Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Indiana University Bloomington -- May 2006

Two months ago, I attended a conference on networks at IU Bloomington. I had visited previously in the spring of 1984 to consider Indiana for graduate school, but after 22 years, I really didn't remember much about the campus or town, other than that I had had a favorable impression of both.

On my return visit in 2006, the campus and town didn't disappoint (by "town," I refer to the restaurants, shops, etc., catering to the college community and not the residential parts). In fact, the campus and town were contiguous, which is not always the case around the country.

Coming up Kirkwood St., which seemed to be the "main drag," one enters campus at the Sample Gates (at some point IUB will presumably put in real gates, just kidding).

Just about anywhere, the student union plays a major role, although on some campuses more than others. Here in Hoosier land, the Indiana Memorial Union plays a huge role, as it is said to be one of the largest student unions in the world.

Another thing about the IUB campus that is lovely, but which initially made it hard for me to find my bearings, is that large amounts of space are devoted to natural beauty (e.g., trees, grass fields, streams), befitting of a national or state park. One example is shown below...

The campus seems to alternate between clusters of academic buildings and these open spaces; thus, when as a newcomer you find yourself in the middle of the nature areas, it can be hard to get oriented again as to where the buildings are. Also, other than on one side (by the hotel component), the huge Indiana Memorial Union complex has no signage. I spent a half hour trying to find the IMU on the first day of the conference, only to learn that I had walked by it several times unknowingly.

On the whole, though, Bloomington is a neat town, and IUB, a great campus.