Ever-changing population makes C-U unique


Sydney Laput

People walk and gather by the local stores and cafes of downtown Champaign on Saturday. The C-U community is always adapting to fit both needs of students and residents.

By Kylie Corral, Assistant Buzz Editor

With a campus as large as the one at the University alongside a community as vibrant and lively as Champaign-Urbana, there’s no stopping the mixture of C-U residents with students. 

As a college town, Champaign-Urbana presents many opportunities for students to explore community, but there are aspects of Campustown that contribute to that same community as well.

Remington Rock, the general manager of The Literary in downtown Champaign, said that having Champaign-Urbana so close to campus creates a more collaborative and supportive environment, whether that be for students or community members.

“I think they’re very collaborative and very supportive of each other, which is great,” Rock said. “It just kind of leads to double, more potential to work together and do things — so I think that’s awesome.” 

She added that people in C-U love to shop and are often very supportive of local C-U businesses and talent. Rock said that this “local love” is often very true and important to the heart of towns such as C-U.

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“It’s even more of an added bonus when, you know, nine months of the year we have 10s of thousands of people who are not from here, living here with the school and everything,” she said. “So I think it’s great. I think it just leads to more opportunity for new things, learning new things, meeting more people and new experiences.”

Although support is well received in C-U, Rock added that it can be hard when a small town suddenly doubles in size during the academic year.

“So I think, you know, every year we always have to prepare ourselves for an influx of a lot of new people and people not from here,” Rock said. “It’s in a way a challenge, but I think it’s a positive challenge that can just lead to a lot of potential.”

Charlie Harris, member of the events and production team at the Rose Bowl Tavern as well as touring musician with Chicago Farmer & The Field Notes, said that there’s always been a lot of changes in the 16 years he has been living in Urbana.

The University and Campustown seem to be always changing — new buildings, new businesses, new people, that seems constant,” Harris said. “I guess campus has grown, in that there are new and huge buildings, but the nature of building up and stacking people on top of each other, also seems to have moved campus people away from ‘residential areas.’” 

Harris added that things have changed for the Rose Bowl as well, saying events have moved from just two shows in a month to almost more than two events a day, featuring a diverse range of musical genres.

“I love living and working in a university town!” he said. “There’s always new ideas, new people and a diverse collection of all of it. It’s exciting and bustling and moving and any idea, hobby (or) indulgence can be entertained but without the hassle of a big city, and then we get to slow down during University breaks.” 

He added that as a music venue, campus moving toward community has only been positive.

Meghan Houlihan, junior in FAA, said that she began at the University during the COVID-19 pandemic when everything was mostly online. However, even with C-U nearby, she said she hasn’t had much exposure to it on campus.

“At least in my experience, there hasn’t been like a lot of exposure either way,” Houlihan said. “But, especially on campus, I really only hear about on campus stuff.” 

Although Houlihan finds a strong sense of community within her major, she wishes that C-U community was presented more.

“I really like (C-U) personally,” Houlihan said. “Again, I wish that they did advertise like on site (C-U) businesses and whatnot. But, yeah, I personally do like venturing off campus and like finding new stuff. It’s not like (the University) doesn’t have a lot to offer, because they do, but like there are some things they don’t obviously.”


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