has at least one replaced,” she said.

Students can use IDs to get into their dorms, use their meal plans, prove attendance at an event, among other uses.

Years ago, a student came in to the center about every week to turn in his card attempting to have another one issued, constantly saying his photo didn’t look like him, Blanton said.

Now, center employees make sure people aren’t abusing the system by double checking a person’s record when they ask for a replacement.

“If people haven’t come within a year, we figure they’re not trying to abuse the system,” Blanton said.

Some students have had as many as 12 replacement IDs, she said.

Nicole Headlee, a senior from Waynesburg, Penn., said her appearance has changed a lot since she got her WKU ID because she likes to keep things interesting by doing things such as dying her hair.

“I lost about 40 pounds,” she said. “I was eating right and exercising quite a bit – very high protein, low carb diet.”

Like other people, Headlee doesn’t want to pay money for a new ID.

A replacement ID costs $20, but sometimes the center will replace them for free if the person has “drastically” changed in appearance or if their card is genuinely worn out, Blanton said.

“From July 1, 2010, to present day, we have taken almost 10,000 ID photos,” she said in an email. “We’ve issued cards for those 10,000, plus an indeterminable amount beyond that for situations not requiring a new photo to be taken, which includes the free replacement of traded-in worn or damaged ID cards, summer conference cards, as well as others.”

According to the WKU Code of Student Conduct, students are expected to carry their valid student ID at all times, and WKU can confiscate any ID card that has been misused, duplicated or altered.

Blanton said the center has the right to refuse to take someone’s photo if they make goofy or inappropriate faces.

“Something that was cute as a freshman may not be so cute after carrying it around for two or three years,” she said.