2020-2021: Read a year full of stories

By Features Staff

This is a list of the most popular stories published each month by The Daily Illini Life & Culture section during the 2020-2021 school year.

The Life & Culture section has reported on a wide variety of issues, ranging from human rights protests to a new cannabis dispensary, during the first full school year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

August: Freshman Adjust

Freshman year is already a difficult adjustment for students at the University. However, the COVID-19 pandemic made it even harder.
Many freshmen struggled to adjust to online classes and found it difficult to make friends. Without an in-person Quad Day, many freshmen found it difficult to join RSOs.

September: Quarantine Meals

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    The world had its eyes on the University’s groundbreaking fall semester COVID-19 plan. However, there were many holes.
    After The Daily Illini received an anonymous tip from a parent concerned for their student in quarantine isolation, many students reported that the University failed to provide them with meals.

    October: Altgeld

    Tucked past three flights of steep staircases, the chimes room in Altgeld Hall is home to shelves of handwritten music, wooden pedals connected to wire cables and the Altgeld Ringers, a group of student chimes players.
    This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Altgeld Chimes.

    November: Age of Politics

    When the 115th Congress began its term in 2017, the average age of its members was among the oldest in recent U.S. history. The average age of the House was 57.8 years. For the Senate, it was 61.8 years.
    However, politicians are getting younger.
    The congressional elections held in 2018 introduced the youngest freshman class since 2011 with figures like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress at 29 years old.

    December: Women in Science

    In subjects of science, women often have been largely underrepresented, both in broader society and in scientific archives and historical records. This semester, the University Archives has been holding a Women in Science lecture series in an effort to highlight and document the achievements of women in the sciences.

    January: iCAP

    Over 12 years ago, the University announced its commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 through the Illinois Climate Action Plan. Since the iCAP was updated in 2020, energy sustainability efforts on campus have remained underway despite COVID-19 challenges and budget restraints.
    Although officials report that the University has decreased its energy consumption by 25% since 2008, some iCAP energy members have doubts about reaching the 2050 goal because of financial constraints.

    February: Long-distance relationships

    February, the month of love, was challenging this year for those in long-distance relationships. COVID-19 complications made it even harder for students to show their love for one another.

    March: AAPI

    Throughout the year, the Asian American and Pacific Islander community has been the target of hate crimes and violence. In response to the Atlanta spa shootings on March 16, students and staff at the University educated the Champaign-Urbana residents on the racism the AAPI community faces on a daily basis and spoke about their fear for their safety and that of their family members.

    April: Menstruation

    Kate Clancy, associate professor in LAS that specializes in menstruation studies, published a tweet asking if people who menstruate were experiencing abnormal cycles since getting their dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
    As many replied saying they had, Clancy began to research whether the COVID-19 vaccine alters menstruation. She said historically, vaccine and drug trials don’t look for changes in menstruation patterns.

    May: NuEra

    The adult-use cannabis dispensary, nuEra, opened its Campustown location in early April.
    Being close to the University campus, Alex Carretto, general manager, said their customer base is mostly college students but there are some local customers as well.

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