Every week, we use STATEside to take a look back at the recent and not-so recent past, using the archives at the Vidette.

If you recall any of the campus happenings referenced in our This Week in Illinois State History feature, feel free to post in the Comments below.

Previous weeks: September 13 | September 19 | September 28 | Homecoming week


Talk is heating up about the future of downtown Normal. In addition to serious discussion about a 150-room, $33 million hotel across the street from Watterson Towers — a project that eventually became the Marriott Hotel — the Student Government Association met with town of Normal leaders to discuss their visions for downtown. National chains like Old Navy, Starbucks and Banana Republic are mentioned in these discussions, but town officials say any talk of their moving into downtown is premature. But grocery and drug stores are on the way, they say. Indeed, today’s Uptown Normal has a CVS location and could soon get a grocery store too.


Today’s Daily Vidette editorial raises concerns about the increased cost of student Compucards, a computer access registration tool. For the fall 1992 semester, the cost of the Compucard was raised from $30 to $45, irking some students. The Vidette editorial says it’s “almost impossible” to be exempt from the fee because students must prove ownership of a computer and bring it in to be checked for viruses. “The computer labs across campus are a valuable asset for students who do not have access to computers, but a $15 increase is not justified by offering an optional course that is not valued by every student,” the Vidette board writes.


A lot of young people in Bloomington-Normal, including Illinois State students, work for State Farm Insurance Cos., doing call center work and other jobs. An advertisement in the October 11 edition of the Vidette, however, shows just how much times have changed. Using fonts designed to look “1980s computery,” the ad is a call for students looking to start their careers in data processing. (Not that data isn’t processed these days, it’s just taken on different names/forms.) “State Farm has one of the largest computer operations in the country, so its one of the best places to start your career in Data Processing,” the ad notes. And don’t worry: “You don’t have to be a data-processing major to interview for these jobs.”


Explosion in the Vidette

Fifty years ago, the front page of The Vidette.

Talk about a wake-up call. Four or five sticks of dynamite explode just before 5 a.m. on the roof of Ragusa’s Pizza Palace and Italian Restaurant, causing quite a stir for the 816 female residents of nearby Atkin-Colby halls. The head of campus security, Harold Sylvester, is working with state, county, and local law enforcement on the case, since it happened on a property adjacent to the University. “The cooperation given us by the students was wonderful,” Sylvester said. “We appreciate it.” Those on the west end of Atkin Hall are questioned as potential witnesses, since they were closest to the explosion.

Ryan Denham can be reached at rmdenha@ilstu.edu.