The main Quadrangle, generally known as “Quad”, is one of the most popular and iconic places on campus. Its existence dates back to the early 1900s. Measuring 203 feet wide, 940 feet long and with the Illini union building and the auditorium on it’s either ends, it is one of the most popular rendezvous points and hangout places for most of the students. Therefore, it is fitting that this place be chosen to showcase the diversity at University of Illinois. Every year, after the move-in day and the day before classes commence, the Quad is lit up by a celebration of sorts displaying the culture and diversity on campus. Thousands of students throng to be a part of this festivity.
All the student organizations come together to showcase themselves and exhibit everything that they have to offer to the students. There are close to 1400 Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) catering to all interests and hobbies. These organizations range from data analytics to coffee and tea enthusiasts, music bands to pet lovers, sports and fitness teams to spiritual and religious organizations. With such an array of choice, every student is bound to get drawn towards one of them. There are also country-specific student organizations that help international students with temporary accommodations, celebration of festivals etc. All these RSOs have their desks/kiosks set up, making the Quad look colorful and all the more joyous. Being a part of these organizations and taking part in extra-curricular activities enriches our experience as students and provides us with a window to keep ourselves away from the otherwise hectic academic schedule.
Apart from the stalls and kiosks of RSOs, the Quad day also sees essential information and helpdesks from the Champaign Police Department, the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transport Department (local bus services) and the University Health Center. They handout various informational brochures which are extremely beneficial especially from an international student’s perspective. The Engineering stalls are a treat to visit. They exhibit most of the recent research and developments done at U of I, ranging from automobiles to computers. We were thrilled to see a Formula SAE car on display developed by the Engineering students. There was plenty of entertainment from some of the student organizations performing live just outside the union building.
The most important thing that everyone looks forward to on the Quad day is undoubtedly the goodies! Every organization hands out printed t-shirts, stationaries, mugs, sippers, bags, coupons and a host of other treats. There are food stalls to make things even better and games that make the day more fun! These factors led us all to most of the desks and in the process helped us learn a lot about the University and the student community as a whole. I would encourage all students, especially the international folks, not to miss the event. Carry a bag and collect loads of goodies, enjoy the food and have a great time!
In short, for me as an international student and someone who has not experienced such a thing, Quad day was nothing short of a carnival. It was truly a “Mela”.