IU Day comes but once a year, thank goodness. Attending IUPUI means attending a school with a unique campus culture and history that’s still a satellite of Bloomington. Call me jaded or boring, but I’m not a fan of celebrating IU Day when not only is the campus more than just IU, it has a rich urban history that is always left out.
Okay, I am jaded and boring. Never in my life have I been enthusiastic about school pride or iconography, especially as a college student. I am sapped of patience after four years. More and more administrative processes go through Bloomington.
Not to mention the years of whispered rumors that IUPUI will be split and leave Purdue behind. It seems unlikely and I’ve never gotten a concrete, on-the-record answer about it to date.
I’m not alone in being less than enthused about IU Day. Student culture at IUPUI is less about making time to have fun on campus and more about getting off campus as quickly as possible to get to work or finally sleep at home. Even as more traditional freshmen come, many other students are transfers and older students returning for a second shot.
Perhaps I’m holding IUPUI in an unfair position: it is a satellite campus. It is what it is. I understand completely why universities need to celebrate and commemorate and maintain shiny, consistent brands. It looks good for prospective students and alumni.
But the issue remains: IUPUI is more than just an extension of Bloomington. Cavanaugh Hall does not sit in Monroe County. Our student life is completely distinct, as is the history of the campus.
Since IUPUI’s 50 year anniversary came this semester, it’s easy to see how those in power talk about the displacement: by not calling it displacement. By framing it as
a blessing to an urban neighborhood–thanks to IUPUI, the area didn’t just fall into utter disrepair, as it would have inevitably. It was a replacement, nothing more nor less.
I know that’s not the truth. And I rag on this fact whenever it’s time to celebrate how wonderful this campus is. I would make demands of the university to correct these wrongs, but first the university needs to openly and readily acknowledge what it’s done.
It’s just tough to be thrilled by the magic of IU Day when I’m so disappointed this institution doesn’t think about the damage it has perpetuated in meaningful ways. It’s my last IU Day, but I’m still not keen to be here for it.