The Daily Illini

Editorial | Put the St. Patrick’s Day back in Unofficial

By The Daily Illini Editorial Board

Has anyone else noticed that Unofficial has seemed lackluster in the last couple of years? The upperclassmen members of the Editorial Board have noticed. In the last couple of years, Unofficial has become just another day to go out, day drink and go to the bars. On a bar-heavy campus like our own, this is not unlike any other Friday or Saturday afternoon. It’s just another excuse to go to the barson a campus where, let’s face it, we don’t need an excuse to day drink.

Unofficial used to be a bigger dealperhaps because when it first began it had a direct correlation to St. Patrick’s Day since the students weren’t going to be on campus during the actual St. Patrick’s Day, on account of Spring Break.

According to the University of Illinois Archives, Unofficial “officially” started in 1995 and featured the signature “Shamrock Stagger.” 10 campus bars sponsored the event, which included drink deals and giveaways. As the party weekend grew in size throughout the next few decades, so did the looks. Green top hats and shamrock glasses were commonplace around campus.

However, the campus holiday has since lost its flair and turned into a “just show up in a green shirt and drink” day. When compared to what this campus does every other weekend, the only difference is the green shirt.  

Part of the decline in the frenzy surrounding the day has been for the better. We’re not advocating for irresponsible behavior. Unofficial is not without its negatives; numerous students have died over the infamous weekend, as recently as last year.

However, Unofficial shows no signs of completely ceasing to exist anytime soon, so we might as well lean into the theme a little more.

Recently,  an “unofficial uniform” has appeared: green love sleeve t-shirts, often depicting the Chief and the words “Unofficial” or “Illiniwek.” The Illinois class Facebook pages are flooded with links to various online retailers offering iterations of the same shirt. But minimalism and conformity are not welcome this Unofficial. Once you have one Unofficial KAM’S shirt, do you really need another?

For this reason, the Editorial Board has two requests:

First, be safe. You’ve heard it countless times, so we’re not here to badger you with another reminder to be responsible; however, make sure you have a plan in place and friends by your side throughout the entire day.

Now as for what to wear, put St. Patrick’s Day back into Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day. This is a call to action for green glitter beard, spray paint orange hair and a good old-fashioned Irish brogue.

There are perks to spicing up your Unofficial flair beyond just the “yaass queens” you’ll receive when walking down Green Street in your best Leprechaun realness. A brightly colored costume may just get you out of cover and allow you to avoid long lines.

If we’re going to celebrate Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day, let’s at least do it right. Stay safe, have fun with the theme and make it a day to remember.

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