The Herald Times

Ivy Tech students zip back to classes

Posted: Monday, August 19, 2013 4:59 pm |

By Dann Denny331-4350 |

The scream could be heard for a quarter mile in every direction.

It was unleashed by Korina Dusard — strapped into a harness and gripping an overhead bar, her curly red hair rippling in the wind — as she zoomed down a 150-foot-long zip line set up on the back lawn of the Ivy Tech Community College campus.

When her feet hit the grass, ending a ride that began atop a 35-foot-tall metal tower, she was beaming and her face was flushed scarlet. Then she spotted her friend, Sheri Cox, who had taken photos of Dusard during her vociferous descent.

“If you put this on Facebook, I’m going to kill you!” Dusard shouted.

Later, Dusard said her zip line adventure was a lot of fun, though a bit harrowing at first.

“At the top of the tower they told me to pick my feet up, and I was afraid my rear was going to drag,” she said. “I gained a few pounds over the summer.”

The zip line, erected by “Indy Zipline” and “Moonwalks and More,” was just one of the ways Ivy Tech rolled out the red carpet on the first day of classes Monday. On the red brick plaza behind the school, students sat at tables draped with white table cloths and shaded by honey locust trees — eating burgers and hot dogs fresh off the smoker grill of Carson’s Barbecue while listening to live music by Craig Thurston and his acoustic guitar.

Earlier that day, as students strolled into the front lobby to find their classes, pay their tuitions or ask questions about financial aid, they were treated to biscuits and gravy, juice, and coffee.

“I love Ivy Tech and the way they treat you,” said third-year student Hannah Gould, who plans to graduate with a registered nurse degree in 18 months. “It’s a beautiful campus that provides an affordable education, and they go out of their way to make you feel welcome, like having a free movie night in the commons every other Wednesday in the fall.”

Ivy Tech Chancellor John Whikehart said there were 5,700 students Monday, about 250 fewer than last year’s first-day number. But he said the enrollment would steadily climb as students continue to enroll in the days ahead.

Amanda Farris, director of student life at Ivy Tech, said she hoped the first-day perks would not only help students feel at home, but encourage them to take advantage of school programs throughout the year designed for fun and leadership development.

“I think it’s really nice of them to provide this lunch,” said Jenna Kenny, a first-year student in kinesiology as she munched on a hamburger and sipped from a can of Pepsi Wild Cherry. “But I won’t have time to do the zip line because I have a class at noon.”

But 18-year-old Kurtis Stille sure did. The first-year Ivy Tech student flew down the 3/8th-inch-thick steel cable twice — once facing forward and once facing backwards.

“This is the first time I’ve ever done a zip line and it was a blast,” he said. “Going backwards was more extreme. It’s cool that they do this. How many schools set up a zip line for the students?”

Among the non-zip line crowd was Erich Ramos, a 37-year-old mother of 9- and 17-year-old daughters who is starting her second semester at Ivy Tech. She has not yet decided on her major, but after years as a stay-at-home mom and working at minimum wage jobs, she hopes to better herself and set a good example for her girls by earning a degree. Her older daughter, a senior at Bloomington High School South, plans to join her at Ivy Tech next year.

“Before I enrolled at Ivy Tech she would come home from school and tell me how hard it was,” Ramos said. “But I’ve found that it’s not that hard. I must be a lot smarter than I thought I was.”


Kurtis Stille, 18, a freshman, sticks his tongue out at a friend as he takes a ride on the mobile zip line Monday during the first day of classes at Ivy Tech Community College in Bloomington. Chris Howell | Herald-Times

Jeff Carson, with Carsons BBQ and Catering in Ellettsville, lifts the lid to his large grill as he prepares to pull off some hamburgers and hot dogs during the first day of classes Monday at Ivy Tech Community College in Bloomington. Chris Howell | Herald-Times

About Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, long- and short-term certificate programs, industry certifications, and training that aligns with the needs of the community. The College provides a seamless transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a bachelor's degree.