Bucket list for a true Iowa Stater

The Staff

Do you want to become an official Iowa Stater? See how many you can cross off the list.


Before homecoming rolls around, make sure you have a special someone to smooch under the campanile. It is said that you become a true Iowa State student if you kiss someone at midnight. On homecoming you can see hundreds of couples gathered to take part in this special tradition while fireworks go off and the band plays.

Walk around Lake Laverne with your significant other

There is a longstanding tradition at Iowa State that if you walk around Lake Laverne three times without saying anything with your significant other, you are meant to be together. While you are on this traditional walk, be sure to say hello to Lancelot and Elaine, the beautiful swans that reside on Lake Laverne.

Avoid the Zodiac

Although this is something you should not do, it is an Iowa State tradition. Stepping on the Zodiac inside the front door of the Memorial Union is said to result in failing the next test you take. Make it your goal at Iowa State to never step on the infamous Zodiac.

Attend a sporting event

Iowa State is popular for its school spirit. People even think it’s magical. When it comes to football and basketball, Ames is covered with cardinal and gold. Basketball fans call the wonderful spirit in Hilton Coliseum “Hilton Magic.” Stop by one of these fun events in your Cyclone gear and get your picture taken with Cy to show your support for Iowa State.

Get a clone cone

Only available at basketball games, the Clone Cone is a tower of swirled red and gold ice cream.

Curtiss to Beardshear

Although the Iowa State Daily does not condone any illegal behavior, it is a longstanding tradition to streak between the buildings Curtiss and Beardshear. It is said that doing this will make you an official Iowa State student.

Try all of the dining centers

There are 21 different dining locations that range from cafes and convenience stores to sports lounges and buffets. There will definitely be your go-to, but in your four years here, make sure to try all of the locations. There’s something different at all of them!

Try all of the food carts

When you get tired of the dining centers, try one of the several food carts that post up all around campus. Right outside Carver Hall you can find two. The Macubana truck, which has fried macaroni, a cuban sandwich, fries and more. There is also the Cheesesteak Factory which sells freshly made cheesesteaks, which can be made with beef, chicken, or veggies. North of campus is a BBQ truck, as well as a Mexican food truck. Take a break from all of the dining centers and try these local options. (Note, they do not take dining dollars.)

Join a club or organization

There are over 850 officially recognized clubs to join at Iowa State. There are clubs based on major, religion, politics, sports, outdoor recreation, games and much more. There are groups such as the Cyclone Flyers, who fly planes, to the Live-Action-Roleplay club to Student Government.  You’ll meet tons of new people, learn new things, and have tons of fun.

Ride every Cyride route

Cyride is free for all students, why not use it? There will inevitably be some downtime where you have no idea what to do. Ride every route all the way through and discover some parts of Ames you never knew existed. Or perhaps find a new fast way to your first class Monday morning.

Get an Iowa State decal for your car

Stop by the Iowa State University Bookstore in the Memorial Union and grab one of the many Iowa State decals available. That way, when you’re cruising to Ames on ‘35 or ‘80, people will know exactly where you’re heading. Don’t have a car? Grab one for your parents, so they can show off their Cyclone spirit. Take a look at all of the other cool merch while you’re at the bookstore.

Take a picture in front of the Campanile

Who hasn’t taken one of these pictures? Your parents are standing by the Fountain of the Four Seasons and has you stand by the Iowa State University sign. Chances are, you’ve probably already done this. If not, don’t forget to get at least one. Try standing right outside of the Gold Star Hall at the top of the steps, and you’ll be able to get the fountain, sign and Campanile all in the frame!

Take a picture with Cy

Following the last item, get a picture with Cy! Bonus points if it’s in front of the Campanile.

Pics with unofficial animal mascots

We all love Cy, but Iowa State boasts a few unofficial campus mascots as well. Keep an eye out for the albino squirrel, who will bring you good fortune, or stop by Lake Laverne to see Lancelot and Elaine, the swans who live there. Bonus points if you get a photo – triple points for selfies.

Eat a Superdog

Superdog parks their food cart across from the Kum & Go on Welch Ave. and is popular among Welch’s late night visitors. The ingredients are odd – including pineapple and a layer of potato chips – but the experience is considered necessary before graduation by many students.

Order Insomnia after midnight

Take advantage of the late hours of this delicious cookie place. Seriously.