Oddities and Legends at Indiana University-Bloomington

Indiana University Bloomington Campus

By Lauren Stanley
By Lauren Stanley
Unigo Campus Rep at IUB

At Indiana University we have our fair share of oddities and legends. From Jared of the famous Subway commercials, to our sinking library, to many more than there is time or room to mention, there are many quirks and legends that make IU the unique campus it is today.

Subway Jared
Let’s start with one of the most well-known, thriving graduates from our limestone halls, Jared from Subway. Casting aside IU’s conventional opportunities for success, Jared used his apartment building to its full advantage, laboring the two flights of stairs down to the Subway shop that occupies the first floor of his building, and losing an astonishing 240 pounds. After his story was told by the Indiana Daily Student, a reporter from Men’s Health magazine spotted the article and published the “Subway Diet” in a segment called “Crazy Diets that Work.” Eventually a member of the Subway franchise stumbled across the article and proposed Jared as a potential candidate for endorsement, and the rest is history. Jared gives hope to all of us here at IU that you don’t need to struggle through medical, law or business school to make the big bucks.

The Little 500 Bike Race
The next unique characteristic of our beautiful campus is the incredible fixation students and members of regular society have with the Little 500 bicycle race. Taking up a whole week in celebration for the entire student body (and of course faculty and alumni) after months of agonizing cycle training for its participants, the Little 500 race is an honored IU tradition. Consisting of 200 laps and 10 rider exchanges for men, and 100 laps and 5 rider exchanges for women, the Little 500 is not just a light-hearted relay at the local fair. Time trials, qualifications and uniform bikes specially designed for the race show the seriousness of the competition. There have been many famous attendees and performers, including Lance Armstrong, Barack Obama, and DMX. Sadly these three did not perform together in what would have surely been a magnificently harmonious trio.

“Breaking Away”
This leads us into our next topic, the movie “Breaking Away.” The 1979 film, starring Daniel Stern and Dennis Quaid, was filmed on campus and told the story of local townies taking on the big bad frat boys in the Little 500 race. Calling themselves the “cutters” due to their involvement in the business of cutting limestone in the local quarries, the townies are enlightened about themselves and the world they live in as the movie progresses, leading to an ultimate face-off with their rivals on the track. A popular movie on campus, “Breaking Away” provides IU with the fame and publicity it deserves (and not the same type of fame as being named the number one party school by the Princeton Review, although that didn’t hurt either.)

The Midnight Kiss
Moving away from real stories and events that make our campus legendary, it’s time to move on to the actual legends here at IU. One popular belief is the promise of matrimony for Indiana sweethearts, as long as they kiss under the gazebo outside of Maxwell Hall at exactly midnight. A fairy tale-esque tradition, this legend inspires many proposals and romantic evenings under the gazebo. It’s kind of hard to refuse your man when IU has destined you together for all eternity.

The Sinking Library
The last, but certainly not least, of Indiana University’s oddities and folklores, is the rumor that the library is sinking. Although supported by some fact, such as exceeding its limit by over 1 million books, there are entire web pages devoted to discrediting this myth. The foundation of the argument against this legend is quite literally the foundation, as the library sits upon a 94-foot thick slab of limestone bedrock.