Sunday, May 1, 2011

Every end has a new beginning

As we all know, the semester is coming to a close for most students IU. And while some are graduating and moving on to jobs in their respective career fields, others are once again entering the summer job market to further their work experience and hopefully make garner future references for job applications. And for all of my loyal followers, I hope my posts have been entertaining and informative throughout the year and that any questions you may have had about IUB were answered at one time or another. It has been a wonderful opportunity to take you on a weekly tour of the inner workings of my time at IU, and I hope that I have sparked interest in what IU, and the local community, has to offer it's students.

Thanks again for reading and I hope to see you around campus next year.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Moving Out, Moving On

It is now that time again when final exams are looming over our heads and the smell of sweet freedom is in the air as we prepare to say goodbye to yet another school year. The only thing that is really on our minds of course is the moment after our last exam when we finally get to pack up the moving van and begin our treks back home. For many people this could be a daunting task, however, if you have the proper organization and planning skills it will go rather quickly and seem effortless. Here are a few tips to make moving out of your residence hall a little bit easier:  

1) Plan Ahead
             If you decide whether or not you want to stick around Bloomington and find a semi-inexpensive sublet, there are plenty for the taking and can be found through any concise google search. Not staying in Bloomington but need your belongings stored? No problem! There are several college student friendly companies around town that offer moving and storage for the summer and do not charge and arm and a leg. Such businesses as Guys & Dollies, Soft Touch Moving and All American Storage specialize in all your moving needs and deal exclusively with IU students. Lastly, if you are definitely going back home for summer you should schedule a time with your parents when you believe residence hall traffic will be at a minimum. 

2) Reduce, Reuse, Recycle:
    Sift through your belongings and make piles of which things should go to Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc. and which should be tossed into recycle bins. If you saved your moving in boxes like a good eco-friendly student then you can simply reuse them to move out, thus saving some trees in the process. And if you’re an avid online shopper, hopefully you saved all those seemingly annoying air filled bags that filled out that grossly oversized box that your orders came in, as they are quite handy when trying to figure out hose you’re going to get picture frames and TVs home for the summer. Although, if the temptation was too great and you succumbed to stabbing them with scissors just to make noise, use some shirts and/or bath towels instead.

3) Organize
            Now that you have your summer planned and you have sifted through your belongings, you should be at the stage of organizing. Suitcases, boxes and other storage containers are all helpful when moving, but make sure they are sturdy or else you could have potential problems later on. Finding the best way to package a mixed assortment of items is never easy, but my advice is to try and keep similar/complimentary items together. For example, if you have a TV, you most likely have a remote, power cable, coax cable and various other cables that go along with it… Keep all of those things together, you’ll lose your mind a few weeks later when you don’t have a remote to change the channel because you decided to back it in a box labeled “Miscellaneous Stuff.”
I would imagine by now the wheels are turning and you’ll figure out some other creative ways to package all of your treasures for a safe journey home, but don’t forget to keep things that you use often and together in the same box!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Griffy Lake Activities

As the final weeks of the semester come and go, everyone is counting down the days until they officially done with class and freed from hours of homework, studying, and anxiously waiting to take their finals. Although, everyone needs a change of pace to get away from the rigors of school work, and what better way to do than go out on the water on a warm, spring afternoon. 
At just $6 an hour to rent a small boat, kayak or canoe, it’s an inexpensive way to burn off some energy, explore the outdoors, and give your mind a rest from studying.

The Griffy Lake Boat House is open from April to October on the weekends and May to September all week. No prior boating, kayaking or canoeing experience is necessary to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of nature at Griffy Lake.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Annual RSO Fashion Show

As yet another school year nears the end, special events are happening all over campus. This weekend’s signature event was the Retail Sales Organization’s (RSO) fashion show at the Indiana Memorial Union. The show featured works from aspiring designers studying Apparel Merchandizing and Fashion Design at IU. 

For those not familiar with the workings of a real life fashion show, like me, the event was very easy to understand and enjoy. Models donned various works from the participating designers and walked the U-shaped runway for everyone in the audience to see. And with a full house anxiously awaiting the models to appear one after another, the atmosphere nearly had me convinced that I was in New York watching a high profile show with world renowned designers.

Unaware of the true levels of dedicated talent and creativity that goes into making fashionable clothing, the annual RSO fashion show has convinced me that clothing does not magically appear on the rack at a clothing store. Seeing the enthusiasm and attention to detail present in the production of the clothing and the event, one can only appreciate the work that these students have done throughout the year. And the best part of it all, the annual RSO fashion show is an energy filled experience that anyone can come and enjoy regardless of their interest in fashion, and admission is free.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Kirkwood Observatory Open House

For many students at IU, the Spring season offers a forgotten opportunity to break out of their dorm rooms, take a break from studying, and explore campus. Although it can be somewhat brisk at night during the Spring semester, many exciting weekly activities are happening all across campus this time of year. One very rare and exciting opportunity that most students do not hear about is the weekly open house at the Kirkwood Observatory. Assuming the sky is clear, the Astronomy Department opens the Historic Kirkwood Observatory to the public every Wednesday evening from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. 

The Open House is a great time for anyone interested in star gazing, the solar system, or massive telescopes to stop in and ask questions and even peer through the historic 110 year old telescope. And while some may think that their limited Astrological knowledge may leave them clueless or helpless, the passionate faculty, staff and students of the Astronomy Department are always encouraging guests to ask questions.
Between the unique atmosphere offered by the historic building and the large telescope housed beneath the rotating dome, and the talkative nature of the friendly staff, the Kirkwood Observatory is well worth the trip across campus. 

To see if the Observatory will be open on a particular Wednesday, simply visit the Astronomy website,, to see the current status of an Open House event.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Day Away

With spring break over and the end of the school year still a few weeks away, taking a weekend trip out of town is a great way to get outside and enjoy the spring weather. There are many options around Bloomington; the only real challenge is deciding which direction you want to travel.

One option is to travel south on State Road 37 until you reach West Baden Springs, Indiana. Here you will find the historic West Baden Springs Resort. Just under two hours south of Bloomington, West Baden is an easy one day trip that won’t drain your gas tank or your wallet.

Access to the resort property is open to anyone, so no special permissions are necessary. And for those who prefer to be guided through unfamiliar places, daily tours are given by National Historic Landmark tour guides. These two-hour tours are a great way to see the property, inside and out, while learning about the rich history of the resort.

So if you and your friends are heading south for a weekend, stay on 37 and go to West Baden Springs for a walk through history. And don’t forget to grab a bite to eat at one of the local restaurants before you head back to campus.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Automotive Maintenance on Campus

Having a car on campus is one of life's necessities for many students, even with gas prices on the rise again, but this luxury still involves a little upkeep every once in a while. And as many college students with cars will attest, spending money on repairs or maintenance isn't usually a high priority so long as the engine starts and the wheels spin. But for those moments of ambitious automotive care, there are many resources around Bloomington to lessen the blow of keeping your car running smoothly.

With warm weather once again becoming commonplace in the weekly forecast, giving your car a fresh wash is never difficult to complete with four self-serve and five automatic car washes in the Bloomington area.

For those who like to keep their tires at the right pressure to maximize fuel economy and tread life, almost all Circle K gas stations around town offer free access to air hoses. Considering that other stations often charge $.25-$.75 for a measly minute or two of air, this seemingly insignificant resource is quite helpful and can save you a few dollars over the course of the year.

Leaving a car out in the cold weather is never easy on batteries and other electronic components that vehicles rely on to run properly. And with check-engine lights being triggered by anything from a loose gas cap to a dying transmission, it's difficult to know what you need to fix when these warnings illuminate your instrument panel. Luckily, most of the auto parts stores around Bloomington offer free check engine-light readings without any appointment or advanced notice. If you're lucky, the sensor can be simply reset or, if a part is needed, it can be purchased and installed on the spot.

And when things go beyond jumping a battery or changing out a flat tire, Bloomington has an abundance of trustworthy, competitively priced automotive repair shops to choose from. Everything from domestics to imports and tires to engines is available. So don't skimp too much on basic care for your car while at IU, there are plenty of ways to keep the costs low while still ensuring that your car is properly cared for.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Hidden Treats

With warm spring weather starting to make its way into the forecast most weeks, the idea of going out for ice cream is slowly but surely making a comeback. If the name “Crimson Creamery” doesn’t ring a bell when it comes to the numerous on-campus dining locations, it should, and here's why:

Formerly known as “The Underground,” the Crimson Creamery is nestled underneath the Foster Gresham dining hall in the Northwest residential neighborhood. For those students that don’t frequent the north end of campus, trying to find your way around can sometimes be a daunting task. Luckily, if you're anywhere near Foster Gresham food court, signs will direct you to the seemingly inconspicuous entrance on the left side of the building. And regardless of the adventures that precede your arrival, the risk of being lost for a few moments is nothing compared to the reward of finding the Creamery for the first time. 

Inside, the Crimson Creamery has a warm and cozy atmosphere with its wood plank walls and seating. And with an incredible assortment of flavors, toppings and sizes to suite even the pickiest of eaters, you won’t regret passing up the other more expensive alternatives around town. Best of all, since the Crimson Creamery is an official RPS dining facility, student meal points (I-Bucks) can be used to purchase all of your tasty creations. 

So instead of fighting long lines at other ice cream shops around town, check out the Crimson Creamery the next time you’re looking for a great place to hang out with friends and enjoy a delicious ice cream creation.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Making Way for Bigger and Better Things

Photo Courtesy of Indiana University
Everything has a life cycle, and from time to time Indiana University determines that new facilities are needed to continue to offer one of the best academic campuses in the Midwest. Given the Jacobs School of Music’s impressive rank as one of the pre-eminent music schools in the country, the addition of a new music practice facility is a fitting addition to IU’s flagship campus. In addition to adding classroom and office space for the music school, the new facility will be designed with superior technological and acoustic qualities unlike any other facility in the region.

Although the new facility will signify one’s entrance into the university’s music and performing arts district, the addition comes at a significant cost to one of two University Apartment buildings located at the corner of Third Street and Jordan Avenue. 
Following official approval from IU’s Board of Trustees to construct the new music practice facility, crews began demolishing the West University Apartments structure, which just last year was home to more than 100 students. 

While the demolition of a residential structure is fairly uncommon at Indiana University, the facilities that succeed them often create headlines for their architectural, environmental and technological innovations that make IUB’s campus so unique.

For more information about the new Jacob's School of Music Practice Facility, visit: 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Perks of Higher Education

IU offers its students many great opportunities and experiences. One of my personal favorites is the amount of technology available. Obviously, "technology" is a very broad term, but what I am talking about is primarily the software that is available to students at IU. Between the campus bookstores and the UITS software websites, students have access to hundreds of software titles to satisfy any and all class requirements, and virtually any extracurricular aspirations one might have, such as to become a Photoshop guru, video editor, database designer, Web site builder, etc…

In addition to software, students are also eligible for substantial discounts on technology products and services through various vendors. Savings can be realized on everything from basic cables to advanced computers and hardware.
Another one of the greatest perks of higher education, hands down, is the opportunity to become an Amazon Prime member at By simply supplying Amazon with your personal ( e-mail address, paying for shipping becomes a thing of the past when you buy an item sold by and/or shipped by What's more, with this free, one-year prime membership, two-day shipping is also free. I could literally write an entire book about how great Amazon Prime is. Waiting for online orders to arrive in your mailbox becomes a thing of the past. Procrastinating to order textbooks, school supplies, winter hats and gloves, and all those other campus necessities is perfectly acceptable now when you know it will be waiting for you in your mailbox in less than 48 hours.

Although numerous other aspects of higher education are certainly noteworthy, these are the ones that I feel go unnoticed most often by new and current students. Between paying money for software that you have technically already paid for, and waiting more than a couple days for online orders, many students miss out on the benefits that are available to them for free. And even those that aren’t “free” still give students the opportunity to potentially save hundreds of dollars throughout their academic careers.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Indiana University Motorist Assistance Program

Having a car on campus is certainly something to appreciate, especially during the winter months when those deceivingly short walks to the grocery store begin to feel more like an Alaskan endurance challenge. And just like the weather takes a quick and relentless toll on your body, a car is no different. Sleeping outside, night after night, your car’s battery, tires and even fuel are being strained. And when Friday rolls around, and you’re getting ready to venture out to the store or the movies, how do you know whether your car is still alive and ready or has gone into hibernation? Whether your tire is flat or your car is out of juice, battery or gas -- even if your keys are locked inside -- Indiana University’s Motorist Assistance Program (MAP) is there to help get you back on the road again.
MAP offers quick, dependable service on common roadside complications. The organization utilizes a well-prepared Ford Ranger pickup truck to respond to students, faculty, staff, and even visiting parents and prospective students LEGALLY parked in any campus parking lot or facility. 

IU Parking Enforcement operates MAP in conjunction with the campus motor pool. Assistance is available from 6 a.m. to midnight Monday through Friday and is provided by ASE Certified mechanics who maintain IU’s own fleet of vehicles. The services offered by MAP may be used free of charge up to three (3) times per academic year. Additional service requests are charged at an appropriate fee per call.

Instead of frantically looking up a tow company, waiting for them to find you and your car in the middle of a crowded parking lot, and spending a small fortune for routine services, give the Motorist Assistance Program a call and utilize one of many free, quality services offered at IUB. You can’t go wrong with the service or the price.

To contact the Motorist Assistance Program, dial (812)-855-9849 or visit:

Limitations to the IU Motorist Assistance Program
Some limitations do apply to the services listed above. Among these, vehicles with side airbags (those housed within the doors) are not able to be unlocked by MAP. Fuel assistance is limited to approximately two (2) gallons per call. MAP adheres strictly to the guidelines listed on the websites above, and will not diagnose or service any part of a vehicle for any reason during an assistance call. Service is limited to property and parking facilities owned by Indiana University. And as a division of parking enforcement, IUB parking operations has ultimate discretion in determining eligibility for services and/or fees for the above listed services. MAP will NOT enable a vehicle for individuals presumed to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol under any circumstance.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Communicating in Times of Uncertainty

Throughout recent history, Universities across the United States have been tasked with creating efficient ways to inform students of campus emergencies and/or significant events. During my time here at IUB, the systems and protocols that IU has in place to deal with campus emergencies have luckily never really been used for an actual crisis or imminent threat, only two tornado warnings… This all changed this past week, though, when inches of ice and snow were predicted to blanket the entire Midwest region and possibly make traveling a nearly impossible task. Beyond the obvious knowledge of an impending storm front that most students heard or read about, many students did not know where to go to find out information regarding the cancellation of classes, updated weather emergencies or even general information about the status of the IUB campus. The following are ways that IU tries to reach all students during important campus events.


Obviously, email is the fastest and easiest way to address every student at one time for campus administrators. All students, faculty and staff receive emails from IU that illustrate the current threat to campus and/or students and any information or action that is required or recommended from students. Unfortunately, not all students are able to check their email at all times of the day if they are in class or don’t have a smart phone with email access.

Text Message (SMS)

Another quick, convenient way to reach the overwhelming majority of students at one time by sending a brief description of any current or future events happening on campus and brief instructions or recommended actions. Given the nature of SMS service, most communications will be incomplete compared to Email or official IU website communications. This service also requires that your emergency contact information is up-to-date in IU’s emergency notification system.


Again, assuming that your contact information is up-to-date in IU’s system, all students will receive an automated recording of the text message described above. This ensures that even those who may not have text messaging capabilities will receive the same information.

Official University Websites

Both and will be the first to display campus threat, emergency and/or weather information, along with the actions being taken by the University and the recommended actions to be taken by students, faculty and staff. Placing information on these sites first allows any individual to immediately access this information from any internet-enabled device. The other services listed above, as you might imagine, cannot possibly reach every student at exactly the same moment. With over 35,000 students enrolled at IUB, data must be sent in segments to ensure that networks do not become overwhelmed. Although, despite the rolling release of information, I personally have never received the same information more than five minutes later than another person. 

For anyone that was wondering how a campus as diverse as IUB communicates with more than 35,000 students in times of emergencies, it is clear to see that multiple forms of redundancy exist within IU’s communications system to ensure that regardless of where you are or what phone service you have, some form of information will reach you. Likewise, the exact same information can always be obtained through various sources.