Why your student ID is your ISU lifeline

Amy Thompson

When you first come to campus as a student, you will be issued your student ID. You may be thinking, “Oh, it’s probably just like my driver’s license. I’ll only use it a few times, mainly when I’m in trouble.” But if you’re like most new students, you’ll quickly find this to be untrue. If you misplace it, it’ll be harder for you to eat, work out, get a ride and — if you live in campus housing — get into your living quarters. 

(And in case you’re wondering, that picture they took will plague you for your whole ISU career. Good luck with that one.)

Here are the most important things to know about your ISU ID, which will be your best friend on campus:

1. Food. If you are a freshman living in the residence halls, you are required to have a meal plan, which you’ll need your ID to access. In my day (4 years ago), we could sneak into the dining halls, or bribe the card swiper to let us in. Those days are gone. Make sure you have your ID, or else you will be eating Easy Mac alone in your room. No freshman wants that.

2. Fitness.  Given all the distractions you’ll have in your first year, I don’t know how many of you will sign up to use Iowa State fitness facilities or take the fitness classes. Those of you who do will need your ID to get into both.

3. Cyride. If, like many freshmen, you lack a car, you’ll probably find yourself on CyRide, a bus line that runs throughout campus and the rest of Ames. To ride lines that go to grocery stores, the North Grand Mall and the western part of Ames, you’ll need your ID.  Without it, you’ll have to pay a fare. You can, however, ride the line’s Cyclone and Cardinal routes without showing ID or paying.

4. Studying. Your ID isn’t just your lifeline, it’s also your library card. It probably won’t mean a lot to you, because after the library class you have to take freshman year, you won’t want to set foot in that monstrous building full of dusty books.

5. Keys. If you live in the residence halls, your ID is your access card to get into the building after hours. If you lose it, you’ll be left waiting outside, desperately calling your roommates, or calling the CA and possibly facing lockout fees.

6. Snacks. Imagine this: You leave your ID in your dorm before dinner, forcing you to run upstairs to get it. By the time you do that, all of your friends are done eating. No problem, you tell yourself — you’ll just go to the C-store instead of using your meal plan. But unless you have cash or credit, you’re still out of luck. Your ID has CyCash and Dining Dollars uploaded on it. 

7. Additional services? As the ISUCard website says, your ID “is your future”, apparently because the services it makes available to you will only continue to grow.

The moral of the story? Carry your ID with you at all times. If you do lose it, all you need to do is make a trip to Beardshear Hall. You will be $20 poorer, but have a brand-new ID in minutes.