Iowa State University, once again, welcomed me with open arms

The commonly used cover photo for Iowa State University, the campus that has often hosted Odyssey of the Mind World Finals

The commonly used cover photo for Iowa State University, the campus that has often hosted Odyssey of the Mind World Finals

The crisp air crafted a picture-perfect atmosphere, and even the rain couldn’t stain my enjoyment of Iowa State’s campus. From the moment my Odyssey of the Mind team arrived, I was overwhelmed with a sense of warmth and belonging. 

Create, share, and apply knowledge to make Iowa and the world a better place.

— Iowa State University's mission statement

The trees were green, and nearly every surface was clean. From the peaceful ponds to the bustling brick buildings, everything seemed to fall into place. While it was my third visit to the campus, this visit surpassed my preconceptions with the spacious Martin suite rooms provided to my team. As far as college dorms go, the rooms were rather large, but the cherry on top was the stairs leading up to a loft for each room pairing; there was an audible gasp when we walked into the rooms.

With spontaneous practice, a game of “Big Booty,” and many foosball games, my team also greatly enjoyed the common room. With the dorms exceeding every expectation, I was once again welcomed by the dining hall. We’ve eaten our meals at the same location for every World Finals at ISU, but the updates allowed for easy seating and a comfortable environment. The back seating area appeared very modern, adapting the old circular tables to rectangular and sensible ones.

When looked at through the lens of college food standards, I enjoy the selection that ISU provides. For nearly every meal, there were five food stations with different options. The clean-up process was always simple, and every employee I came in contact with was surprisingly patient and helpful, despite the hundreds of little kids running around. 

Speaking of the immense number of kids, the Coliseum provided the perfect space to house the hundreds of teams competing during the opening and closing ceremonies. Overall, the standard brick architecture created a both modern and rustic feel while walking through campus. 

The campus was great for walking around with friends and a lot of fun for pin trading spots.

— Ellory Zietz

I must admit, the guest internet connection only questionably worked, but perhaps this would be improved if one was an actual student on campus. This issue wasn’t a huge problem for me, but for others who didn’t have cellular data, it was rather frustrating. 

Finally, the transportation worked rather efficiently having designated maps depicting the different routes. There was one instance where the doors closed before some of my team members exited the vehicle, but after chasing the bus a couple of steps and flagging down the driver, the crisis was averted.

This experience on campus definitely strengthened my desire to at least apply to Iowa State University. The atmosphere was so welcoming that several of my friends are now considering applying as well. As a tier-one university and the most prestigious school in Iowa, the campus doesn’t deserve to be overlooked.