Meet Randi Marodi, an IUP alumni and my mom. During her time in college, the mascot was still the Indians, not the Crimson Hawks, and the HUB was newly built.
My mom, who was known as Randi Ross at the time, went to the IUP branch campus in Kittanning her freshman year, which was about 40 minutes away from main campus. Dorm life back in the 80s was quite different than it is now. They had communal bathrooms and it wasn’t unusual for friends to dump cold water on someone’s head or steal their towel while they were taking a shower. If you wanted to call your friends or family, you might have had to wait in line at the pay phone with your bag of quarters waiting for a girl to get off the phone with her boyfriend. All of the people on her floor were close and remained friends when they moved to the main campus.
On main campus she lived with her best friend, Karen Fleming, in Shafer Hall, which was later torn down in 2009. Their dorm room consisted of a bed, closet, dresser, desk, a shelf, and a telephone. Their residence hall was much more calm than the one in Kittanning. They weren’t as close to the people on their floor, but they were still able to make some friends. When the weather was nice, everyone would be out on the lawn, tanning and playing music, almost as if it were a beach.
As for food, she and her friends usually ate at Foster’s dining hall and occasionally McDonald’s. Randi also loved ordering pizza since that wasn’t something she could do back at home in Greene County.
Randi graduated from IUP in 1987 with a degree in journalism. She chose this major because she enjoys writing, asking questions, and looking into things. Even though computers had been invented, she had to use a typewriter for all her assignments. Since you couldn’t submit a paper via email, she had to run across campus while correcting any mistakes with Wite-Out and a pen, hoping to hand it in to the secretary on time in order for her to clock it in. During her senior year of college, she wrote for the IUP newspaper, The Penn. After graduation, she worked for her local newspaper The Washington Observer-Reporter. Now, she works for Washington County Commissioner Harlan G. Shober.
One of Randi’s favorite memories is being a founding sister of Theta Phi Alpha. On the first day of rush, many girls overlooked Theta Phi Alpha when choosing a sorority and went for the more well-known ones. Luckily, her friend, Lisa Agostini, was able to convince her friends to join by telling them they could all be founding sisters. It was also a good way to be a part of Greek life without get hazed, which was something some Greeks did back then. By the second day of rush, they had gone from a handful of members to thirty-five.
Although they gained more members, they still had some other obstacles to overcome. Just because they were officially a sorority, didn’t mean they were accepted by other sororities and fraternities.
They started by going to the local store, Sacco’s on Philly Street, that sold Greek goods. The owner agreed to carry apparel with their letters in the store. All the founding sisters ordered jackets and pins which they wore around campus. But it would take a little more for people to know who exactly they were.
The main turning point was when Theta Phi Alpha was invited to participate in Greek Sing, which would give them the opportunity to get their name out. They paired with a fraternity and made their mark by taking second place. By this point, they were officially accepted by the rest of the Greeks on campus.
When I was applying to colleges, IUP was one of the first schools I applied to and got accepted to. My mom and all three of her sisters, Kelly, Morgan and Taylor, attended IUP and loved it. My mom was a little nervous when I committed to IUP since she knew so much about it (and how much fun it was; too much fun, at times), but I knew it was the right college for me. I’m glad to carry on the tradition of going to IUP.
Randi and Karen’s room, 427 Shafer Hall
My mom and my three aunts in the Oak Grove.
Top to bottom : Kelly, Randi, Morgan, and Taylor
Theta Phi Alpha’s founding sisters and first pledge class.
Left to right : Randi Marodi, Rene Lawrence, and Karen Fleming