Fact or Fiction: DeKalb Style

By Chris Krapek

1) Barb Wire was invented in DeKalb: FACT

Why do you think they call it the Barb City? Because Joseph Glidden, one of DeKalb’s most prominent historical figures, patented the idea for barb wire in 1874. That, and because we’re known for our razor sharp wit. Get it?

2) Freshmen can live wherever they want their first semester: FICTION

Sorry, everyone has to do it. Being a freshman is much like being a prisoner doing a sentence, you’ve got to do your time before you move on to bigger and better things. The key is seeing the light at the end of the tunnel when your shower goes from scorching hot to icy cold in a split-second.

3) Famous people have went to NIU or lived in DeKalb: FACT

The most obvious of which, super babe Cindy Crawford, was born and raised in DeKalb. So was “Step Brothers” father and Oscar nominee Richard Jenkins. But our university has famous Huskies alumni as well, including acclaimed actress Joan Allen, Dan Castellaneta (better known to you as Homer Simpson) and current running back for the Chicago Bears, Garret Wolfe.

4) NIU has an observatory you can visit: FACT

If you’ve never had an astronomy class, you may not even know this exists. After going through a labyrinth in Davis Hall past the fifth floor, you can find the illustrious observatory. Open three-days-a-week and complete with floor-rising hydraulics, students and the general public can overlook the whole city on a clear night or check out the stars with a telescope.

5) There’s nothing to do in DeKalb: FICTION

Your first few months here can be overwhelming. Then, things will taper off and soon you’ll feel suffocated by the corn and John Deere’s on Lincoln Highway. Do not fear. DeKalb is full with fun stuff to do. We’ve got two movie theaters, multiple genre-spanning music venues, specialty shops downtown, beautiful parks, pools, bowling alley‘s, arcades, bars and hookah lounges.

6) Fee-paying NIU students can use the Rec Center for free: FACT

Get your twenty-two inch biceps for nothing. Open seven-days-a-week, the Rec Center can be utilized by pretty much every NIU student here. However, go on off-hours when it’s less busy to avoid traffic and puddles of sweat on the machines. Also, make sure your locker actually locks.

7) Every event at the Convocation Center is free: FICTION

Much like the Rec, any fee-paying NIU student can get into men’s and women’s basketball for free. But not everything at the luxurious Convocation Center is on the house.

Concerts, religious speakers, dog shows, BMX competitions, stand-up comedians and massive flea markets have all been hosted at the Convo and unfortunately, yes, they do cost money.

8) NIU has its own underground tunnel system you can use: FICTION

Deep beneath the residence halls and separated by the Kishwaukee River is a steam tunnel system reserved for janitorial work. The bummer is, you can’t use it.

9) NIU has its own radio station: FACT and FICTION

Collaborating with NIU, Northern Illinois public radio station, WNIJ 89.5 is the closest thing to a local radio station DeKalb has. The now defunct Northern Star radio, a student-run and operated station featuring music and talk shows, left the airwaves in 2007 and hasn’t been back since.

10) If you live in the dorms, you get access to Channel 8, a NIU-run station featuring newer movies: FACT

If a movie has recently come to DVD, odds are it’ll be on Channel 8 really soon. Running 24 hours a day, check out first-rate flicks without going to the theater or making the trek to the Redbox. Movies are updated monthly, and you can also send requests in for the movies you want to see on there yourself.