Adjustments made to Destination Iowa State in the wake of COVID-19


Incoming freshmen smile as they walk toward the tunnel of DIS leaders Aug. 16, 2018, during the Destination Iowa State Kickoff event.

Kylee Haueter

Iowa State’s fall program for incoming students, Destination Iowa State, will take place Aug. 13-15. The event will be slightly altered to accommodate safety measures this semester. 

Though redesigned, the program will retain its core focus of welcoming new students and helping them get immersed into the Iowa State community.

In a typical year, new students would participate in large group events over the course of a couple of days without having to take health precautions and social distancing into consideration. 

This year students are expected to wear face coverings, group size is limited and events were moved to locations that allow for proper physical distancing. 

Sarah Merrill, new student programs director, explained the goals for Destination Iowa State and safety goes hand in hand this year. 

“Our goals for Destination Iowa State 2020 are to encourage students to develop connections with each other while providing opportunities to learn about and explore campus,” Merrill said. “We know doing that in a safe way was critical. So, students will see more outdoor activities and smaller groups to make sure we are not exceeding classroom capacities. All students are expected to wear face coverings at all events and we are promoting physical distancing as well.”  

Groups will be made up of 75 students and led by Cyclone Aides. Cyclone Aides are Iowa State students that want to help welcome incoming students and make them feel comfortable on campus. They are also involved in a lot of behind the scenes work as well. 

“This year, Cyclone Aides will be leading the groups. They have been working with their group of students all summer and hope to create connections that last beyond Destination Iowa State,” Merrill said. 

The schedule has also been adjusted to make events safer for everyone involved. Every student will participate in every event, but the events will be longer with fewer students participating at a time.

Some events also have been adjusted to be in a virtual format, including the kickoff rally event. The rally will include a prerecorded message from Iowa State President Wendy Wintersteen and other university leaders and faculty. 

Other events include a scavenger hunt primarily based on a mobile app and a movie night at Jack Trice Stadium to help get students acclimated to campus. 

Merrill said everyone has been diligently planning and is excited to welcome all incoming students.

“We are looking forward to a positive kickstart to this academic year for our newest Cyclones,” she said. 

A full schedule of events for this year can be found on the admissions website here.