Last Thursday, President Curtis gathered Sycamore students, staff and faculty in the newly renovated Hulman Center to present the 2021 Fall Address. This year’s theme was “The Indiana State Advantage,” a phrase Curtis encourages students to repeat around campus. President Curtis spoke about ISU’s current achievements, as it placed in the top three schools in Washington Monthly’s National University Rankings and in the ranking of state schools only behind Indiana University and Purdue University. ISU was first in the state in CollegeNet’s Social Mobility Index for the third year in a row, and ranked in the top 11 percent nationally. Though these are remarkable achievements, Curtis declared the university won’t be stopping there.
The address also announced the launch of the Focusing on Our Future Together Strategic Plan for 2021-25. There are initiatives in progress to make this plan successful, as Curtis showed with a presentation in the background. Videos of students telling their story and how Indiana State benefited their academic career played during the address, proving to students that it isn’t something people are just saying is happening. Attendees of the address were able to witness first-hand the opportunities and success the university has to offer students from all different backgrounds. “My fellow Sycamores,” Curtis says, “This is the Indiana State Advantage.”
Time was taken in the address to give much thanks to anyone or any company who donated to Indiana State. Curtis proudly explained that Indiana State has had yet another break-through year for fundraising. Curtis described the $50 million Hulman Center renovation, and the $18.4 million Dreiser Hall renovation, which will benefit student media and others and will be ready by Spring 2022.
Curtis also announced that starting January 1, 2022, all students and employees will be expected to either show proof of vaccination or be tested weekly for COVID-19. The university is working with a vendor to provide testing and more details that will be available later in the semester.
Some students expressed differing opinions about this upcoming policy regarding vaccines. Jaylyn Gaul, graduating class of 2022 and majoring in Criminal Justice, stated that “My opinion on President Curtis requiring all students, faculty, and staff to receive the vaccine by January 1st or have weekly COVID testing is not in favor of human rights,” and that “There are many students, faculty, and staff that are not vaccinated and will choose not to get the vaccine because of their own personal opinions, beliefs, what have you – and that’s perfectly fine with the decision they have made, as well as for those who have decided to get the vaccine to protect themselves and others – that’s awesome! But the weekly COVID tests are a little too much for me. I don’t believe that the weekly COVID testing will not help the spread of the virus. It will only add to the number of tests given and who is testing positive or negative. Even if a person does test positive they will obviously have to quarantine and then test again to be negative, but the chance of contracting COVID again is a high possibility…and the more you force a person to do something they don’t want to do, they will retaliate even more.”
Other students approved of the requirement of vaccines at ISU. Madelyn Rodabough, senior and Art major, states that “I think it’s a great thing for ISU to require the vaccine. I was worried at first when they initially didn’t require it, because I’ve seen so many students on campus either not wearing a mask or not wearing it property in my classes or in public places like the Student Union. I got vaccinated myself in order to protect myself and others, and I think I’ll finally feel at peace knowing other students and staff will be vaccinated as well.”
Curtis concluded the address with an admirable presentation of sophomore Noah Malone, who competed at the Tokyo Paralympics and came home with one gold and two silver medals. Malone is a sprinter for the ISU Track and Field team in NCAA competition.