Truth revealed about Iowa State’s oldest myths

Joy Wessels

Iowa State has many traditions that make it the school it is today. Along with these traditions have come myths. While some sound like they could have a grain of truth, most can be disproved on the spot.

 If you’d like to get your facts straight before searching out hidden tunnels or jumping in front of a bus, read on and learn about ISU’s most-discussed myths.

Free tuition if you get hit by a CyRide

Some students whisper at the possibility of getting tuition paid for in full if CyRide were to hit you. I’m sure most of you can see the ridiculousness behind this myth, but this is still a common myth that floats around not only Iowa State, but other colleges as well.

Intentionally throwing yourself in front of CyRide, or any other bus, will not get you any money. It might, however, get you in a wheelchair—one which you would have to pay for yourself.


Many college sweethearts frequent the Campanile on Central Campus to share a kiss at midnight on Homecoming. This has become one of Iowa State’s longest-standing traditions. According to the ISU Alumni Center’s website, a student officially becomes an Iowa Stater when he or she is kissed under the Campanile at the stroke of midnight. Some believe that the person you kiss under the campanile will be your true love. 

Walk around Lake LaVerne to test your relationship

While some stop at Campaniling, others go so far as to believe that making it around Lake LaVerne in complete silence three times with your significant other will garantee you a happy marriage. While it’s highly doubtful that walking around a lake will have any sort of effect on a marriage, I guess there’s no harm in trying it.

Don’t step on the Zodiac

As you enter into the north side of the Memorial Union on your first few visits, you might notice a strange phenomenon. A longstanding custom involves walking around the zodiac symbol that lies in the middle of the floor as they walk in. Rumor has it that if you touch the symbol, you will fail your next exam. While no one’s ever proven the efficacy of this ritual, you might get a few looks of pity if you don’t observe it.

Friley tunnels

As big as Friley Hall is above ground, it’s been rumored that there are navigable tunnels below ground as well. According to legend, it’s possible to not only enter them, but also see a ghost in them. One thing scarier than a ghost, though, might be getting caught. If you think you’re brave enough to try it, don’t stay down there too long.

As you learn some of the traditions throughout your four years here, try seeing if you can refute a few myths on your own. Whether it’s tracking down ghosts or chasing an A, there’s always an adventure waiting for you at Iowa State.