September 10, 2015
#UIndyWelcome: A Reflection

Written by Steven Freck, University of Indianapolis (Guest Blogger)

In the minds of many, the state of Indiana has become synonymous with three things: Corn, basketball and the Indianapolis 500. While each of these add to the legacy and pride of the Hoosier State, today Indiana and Indianapolis have so much more to offer.

In order to encourage Hoosiers to engage with the true beauty and wonders of Indiana, Indiana Humanities designed ALL-IN. ALL-IN encourages Hoosiers to connect with one another, explore what’s around them and work to make our state even better through a set of 16 unique challenges.

Through a partnership with Indiana Humanities, the University of Indianapolis has participated in the ALL-IN program by hosting a scavenger hunt for incoming freshman. Over the past two years, nearly 1,200 UIndy Greyhound students have explored downtown Indianapolis as part of our annual Welcome Week program. Students are dropped off at Monument Circle in the heart of downtown Indy and led around the city by upperclassmen student leaders. The goals: Accomplish a series of challenges to engage with downtown Indy, make friends and have plenty of fun along the way!

Of all the events that occur during UIndy’s Welcome Week, the scavenger hunt remains one of my favorites. As a senior, I had the privilege of helping organize this year’s event. While planning a scavenger hunt for over 600 people may seem like a daunting task, the city of Indianapolis provides so many hidden wonders and attractions it becomes easy to direct students to the many gems located here in the Crossroads of America. A few of the destinations for this year’s scavenger hunt included: The _NDY signs from Visit Indy, the Athenaeum, the Central Library, the War Memorial and White River State Park. Students also had the opportunity to learn about Indiana’s state tree and perform a random act of kindness for someone they met downtown.

While students are challenged to complete all of the scavenger hunt challenges within a certain period of time, the main objective of the hunt is to get students connected to the Circle City. Students are asked to re-imagine parts of the city that could be transformed into something new and connect with their personal heritage by declaring their ‘Indiana-versary’. Each year we hear students marvel about something they learned or experienced during their time downtown. Having grown up on a stereotypical Indiana farm myself, I am still amazed by the diversity of people, food and businesses you are able to find here.

I have considered Indianapolis my second home for nearly four years now, and I am still shocked by how little Hoosiers really know about their capital city and their state. Lifelong residents often forget about the opportunity and adventure just outside their backdoor.

Indiana may be home to cornfields and basketball hoops, but we have so much more to offer. Hoosiers have the power to redefine the state we all love so much. I encourage you to take the time to explore Indiana – come to know the reality of our state and what it has to offer. I encourage you to learn about our state’s history and meet someone else who shares your identity as a Hoosier. I encourage you to go ALL-IN!

The UIndy team prepped and ready to go ALL-IN!
The UIndy team prepped and ready to go ALL-IN!
UIndy students show off what they love about Indy!
UIndy students show off what they love about Indy!
The Indiana State Museum served as a popular destination on the hunt.
The Indiana State Museum served as a popular destination on the hunt.
Posted In: ALL-IN