Learn to navigate campus like a pro.
Indiana University is known across the country for many different reasons: IU basketball, the Little 500 and our strong academic programs just to name a few. However, there is arguably one thing that all students agree on during student tours that causes high school seniors to say #yestoIU every year: our beautiful campus.
How can anyone resist the sprawling greenery of Dunn Meadow and the Arboretum, or the classic limestone architecture and traditional focal points of our campus like the Sample Gates that lead to bustling Kirkwood Avenue? You can’t help but admire it all and think, “this is the college experience right here.”
However, despite all of this beauty, one annoying question remains in the back of your head that causes you to worry: how are you ever going to get around such a huge campus?
As a junior at IU, I’m here to tell you all of your options for freshman year and beyond.
I’ll address this first because a lot of incoming freshman contemplate whether they should bring their cars to campus. The parking permits at IU go in this order: A, B, C, D, E, F.
A, B and C permits are for professors. As an IU student you’ll most likely be looking at the D, E or F passes. The D pass is the best pass you can get as a student. You can park near the dorms and in the parking garages (Fee lane for Northwest neighborhood, the SRSC, Jordan Avenue parking garage near Read/Wright area and the Rose parking lot). You can only buy this parking pass if you live on campus in a dorm or apartment. You will be put on a waiting list, and will wait to find out if you have received the D pass. A good amount of people get the pass, but others remain on the wait list until mid-semester or even the whole year.
Now lets talk about the E and F passes. Students who can’t get a D pass, or students who live off campus typically go for these passes.The E pass is mainly used by students who choose to park at the stadium, and ride the A bus into campus. It is at a slightly higher price than the F pass that allows students to park in any zone after 5pm as long as it isn’t a 24 hour spot, this includes parking garages.
With an E pass you can also park in front of the sorority and fraternity houses on Jordan avenue and the extension at any point during the day. No, you do not need to be a member of a Greek organization to park here, it’s free game for anyone with an E pass (houses have parking lots in the back so don’t feel like you’re taking anyone’s spot). You can also park near the bell tower by Jordan Avenue and Linebacher Road with the E pass. When you park at either of these places you can take the B bus to campus (less crowded than the A bus) or enjoy a short walk.
Buy any of these parking passes and find more information here.
If you’re a freshman living in the dorms, and you’re wondering if you should bring your car to campus, know that you will likely be just fine without it if you don’t want to deal with parking. IU designs campus living so that you never really have to leave. Side note: if you do decide to bring your car, and keep it parked at the stadium, just know you’ll have to move it for every home basketball and football game.
Whether you have a car on campus or not, you’ll need to be familiar with the bus systems around IU. While it may seem intimidating at first, I promise that you will get the hang of this fast. There are two different types of buses running on the IU campus. The campus bus system and the City of Bloomington buses. Both systems are free to students!
The campus buses are lettered A, B and E.I highly recommend downloading the IU Mobile app, there is a list of bus schedules and a real-time bus tracker which is really helpful when you’re waiting at a stop wondering when the bus will come.
- A bus – This goes from the stadium to the northwest dorms, loops around 3rd Street, Kirkwood, the IMU, 10th Street and back up Fee Lane to the north dorms and the stadium.
- B bus – Goes from the extension to Jordan (sorority/fraternity houses) to in front of the Neal Marshall Black Culture Center on Jordan across from the parking garage, shoots down Third and then turns around to backtrack on the same route.
- E bus – This route starts up by Campus View apartments by Linebacher Road, goes by Union Street and Eigenmann, then turns on Rose to stop at Willkie, it shoots down Third, goes to 10th Street and then turns on Jordan to make stops at the Library and the Wright School of Education.
- X bus– This route starts at the Stadium and is a direct route to the IMU and the Auditorium. No other stops are made.
The Bloomington Transit buses that run on campus are typically only the 6 and 9 bus (there are a few more obscure ones but these are the two that students are most familiar with). You show your campus ID to the driver to get on free. If you aren’t a student or forgot your ID, it’s $1 to ride.
- 6 bus – This bus goes from west of campus and hits apartments northwest, comes down by Smallwood Apartments, goes through campus stopping at the IMU and along 10th Street, and then goes to apartment buildings east of campus like Reserve on 3rd.
- 9 bus – This bus is famous for going to the mall. It basically hits apartments south of campus, the College Mall, Tulip Tree, then goes down 3rd Street, and back up 10th heading to the Mall.
This is a convenient alternative to walking around campus. IU has a big biking scene because of Little 5, but you don’t need to be a super-cyclist to maneuver around campus. IU also offers a lot of bike racks next to school buildings. The only thing you need to be a cyclist is a bike lock and a $10 permit you can purchase on the IU permit parking site.
Walking to class is free, easy and will get you exercise. Since IU is so big, it will do you good to be aware of the alternatives like the bus system. But if you can easily walk to class, good for you!
Hopefully you will feel a little better about getting around the large IU campus with these resources available to you as a student. These options allow you to worry about more important things that make up the college experience.