We’ve only just begun. Really.

We’re only a little more than 24 hours into a new academic year, but the Btown campus has been thoroughly buzzing for nearly a week.

The fun and excitement began with last Wednesday’s Move-In Day and Freshman Induction ceremonies, and continued on through the next several days at CultureFest (until the rains came), the cream-and-crimson-filled Traditions and Spirit of IU pep rally at Assembly Hall and New Student Service Day, which connects first-year students with their new community through volunteer service projects. New students also began taking place in a neat SCVNGR game, in which they explored campus and earned points toward free prizes.

IU Bloomington’s newest students get acquainted with Hoosier pride at the annual Traditions and Spirit of IU pep rally at Assembly Hall.

In between those events, the university announced the Board of Trustees’ approval of a new School of Global and International Studies, which IU President Michael A. McRobbie calls “one of the most important developments in the nearly 200 years of IU’s history,” and a near-record $533 million in grants and awards for research and other sponsored programs in the last fiscal year.

And all of that news and activity took place prior to yesterday, when a record 7,600 first-year students, who represent one of the most academically talented and diverse freshman classes in campus’ history, and their returning peers began classes.

As someone who’s been in Btown for 14 years and counting, I find it hard to remember such a busy beginning to a year, which only promises to get more exciting and eventful in the coming days and months, with the kickoff of a new football season, major school happenings such as the naming of the new School of Public Health (formerly HPER) and an amazing array of arts events.

Indeed, as this special Welcome Back photo gallery suggests, this might just be the start of a special year at IU Bloomington.

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