By Sommer Schrader
Hey there, readers! My name is Sommer and I’m a 20-year-old junior studying Elementary Education. I was born in Washington D.C. to two IU Alumni and Indiana natives and was raised right here in B-Town. I absolutely love living in such a vibrant and active place, home to my favorite Hoosier campus.
Students at Indiana University are very fortunate because not only do they attend one of the best schools in the country, they get to live in a town filled with endless activities. The Bloomington campus is non-stop action; there’s always something going on and something fun to do. Our campus is very diverse, and is easily ready to give each student a fulfilling experience. With often little to no cost, there is something for everyone to do.
One very simple activity is to grab a friend or two and go on a walk or run around campus. Indiana University’s beauty is nationally ranked for a reason; it is uniquely charming and calming, so take a break and explore. You might find a new favorite spot to study.
Sports and Clubs
Another perk of being a student is that you can use both of our recreational sports centers (the WIC and the SRSC) which provide access to strength workouts, tracks, basketball courts, tennis courts, soccer fields, studios, swimming pools, and more. Students can take workout classes together like Pilates, cardio core, or kickboxing. We can also join one of the many intramural teams on campus, like basketball, soccer, flag football, table tennis, baseball, or volleyball. There are other club sports as well, including Quidditch (yes the Quidditch of Harry Potter!).
Outside of sports, there are 826 student-led registered clubs here, guaranteeing that everyone will be able to find a club they love!
Another reason sports fans are covered is due to IU’s outstanding athletic program! Admission to several sporting events is free, with the main exception being men’s basketball and football. We have two fantastic soccer teams (both men’s and women’s), a baseball team, a tennis team, competitive volleyball, and a nationally-ranked swimming and diving team, among other amazing athletics programs! Go support them; it won’t cost you a penny!
For the more artistic, musical, or theatrical person, there are plenty of options for you! The Contemporary Dance program puts on free workshop performances every year, and the IU Theatre has a plethora of its own! The IU Auditorium, which hosts many professional Broadway Companies, concerts, and speakers, has discounted rates for students. From these, to the Art Museum, to performances by students in the Jacobs School of Music, quality entertainment is not hard to find. Additionally, the IU Cinema and Union Board Films often show free or reduced-priced movies for students.
Another free annual event on campus is the World’s Fare, the university’s premier international celebration. Here, students create vibrant booths with activities celebrating their countries’ culture and food. This event is a favorite of mine, and is located in the IMU in just a couple of weeks on November 11!
Bloomington is also home to Buskirk-Chumley Theater, which has been in existence since 1922. The Buskirk is host to community theater productions put on by Cardinal Stage Company, as well as to movies, concerts, dance performances, and more.
Indiana Memorial Union
The IMU has been a prominent source of fun for all students over the years. Activities such as bowling at the IMU Bowling and Billiards, hitting the pool tables, or playing with its gaming consoles are just some of the opportunities within. Another option is to grab a group of friends and enjoy the excitement of IU Late Nite activities. Looking for a place to relax? You can find a Starbucks café which offers a huge dining area to sit and talk with friends or work on some homework. There are many other lounging areas as well, spread throughout the IMU’s hidden corners. If you’re hungry, Sugar and Spice Bakery, a personal favorite of mine, offers a variety of delicious sweets. Grab a cookie!
Speaking of food, in terms of food outside of the campus and IMU, the options are endless. If you want dessert first, Hartzell’s Ice Cream, slightly past Sample Gates, is an ice cream shop full of delicious original flavors. Head East from there to Fourth Street, where you will find two city blocks full of ethnic restaurants that serve their own authentic food. Bloomington is known for its local and unique restaurants, and this street is the main reason why. A personal favorite of mine is Anatolia, which hosts delicious Turkish food. Siam House, featuring Thai food, is also popular.
The B-Line trail which runs through the entire town, has paved trails ideal for bikers and pedestrians, but also runs through the local Farmers Market which happens on Saturdays and Tuesdays. The Market contains local music, fresh flowers, fruit, and vegetables, as well as other local foods. Yum!
Outdoor and Active Adventures
Love outdoor adventures? Check out one of the official IU Outdoor Adventures programs, which include kayaking, hiking, zip lining trips and more. If you want to branch out beyond the campus boundaries, head over to Griffy Lake, a local favorite. Griffy Lake offers beautiful views, hiking trails, and they offer kayak rentals, a great way to spend a few hours for a low cost. Bloomington is also host to Lake Lemon and Lake Monroe. Nearby Brown County makes for a great day trip as well.
One of the most famous events that Bloomington is known for is the Little 500 race, otherwise known as “America’s Greatest College Weekend”. Bikers train year-round to win the title and take this challenge very seriously. It’s definitely something every college student should experience.
Finally, one of all-time favorite annual events on campus is the Rent-A-Puppy, shortly after the Little 500 weekend. This occurs every year in Dunn Meadow, during dead week of the spring semester, where puppies from the local animal shelter are brought over, and you can rent them for for a half hour with proceeds going to charity. All of the dogs are adoptable, and even if you can’t take one home, at least you get to give them a little love!
Bloomington is a vibrant and entertaining city offering many things for students to do. Make sure to carry your student ID with you to get your free admissions and discounts (when offered)! The city and campus are both extremely welcoming and engaging, so make the most of the time while you are here! Don’t be afraid to branch out, try new things, and make some new friends. Bloomington is yours for the taking.