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Last modified: Friday, August 10, 2007

Bloomington Herald Times articles

Aug. 10, 2007

IU spirit sizzles at state fair
Pep rallies, pedometers help university make presence felt

By Steve Hinnefeld
August 10, 2007

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana University showed its stuff Thursday to a quintessentially Hoosier audience, using information booths, free merchandise, music and sports to reach out at the Indiana State Fair.

Banners hanging near the Home and Family Arts Building on the south side of the fairgrounds declared IU's red hotness in technology, the arts and the life sciences. Cheerleaders and Marching Hundred band members sweated in the 96-degree heat.

"Truly, this is a day that could only be described as red hot," IU President Michael McRobbie told a pep-rally audience, playing on the university's omnipresent marketing slogan.

It was the second year that IU Day was celebrated at the state fair, which continues through Aug. 19.

"I think it's better than last year," McRobbie said. "It really demonstrates the full range and depth of what Indiana University does and what it stands for."

He said it's important for IU to make itself known at the fair, the massive celebration of agriculture and eating where state rival Purdue has traditionally had a much stronger presence.

"A lot of the people here are not people that necessarily run up against IU every day," McRobbie said.

Men's basketball coach Kelvin Sampson exhorted the crowd and praised the band and cheerleaders, playing a role that, a year ago, went to football coach Terry Hoeppner. Hoeppner died June 19 from cancer.

"We start playing basketball in November," Sampson said, "but you know what the most important season is right now to me? It's our football season."

He said Hoeppner "left a legacy" and inspired his team this year to "play 13" -- 12 regular-season games and a bowl game. "See you at the football stadium on Sept. 1. Go Hoosiers!" Sampson said.

Between two pep rallies -- one for the Hoosiers and one for the IU-Purdue University at Indianapolis Jaguars -- McRobbie, who took over as president July 1, strolled down Expo Hall Street greeting university employees who braved the heat to staff booths on IU schools, programs and organizations.

Along with providing information about IU, representatives of the schools of music, informatics, education and other units and offices handed out free goodies and used games and hands-on activities to draw children and families to their booths.

Popular items included: red canvas tote bags printed with "IU is Red Hot," ice-cold bottles of water and the free pedometers handed out by the School of Physical Education and Tourism Management at IUPUI.

Anything to encourage exercise at a fairgrounds packed with booths selling chili cheese fries, elephant ears and corn dogs, said Kristin Norris, a lecturer in the school.

"We're trying to do the healthy part of it," she said. "After you eat your deep-fried Snickers, get a pedometer."