Indiana State vs. Missouri State

Sycamore Sam, ISU's official mascot, running onto the field before a football game.

Every place has its own lingo and colloquialisms. For instance, in the Midwest we sometimes say “oof” if something seems difficult or stressful. Some call all types of sodas “Coke.” The British call elevators “lifts.”

Here at ISU, we also have a particular way of speaking.

To help new students become familiarized with the slang of State, here is a list of a few terms that incoming students should learn.


Donaghy Day: The first of many community service opportunities offered to students at ISU. Named for Fred Donaghy, who graduated in 1912 and was a professor. First set aside as a day to beautify campus and surrounding community through service in 1976, Donaghy Day will be held from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.., Monday, August 17.  Service opportunities available on Donaghy Day will introduce students to how Sycamores Serve. You will need to register for a location and time slot. Social distancing guidelines will be followed for this event, and a mask is required.

FSL: Fraternity and Sorority Life, also known as Greek Life.

Bid Day: Bid Day defines the end of sorority recruitment when new pledge classes are formed. On Bid Day, recruits meet their new sorority sisters.

March On: A slogan that is used to cheer on ISU’s athletic teams. March On! (You Fighting Sycamores) is the official school fight song.

SGA: Student Government Association represents ISU students by providing improvement of campus and implementation of student-driven programs to achieve awareness, unity, and pride. They even have town meetings for students to express concerns.

The Treehouse: The online student social network tool helps students find student organizations they can be a part of, reach out to members directly, and find events to attend and things to do. It connects students to campus. You can access the Treehouse through the ISU portal.

Student Media: You can find Student Media in the Chestnut Building (the old Nursing Building) between Seventh and Eighth streets on the south end of University Hall. Student Media includes the Indiana Statesman student newspaper, The Sycamore yearbook, WZIS and WISU radio stations, Sycamore Video, the Indiana State Sports Network and Syc Creations, digitally design creative group that does video production, graphic design, web design and development. Students are welcome to get involved.


Blackboard: An online learning environment, accessed through My ISU Portal or, where students can submit assignments, view graded assignments, etc. for individual classes. Many professors have the course pages customized, so keeping straight where things are for different classes will be key. 

The Branch: An online platform accessed through My ISU Portal, where students can log in and see scholarship opportunities and narrow their search according to their qualifications, then submit general applications.

Handshake: This online service connects students, alumni, faculty and employers and grants one-stop access to job postings, campus interviews, job fairs, and Career Center workshops and resources. “It’s a great tool that connects students not only to professional development events on campus, but to job opportunities all over the world,” said alumnae Chelsea Chapman.

My ISU Portal: This secure network environment is a gateway for students to access their official University information, including financial aid requirements, awards, class schedules, housing information, grades, student employment, scholarship opportunities, application for graduation, etc.

MySAM: A suite of online tools where students can declare or change their major, construct a semester-by-semester plan of study, see what classes they have remaining, calculate their GPA, and more. Student use this the most when beginning to schedule classes for the next term. It is easy to understand for both students and advisors and provides a clearly defined pathway to completing a degree.

Honors College: Any freshmen meeting at least one of the following can apply for the Honors College; a high school GPA 3.7 or higher on a 4.0 scale, 1170 SAT or higher, ACT score of 24 or higher, or being in the top 10% of your high school class. The college offers TV based classes, an exclusive residence hall and more.

University College: Serves all first-year students at State, providing academic advising and a variety of support programs.


The Commons: The food court area of Hulman Memorial Student Union (HMSU), where students meet up, grab a bite, study and hang out. The Fountain is just outside at the entrance to the Commons.

Condit House: The brick home that stands on the Quad is the home of Indiana State University’s president. Not all presidents have lived on campus, but Dr. Deborah Curtis, ISU’s current president does.

The Quad: The large, grassy area on the southeast side of campus is the front yard of the Condit House and a student hang out when the weather is nice. Dreiser, Gillum, Normal and Tirey Halls, as well as the Technology and Fine Arts Buildings surround often shady space where students string hammocks and play Frisbee and organizations host events.

Dreiser Hall: Located across from Erickson Hall on 6th Street. This building is closed (as shown by the chainlink fence surrounding it) for the next 18 months to two years while undergoing a major renovation.

The Quads: This is the Lincoln Quadrangles and its dining hall. Not to be confused with the above definition of the outdoor area. The Lincoln Quadrangles are upperclassman housing but the dining hall is open to all students.

George: He’s the guy behind the counter at George’s Café. “This is ‘the place to eat,’” alumnae Allanee Quick said. “A staple in an ISU diet. The line is worth the wait,” student Jamie Cuffle said.

The Rec: This is the Student Recreation Center, where all students can go to play sports, workout, swim or lounge in the hot tub. The rec is constantly improving and there are plenty of pick-up games and even a juice bar in the lobby. Intramural sports are also played here, as well as training for Trike and Tandem.

Public Safety: Located between Pickerl and Erickson halls, on the circle at the end of Sixth St. This is where ISU’s police department and parking services/ID office is located.


Roll Trees: Another phrase used to cheer on our university. The Arbor Day Foundation recognized State as a Tree Campus and due to our Sycamore tree heritage, ISU has many slogans and cheers involving trees. Check out Colt Slack’s 2015 song, “Roll Trees – Indiana State University Anthem,” on YouTube.

Railroaded: To get stuck going somewhere because a train is crossing or blocking the tracks. “I hadn’t heard anyone say they were railroaded until I came to ISU. It doesn’t happen nearly as often in my hometown, so we really don’t have a name for it,” student Jillian Bontjes said. There are a lot of trains in Terre Haute, so always leave a bit early just in case and NEVER try to outrun a train, NEVER drive around the gates, and NEVER climb over a stopped train.

Speaker Series: Each year, Indiana State brings national speakers to campus. The series has been postponed until spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but in spring 2021, the following individuals are scheduled to be on campus: Bakari Sellers, a CNN political analyst and the youngest-ever member of the South Carolina state legislature, on Feb. 2; Soledad O’Brien, broadcast journalist and executive producer, on Feb. 23; Steve Inskeep, host of NPR’s Morning Edition, on March 2; and Nicholas Kristoff, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist on March 23 for the Jamal Khashoggi Address on Journalism and the Media.


Editor’s note: This article was originally written by Alexandria Truby, a Statesman features editor who graduated in spring 2020. It had such helpful information, we decided to update and add to it and run it again. Enjoy!