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.