Editorial: Destination Iowa State treats new students like children


New Cyclones wait in lines to attend Destination Iowa State kickoff event on Thursday, Aug 16 outside of Hilton Coliseum. Nearly 5,000 freshmen attended the destination kickoff to celebrate their new start at Iowa State.

Editorial Board

Earning a bachelor’s degree is arguably the final significant achievement on the road to adulthood. At the very least, it’s one of the last things you do formally for character and intellectual development. From then on out, accomplishments trend toward toward work, finances and family.

Adulthood is a nebulous concept. We might roughly define adulthood as the state of being capable of handling one’s own affairs competently. Thinking back to arguments we’ve all had with our parents in our adolescence, this does seem to be the crux of most childhood conflicts: whether we should be trusted and allowed to do this thing or that, such as take the car out or be allowed to stay home while mom and dad go away for the weekend.

Growing up is a struggle for independence, and we tend to think ourselves ready to be independent before we actually are. But at some point you’ve turned 18, and you’ve got a high school diploma; the world says you’re an adult now. With the exception of being able to buy alcohol, you’re afforded all the rights and privileges of a citizen of this country.

Why then does this university need to go to such great lengths and expense to hold your hand as an incoming freshman, in effect treating you like a child?

As short as a decade ago, an incoming freshman had the option of coming to one of several orientation sessions during the summer before entry to the university. This orientation lasted only a day or two, and took care of essentials like getting your ISUCard, an email address and other mostly clerical issues. After that, you received your class schedule and were wished well without fanfare.

Today, we’re stuck with Destination Iowa State. There’s no doubt Destination Iowa State is a probably good time, and there’s certainly nothing inherently wrong with getting students excited about being here or helping them become comfortable in their new surroundings before embarking on this great endeavor known as college.

But being an adult is about figuring things out and doing them for yourself without being coddled. One may wonder then, how being tour-guided around the university like an eighth grader on a class trip or taken to Target to rack up mom and dad’s credit card debt is so very adult-like.

Destination Iowa State may be a lot of fun, but each of us ought to ask: Are we here to be treated like a bunch of silly teenagers, or are we adults? With college costs rising, the university might do well to inquire to itself whether it’s running a really expensive daycare here or helping students become the person they’re going to be for the rest of their lives.

That this university would spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on Destination Iowa State to make freshmen feel all warm and fuzzy inside, while simultaneously shrinking faculty and degree programs due to so-called “budget cuts,” reveals where its priorities are. Where are yours, dear student?