A few weeks ago, I read a post on another website that talked about the reasons to love IUP. While there were some things I appreciated on the list, there were also several things that I disagreed with or thought could have be improved. So here’s my own list of things to really love about IUP.
- The other students. With over 12,000 undergrad students, you can almost always find a friend – be it in your gen ed class first semester or once you get into your higher major classes. There are so many diverse people on campus: men, women, every race, so many states represented, international students, LGBTQ students, commuters, any student that you can imagine. If you want to find someone new and exciting, or someone who comes from a totally different background, you can totally do that at IUP!
- The faculty, staff, and administration. I don’t know if there are any better people in the world than the ‘grown-ups’ at IUP. All of my professors have been absolutely amazing, even through most of my ‘boring’ gen ed classes. The professors in the music department are phenomenal, and I can’t really say enough great things about all of them. The secretaries at my jobs, the professors there, the deans, the provosts, the admissions staff… they’re all fantastic. I really can’t say enough good things about them, since they’ve made my time at IUP so enjoyable.
- Our university president. Along those same lines, Dr. Driscoll is the man. I’ve gotten to interact with him on several occasions, from Homecoming festivities to speaking at events together. He’s always been so nice and down-to-earth every time I’ve seen him. And it just gives my heart warm fuzzies when it comes to him and our music department – he supports everything that we do and has always been really gung-ho about the marching band. He’s a brother of Phi Mu Alpha and a Distinguished Member of Sigma Alpha Iota, which are two of the music fraternities.
- Our academic programs. How can I talk about IUP and not talk about how great our programs are? I’m biased, since the music department is top-notch with amazing faculty and resources in a world that’s seen budget cuts everywhere. The safety sciences department is one of the oldest in the country, and people come from as far away as Saudi Arabia to learn how to keep the world a safer place. The nursing program is always recognized as one of the top in the country. The criminology department is one of the most well-recognized in the nation. It’s crazy to me just how many amazing programs we have contained in one place.
- The library. I love me some Stapleton Library. It’s such an amazing resource, what with all the books and journals and amazing people that work there. I also love being able to squirrel myself away up in the stacks, sometimes getting lost up on the third floor when I leave my little study cubicle. I’ve gotten so much work done up there, usually since I find a little corner where it doesn’t seem quite as busy.
- Campus in general. How could you talk about IUP and not talk about campus itself? When I give campus tours, I love to tell the story about how I once saw a couple getting wedding photos taken in the Oak Grove. Even with all the improvements to campus that we’ve been experiencing, I think there would be a revolt if there were any talks of altering the Oak Grove. I love the trees and the shade and the wide open space. And I also love the look of most of the buildings, that nice brickwork that makes even the newer buildings look like they’ve been on campus forever.
- Fitness and recreation. I love the gym. And the pool. And the Co-Op Park. There always seem to be people trying to get together pickup games of basketball or volleyball or ultimate Frisbee. Right off campus past Robertshaw, you can get onto the 11+ miles of the Hoodlebug Trail. Even though the weather can be a downer sometimes, IUP students really know how to take advantage of the sunshine when we get it – and it seems like most of us tend to take to the outdoors.
- Clubs and organizations. There are SO many groups on campus that you could probably go to a different meeting every week for all 4 years and still never see all of them. There are Greek organizations, departmental clubs and honor societies, campus-wide honor societies, political groups, club sports, religious organizations, and groups based around niche ideas or hobbies. Even if you may not feel like you fit in with others in your major or department, I’m sure that you can find a group that loves the same things that you love.
I know that sometimes IUP can get a bad rap, but that’s really disappointing to me. I’ve had so many wonderful opportunities in such a great community here, and I can’t wait to finish out my last few semesters here. To anyone who may be considering IUP: don’t discount it just because of what you may hear from others. It’s a fantastic place full of amazing people and awesome things, and I honestly wouldn’t have picked any other school.