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Iowa State Daily

“I fell in love with (IS)U”: Campus love stories

Courtesy of Iowa State

Another Valentine’s Day has come and gone at Iowa State. Some Cyclones spent the day with their significant others, while others continued on their search for their future sweetheart. But one thing holds true for all Cyclones: we all fell in love with ISU.

Born in Paris, France, Iowa State world languages and cultures professor Jean-Pierre Taoutel came to the United States in 1999 after being accepted to a teaching exchange program at Hamilton College in New York. After the exchange program had concluded, Taoutel decided that he wanted to stay in the United States to teach. He received offers from the University of Florida and Hobart and William Smith Colleges in New York before ultimately deciding on Iowa State and relocating to Ames.

“I loved it, from the very first time,” Taoutel said.

Entering his 25th year of teaching in the United States, Taoutel said his favorite part of being a member of Iowa State faculty is simply getting to teach students the language he loves.

Once a foreign place to Taoutel, he now feels at home in the Ames community and enjoys the various aspects of the university lifestyle.

“Inclusive, very welcoming… Actually, I came to pick up a friend who’s just coming from France, and I said, ‘It’s good to be a nice community place where there’s a lot of things to do if you’re connected to the university or you can get busy, it’s not boring,’” Taoutel said.

For others, including those native to Iowa like Vinnie Cataldo, the college town of Ames continues to carry the same community effect. Cataldo, a senior in communications studies, grew up in the central Iowa area before attending Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) for his first two years of college. Cataldo’s sister had attended Iowa State a year prior to his graduation from DMACC. During this time, Cataldo said he attended various Iowa State athletic events such as football and basketball games with his family.

“I really liked the feel of campus and the energy that it produced, so I always just really gravitated towards it,” Cataldo said.

Cataldo had planned to study communications in college, and when he discovered that Iowa State carried a program in this field, it made his decision very simple.

“I was really nervous at first, having gone to community college and in high school I was still living at home so this was like a whole new adventure,” Cataldo said. “…but after like the first couple of weeks, I kind of got used to it and ever since I’ve just loved being up here.”

Since his first year on campus, Cataldo said he has immersed himself in the Iowa State experience and become involved with various student organizations such as the Student Union Board (SUB), which helped him meet new people and create lasting memories. 

“I’ve got to meet all these famous people, and I feel like you don’t understand how much you really get out of it when you first work those events… but you do get a lot out of it and I feel like [SUB] is such a cool experience,” Cataldo said.

Cataldo mentioned Steve-O, Giancarlo Esposito and J.B. Smoove as some of his personal favorite celebrities that he has met during his time working for (SUB). He continued to elucidate that the many student organizations and opportunities at Iowa State are what make the experience so special.

“If you come to Iowa State, you will get a lot out of it,” Cataldo said. “You will get to meet people. You get to make friendships. You’ll get to go to these really cool sporting events. You’ll get to be a part of some amazing clubs, and you’ll really just get to experience everything.” 

For Abigail Quaid, a junior studying journalism and mass communication, Iowa State connected her with many lasting friendships and experiences she says she will cherish forever. 

Quaid said her cousin was a former Cyclone and a member of the Iowa State Marching Band. Quaid would travel to Iowa State with her family each year to watch her cousin play in the Band Extravaganza but didn’t decide it was where she wanted to attend until her campus tour during her senior year of high school. 

“I fell in love with it instantly. I could just see myself here, and my dad loved the school too,” Quaid said.

Quaid’s hometown boss, an Iowa State alumnus, also came on the tour and helped encourage Quaid to attend.

“We’re very close friends and he was just telling me about all the good things that you experience while being a cyclone… it was just really exciting to be here and I could see my future coming alive,” Quaid said.

Quaid joined the Alpha Chi Omega sorority during her freshman year which she said helped her meet new people and break out of her comfort zone. Quaid regards Yell Like Hell and Greek Week events as some of her favorite memories at Iowa State.

“I was a freshman when we first started Greek Week. I really really liked it, and how you actually paired with another chapter and got to meet more people within your own chapter and really just be involved in something bigger than yourself,” Quaid said.

Quaid says she has truly fallen in love with being a Cyclone during her time at Iowa State and encourages prospective students to get involved in as much as possible on campus.

“I would describe it as exciting and almost like larger than life… you will find a community whether that’s in a club, your classes, a chapter of any of the four councils, a community in your dorm, sorority house or at your job,” Quaid said. “Whatever it may be, you’re gonna feel happy and excited wherever you may fall.”

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