News From Terre Haute, Indiana

October 3, 2012

Sycamore Sync, blood drive kick off ISU homecoming week

Arthur Foulkes
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Homecoming fever has definitely gripped Indiana State University as students dance, bike and even “bleed blue” in honor of their school’s annual tradition.

On Tuesday night, more than 2,000 students showed up for the annual Sycamore Sync, a dancing and lip-syncing competition in Hulman Center. More than a dozen groups performed to classic and popular songs to the enthusiastic cheers from their fellow Sycamores.

“This is the biggest turnout ever,” said Tammy Lewis, student co-chair of Sycamore Sync and a member of the 2012 Homecoming Committee. “Everybody’s been really good.”

Fraternities, sororities and other student organizations competed in the Sycamore Sync, which filled about one-fourth of Hulman Center.

During the day on Monday and Tuesday, ISU students crowded into a large meeting room in the Hulman Memorial Student Union to donate blood to the Indiana Blood Center in another homecoming week tradition. That blood will be used locally at Terre Haute Regional and at Union Hospital, said Shelly Shearer, field representative for the Indiana Blood Center.

This year’s blood drive has been a huge success, said Marrisa Mitchell, a senior nursing student and organizer of the 2012 blood drive.

“It’s the largest blood drive we have on campus,” Mitchell said standing in Dede II, where as many as eight students were donating blood at once and more than a dozen more waited their turns. “We’ve been doing wonderful this year.”

More than 200 donations of blood were expected to be collected Monday and Tuesday. Students donating blood and pledging to return in the future received a “Sycamores Bleed Blue” T-shirt. Each donor can save up to three lives, Mitchell noted.

“It’s amazing,” she said looking at the large numbers of donors.

Meanwhile, local businesses that cater to ISU students and alumni are also making preparations for this weekend’s big homecoming events, including the 50th annual Tricycle Derby on Friday, and the homecoming parade and football game on Saturday.

“It’s a fun weekend for everybody,” said Erica Free, general manager of the Hilton Garden Inn at Seventh Street and Wabash Avenue. Many distinguished alumni stay at the hotel and can even watch the parade from their rooms or from the large windows in the lobby if they want to stay inside, she said.

“We love being in the heart of the downtown area,” Free said, adding that the hotel is sold out for homecoming weekend.

The Ballyhoo Tavern, at Ninth and Chestnut streets, is also prepping for a busy weekend. The tavern will open at 7 a.m. Saturday for the traditional student “Walk” down Wabash Avenue to the football stadium. It will also have live music and a large tent set up outside Friday and Saturday.

Saturday’s homecoming parade begins downtown at 9 a.m. The football game kicks off at 3:05 p.m. the same day.

Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at 812-231-4232 or