Destination Iowa State kicks off with help from students and staff

Many university clubs and organizations were on hand to talk to new students Thursday, Aug. 16, during Destination Iowa State in Iowa State Center. Destination Iowa State is a program intended to help new students transition into the college life.

Katelynn Mccollough

The cardinal and gold line of more than 5,000 students zigzagged through nearly every hallway of the Scheman Building, out the door and stretched on toward Lincoln Way.

This seemingly never-ending line contained a constant hum of voices and movement as members in red polos — the Cyclone Aides — ushered Iowa State’s newest members to the kickoff of Destination Iowa State.

It is with the help of 34 Cyclone Aides, 404 volunteers, and faculty and staff from Office of Admissions and New Student Programs that the incoming freshmen and transfer students were able to register and head outside for games, food and chances to talk with campus and student organizations.

“I’m just so glad it’s here,” said Rachel Kirkpatrick, Cyclone Aide and senior in child, adult and family services. “We have been planning this for so long.”

Cyclone Aides began finalizing plans for Destination Iowa State, an event meant to welcome incoming students to the university, in July after orientation concluded. New Student Programs employs the Cyclone Aides and coordinates both orientation and Destination Iowa State.

“This is basically [incoming students’] first exposure to the Ames community and the ISU community,” Kirkpatrick said. She hopes the event will help give the students “a sense of this becoming home.”

After registered students were funneled through Scheman, they then found themselves outside, running through rainbow tunnels and receiving high fives from team leaders, each with their own team color.

The students were split into groups of 12 to 15 based on their “neighborhood,” or the residence hall are they are living in on campus. Transfer students and those living off campus also had separate colors for their teams. After being split up, new students then met their team leaders who would be with them throughout the three-day event.

“My team leader was so energetic, and it was a great experience,” said Preston Grygiel, sophomore in aerospace engineering, about why he wanted to be a team leader himself this year. “It’s all about the team interaction.”

Alex Sutton, junior in computer science and team leader in yellow, explained Destination Iowa State got him excited to join organizations at Iowa State, such as Dance Marathon.

ISU President Steven Leath was also among the crowd, mingling with students and visiting booths. This, too, was his first Destination Iowa State.

“I am thrilled and impressed,” Leath said. He said there were even more students there than he expected. “They’re excited and they’re learning.”

Leath, as well as Tom Hill, vice rresident of Student Affairs, and Ann Campbell, mayor of Ames, spoke during the kickoff at Hilton Coliseum, stressing the fact they hope to see all the students there continue on to graduate.

Destination Iowa State has helped ring in the new school year for thousands of students since it first began in 1999. This year’s number of participating students is the highest yet with 5,400 students signed up to participate, according to the New Student Programs office.

“We get to see the fruits of our labor,” said Phil Caffrey, associate director of Admissions. Caffrey explained it was “all hands on deck” to welcome the new students the admissions staff had been working to enroll throughout the past year.

New Student Programs will have official registration numbers by Friday, Aug. 17.