Student Interests: I.D.’s and the Dreaded WEPA System



(Photo Credit: Jon Goell)

Student IDs

When students began pouring into campus this August, everything was business as usual.  Available parking spots were few and far between, classes were still being interrupted by construction noise and lawnmowers.  The only perceivable difference was the line going out the door of the Student Support Center.  This semester, Montgomery College decided to make life hard for students, forcing them to trade in their old red or purple student I.D. cards for new purple and white cards (pictured above).

The question is, why?

The past few years, all students had to do was present proof of payment for the semester in question and they would be given a sticker bearing the semester and year to stick on their I.D. for full access to campus amenities such as checking out library books, using computer and writing labs, swimming pools and free bus fare on Ride On buses.

The new ID cards entitle students to the same privileges.  According to a staff member at the I.D. desk, who requested to remain unnamed, Montgomery College has been struggling during the past year to find a new I.D. card design that matches the official school color- purple.  The I.D.’s issued last spring featured a dark purple background and black text; it was virtually impossible to read.  According to the staff member interviewed, the new purple and white design is here to stay.



On the topic of non-student-friendly practices at Montgomery College, WEPA is the flagship for good-intentioned nonsense that causes more pain and frustration than it’s worth.

For those who are unfamiliar with it, WEPA is the cloud printing contractor that Montgomery College and many other universities and corporations in the United States use.  To use it, a student must have a credit card and register for a WEPA account.  To print a document, the student must have a print card on hand – which can be easily demagnetized if kept in proximity to other cards and cell phones.  After uploading the document to WEPA’s cloud storage system, it can be accessed from any machine on campus and printed at 10 cents per side for black and white, and 50 cents per side for color.

Despite its many hang-ups and the sheer number of hoops students are forced to jump through to print documents on campus, as could be expected fewer students are printing wastefully, or at all for that matter.