Before our current staff came to IUP, the university was known in this half of the state as a school where you could get a decent education at a fair price, along with the college experience you sought at one of the bigger, more expensive colleges.
A lot has changed since we committed to IUP, more than just tuition prices.
In 2015, videos often surfaced on social media of massive parties at which IUP students were allowed to be just “college kids” for a while.
Like all good things, it came to an end at some point.
Nowadays IUP students have to walk on eggshells during homecoming weekend.
Landlords are very clear that they do not want parties to happen in their houses or apartments. Fair enough. But the local law enforcement makes it nearly impossible to have more than a few friends outside of your home without the fear of getting a fine.
Back in what seems like, to us, IUP’s heyday in the early 2010’s, homecoming highlights included Pittsburgh legend Wiz Khalifa playing the first homecoming concert ever inside the KCAC.
Around the same time, a former borough council president lived on Fisher Avenue. The former executive was very unhappy about the amount of huge homecoming parties that were held on her street.
Grandview Avenue, Pizza House Village and rooftops are just a few of the places that were known for some of the best college bashes back in the day.
Today these areas are just local legends to most students.
And no, we’re not saying IUP needs to be that again.
But with tuition raising each year and enrollment falling, maybe IUP should look into an alternative option to the same cat-and-mouse game students play on holiday weekends.
Bloomsburg University, another state school, blocks off an entire block and allows students to “just be students” for a day. The police watch over the party of course, but as long as no one is doing anything detrimental to themselves or someone else, they let the young crowd be just that – young.
Today at IUP, students have to rely on hosting a party themselves, dodging both law enforcement and their landlords. Or they must navigate the busy streets in hope to find an underground gathering.
Following the death of a student in fall 2016 after a party and a few shootings during that spring’s IUPatty’s celebration, IUP and law enforcement came back hard during the 2017-2018 school year in order to protect the university’s reputation.
They must have done a fairly good job, because no stories broke last year involving the party scene here, just a few racist Snapchats and a student-teacher dispute.
So even with administration trying to monitor students’ social lives, news of IUP still managed to get out last year.
And news will continue to get out as long as Sutton Hall stands and the Oak Grove is still intact.
But wouldn’t the university rather have news about how awesome it is to go to IUP get out?
News about how not only is it a great place to get an education and break through in the career of your dreams, but also about how IUP allows students to actually be college students and to be young for a few more years.
So with 2015 being full of huge party videos leaking on social media, 2016 being the year mischief took place at social events and 2017 being the year of controversy arising on campus, what will the 2018-19 school year bring to IUP?
One can only wait and see.
But one thing is for sure, whatever happens this year at IUP, good or bad, it’ll be one of the most pivotal years for the future of the university.