News From Terre Haute, Indiana

August 19, 2013

en masse: Students flood the ISU campus as the new school year begins

Dianne Frances D. Powell
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — It’s back-to-school time.

The Indiana State University campus in downtown Terre Haute was alive and busy over the weekend as new and returning students moved in to residence halls just in time for the new school year.

Students — and their parents — could be seen in parking lots and around residence halls carrying luggage, drawers, small refrigerators, microwaves, flat screen TVs and other belongings for the students’ new home away from home.

One parent, Cheryl Roth, clearly had her hands full on Saturday as she and her husband escorted her son, Christopher Stone, to a residence hall.

“I haven’t cried yet, so don’t make me cry,” Roth said while carrying a bag on her shoulder and another bag full of clothes around her arms.

Even though Roth has done this earlier, with two other children who attended college before Stone, she couldn’t help being sentimental.

“I’m proud of him. I want him to do well and be successful,” she said.

“Just be smart,” she told her 18-year-old son.

The incoming freshman majoring in aviation said he chose ISU because it is “one of the few aviation schools in Indiana.”

“Since I was a little kid, I have been intrigued by planes,” he said. “I just like flying. Got my license already.”

Although his mom admitted to being afraid of flying, she has every reason to be proud of her son, who is staying with other honor students at Pickerl Hall.

Upon arrival at Stone’s fifth-floor room, the family found his new roommate’s parents already there.

But no introductions were necessary.

It turns out Stone and his new roommate went to high school together.

His roommate’s mother, Monica Cox, said that the two students’ knowing each other in high school is a plus.

Cox said that the first few weeks of college should be easier for them because they can meet people and go to events together.

“It’s easier if you have a wingman,” she said.

With bags and boxes sitting inside the room ready to be sorted, the two families focused on the task at hand.

 “I’m excited to hopefully get this room looking nice and maybe move forward,” Cox said.

The recently remodeled Pickerl Hall houses both freshmen and returning honor students, said Scott Cooke, assistant hall director.

Cooke and his team helped students with check-in, making sure they’re in the “right place, right hall.” Students were also given basic campus resources and information about such things as meeting their adviser and finding buildings.

The whole idea is to “introduce them to ISU,” Cooke said.

In addition to move-in, there were other events throughout the weekend –– Friday through today –– including the university welcome and convocation, Rally ’Round the Quad, March through the Arch and laptop scholarship distribution.

The four-day laptop scholarship distribution took place at the John W. Moore Welcome Center. About 1,600 students received laptops.

“It’s the largest number of eligible students we’ve ever had,” Richard Toomey, associate vice president of enrollment management, said Saturday.

During the first year of the program, 500 laptops were distributed, Toomey said.

The guaranteed scholarship, now in its sixth year, is given to freshmen who meet eligibility criteria such as completion of a minimum of Core 40 or college-prep curriculum and a high school cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher based on a 4.0 scale.

One of the recipients this year is 19-year-old Eric McGovern of Shelby County, who said he was “anxious and excited” about his first time being away from home.

As he exited the welcome center carrying his new laptop, he said he must have saved at least $1,000 because of the award.

His next step is to “figure out how it works,” he said Saturday.

McGovern, who plans to major in physical training, was with his mom, sister, cousin and friends when he picked up his laptop.

“We wanted to give high-achieving students a tool that will help them be successful,” Toomey said.

He added that the goal is for the students to have their laptops by the first day of classes.

“We want the students to start their classes with this important tool,” Toomey said.

The parents also made sure their children are well-equipped for success.

Cox said she told her son, Jordan, that college is a new experience, a chance to “reinvent yourself, put yourself out there, meet people …”

“Just be present and live in the moment,” she said of the advice she gave Jordan.

Roth agrees.

“It’s the best time of their lives,” she said.

Tribune-Star Reporter Dianne Frances D. Powell can be reached at 812-231-4299 or