Josh- Muncie was definitely not the prettiest city you will find, and that is an understatement. The area that we went to before going for our visit- the main commercial district- seemed to be very run-down and had seen better days. The entire area exuded an air of dilapidation and commercial ruin. I had not seen such a sad looking town since I witnessed some of the cities in the deep south. I was highly disappointed in the general atmosphere of Muncie, especially after visiting places like Bloomington with its vibrant off-campus businesses and city. Thankfully, all of this stopped as soon as you entered the BSU campus. While not as serene and park-like as IU’s campus in Bloomington, everything was clean, up kept, and dare I say attractive. It was like a completely different world when compared to Muncie. The dorms were clean, if a bit sparse and featureless (the lack of A/C being a major amenity that was missing). All dorms come with beds and desks, as well as internet and cable TV. You can also rent a “Heat ‘n Keep” microwave/fridge combo, for extra on top of the regular dorm cost. Like I said, no A/C unless you have a medical condition that requires you to have it, and these dorms are out in the open, no trees to provide shade in the spring and summer. Hope that you can stand the heat! The other facilities and buildings were very nice, the library spanned 5-6 floors, and had ample computers. They had also just built a sports/recreation building that housed everything from practice fields to exercise equipment to racketball courts. It was a full-featured gym in every sense of the word. I was very impressed with it, and it would be great for anyone that wants to go and get a little exercise between classes or during the weekend. The entire campus is covered by buses, which also run to various places in town, so a car is not required. But if you want to bring a car, freshmen have to park them in a large parking lot on the edge of campus, quite the walk, especially in the winter or in the rain. Upperclassmen can park their cars at their dorms, but parking is on a first-come, first-serve basis. The actual classroom buildings we did go through were all very nice, and I have nothing to complain about in that regard.
Overall, I didn’t like the campus as much as say, IU Bloomington, for several reasons. First, it was not situated within easy walking distance of off-campus facilities, such as restaurants or grocery stores. This means that either a bus must be taken, or a car. For people not taking cars to college, this can be a nuisance. Secondly, the feel that I got from the campus was much more of a feel that I get from a campus like ISU or one of the smaller colleges- and not really in a good way. All the architecture and buildings was very severe and ascetically unpleasing. And I don’t mean it was filled with “modern” architecture either. Honestly, it felt more like a modern industrial complex than a university. So, am I going there? No. It is not for me, I didn’t like the campus, the city, or the architecture. The only thing I liked there was some of the classes offered (media classes) and our tour guide. A tip of my hat to our tour guide, and a wag of my finger to the location and campus.
Luke- Besides the city of Muncie looking like a run-down ghetto, the actual campus was much more appealing and inviting. After letting the valet park our sports car we rented just for the trip, our posse entered the visitors center, which serves as the hub and starting point for every tour. Of course, we had to sit through an hour or so of a rather interesting “introductory speech,” but it wasn’t long until we were off and heading down the green paths of the Ball State campus. First off, this place is a work of art. Each individual blade of grass was cut evenly with the others, and the wildlife seemed just as enthusiastic as the passing students were on their way to class. Within the first few hours of being there, I was already impressed, and more importantly, excited to finally get to a school I’d hopefully enjoy learning at. Maybe it’s common among most colleges, but the campus did appear to facilitate various learning environments, instead of sticking with one and running with it.
The buildings, while rather dated looking on the outside, have impressive, up-to-date interiors, which is a bit of a surprise compared to your first impression of them. A good example is the library, which looks kind of drab and boring, but opens up into a huge, multi-floored facility with hundreds of computers and books. Supposedly, there’s a 1 to 1 computer/person ratio, which is good news for students who don’t want to haul a laptop with them to class each day.
Ball State is also a rather small campus. Just to compare, IU’s freshman class alone outnumbers all of Ball State’s student body, which is great for people who want smaller class sizes and more individual attention for instructors and counselors. Out of our entire visit, we met maybe hundred or so students on the sidewalks of hallways of the campus.
Housing was rather centralized, and had a nice “hotel” feeling to it. Each building has (or is located near) a cafeteria, but students can also cook in the small kitchen area
However, I did have one problem with actual tour itself: We never checked out a classroom. Which, now that I think about it, was kind of disappointing. I hope I’m wrong, but I did get the feeling that we were avoiding certain areas that I (and the others in the group) were interested in. For example, two of us in the group wanted to see what the computer science program was all about, but our guide simply pointed at the classrooms and said, “That’s where you go for computer science.” In the end, we did manage to get some more information out of him, but only after some poking and prodding. But, man, it sucks for the other two people who were visiting with us, because after the initial Q&A session with our guide, the words “Journalism” and “Art” were never mentioned again.