College is a place where many students reinvent themselves and become who they truly want to be, and for some, that means choosing a name that defines who they are and distancing themselves from their old identity. With this in mind, the One Card Office added the option of placing your preferred name on the back of your student ID.
Stephanie Kernozicky, the One Card Office manager, said they were receiving requests from students to have their preferred names on their One Cards instead of their legal names. However, it wasn’t possible to replace the legal names entirely.
“We recognize many cardholders go by a name other than their legal name; however, the UConn ID can also be used for voting in Connecticut,” Kernozicky said in an email. “Therefore, it is necessary to have the legal name on the card.”
To help find a solution, the One Card Office reached out to other universities to see how they go about displaying preferred names on their IDs. As a result, they will now be printing preferred names on the back and legal names on the front of the cards. With the help of the Rainbow Center and Information Technology Services, they then went about creating a portal for students to input their preferred names. This portal can now be reached at https://netid.uconn.edu/tools/displayname/. It is user-friendly and adding your preferred name takes no time at all.
“The One Card Office will be re-carding the entire university over the summer,” Kernozicky said. “Therefore, everyone will receive a new card with their preferred name on it.”
So if you want to ensure that your preferred name goes on your new card, make sure to visit the portal over the upcoming weeks.
Julia Anderson, the program coordinator at the Rainbow Center, explained why this change is so important to students.
“The use of legal names in administrative and legal processes can be harmful for students who do not identify with their legal name,” Anderson said. “Hearing the name used or seeing it used in association with them can have a harmful and dissociative effect.”
Kernozicky believes the change will make a big difference for students.
“I absolutely think it will make a difference,” Kernozicky said. “The name that people call you or know you by is meaningful and significant. We are happy we were able to comply with the need for voting identification, as well as add a component to the UConn ID that was meaningful to the cardholder.”
Prior to this change, students who don’t identify with their legal name had to legally change it through the probate courts of Connecticut to get their preferred name on their One Cards. This process was often impossible for students due to the expense of going to court and the time it takes to have their case processed.
Students in the Rainbow Center are already showing their excitement at the change.
“From what I have heard, students are excited by this change and look forward to seeing similar changes throughout campus,” Anderson said.
Rebecca Maher is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.