Tips to consider before attending Quad Day


The Daily Illini File Photo

Crowds of students fill up the Main Quad as they attend Quad Day on Aug 22, 2021. It is important for students to dress appropriately according to the weather and to bring essentials such as water and sunscreen.

By Faith Allendorf, Features Editor

Last year, the day was hot and muggy. 

I was making my walk from the Six Pack to the Main Quad, clad in an all-black outfit wearing half-up-half-down pigtails. I didn’t bring an umbrella or any water because I thought I would be outside for only 30 minutes, and the quad wasn’t going to be too crowded. 

I was really, really wrong. 

This Sunday marks the 51st Quad Day, which is when 800+ registered student organizations gather on the Main and South Quads to advertise themselves to potential members. 

Since Quad Day is in August, the afternoon tends to be hot, muggy and crowded, but that doesn’t mean you should skip it. The day is incredibly worthwhile if you know how to properly navigate it. Here are some tips I wish I had known before attending Quad Day. 

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    Dress appropriately 

    As I said, I wore all black. Don’t do that. 

    Chances are, it will be really hot outside, and the thousands of bodies so close to each other will only make the air tighter. You’ll already be uncomfortable pushing your way through the crowd, and the wrong attire will only make it worse.

    Wear something loose and comfortable: a flowy top, a sleeveless dress, a tank top, athletic shorts or a skirt. Avoid dark colors, as they attract sunlight and will make you hotter. Don’t wear open-toed shoes — people will step on your toes. 

    What to bring

    You should not go into Quad Day empty-handed. Bring a water bottle, sunscreen and an umbrella. There is not enough shade for everyone, and you risk dehydration if you do not have any water. Sunscreen will protect your exposed skin, and an umbrella will do the same with the added benefit of having it in case it rains. 

    Whether it be a tote or a backpack, bring a bag. Nearly every RSO booth will have freebies they are giving out, and you should make it a goal to take advantage of all the stuff you can get. Most of the handouts will be useful during the year.

    Explore the list of RSOs

    Before I went to Quad Day, I knew I wanted to find The Daily Illini and a couple of political groups. This helped me know what to look for as I followed the flow of traffic through the quad.

    If you would like to get a head start on finding the name of an RSO that fits your interests, check out Involved@Illinois’ comprehensive database of all of the organizations. 

    On the website, you can search by category, and clicking on an RSO will bring you to a page with a detailed description of everything the organization is about — from officer names to its history. 

    Unfortunately, there usually isn’t a map of Quad Day until a couple of days before, but the website will help you get a great head start.

    Bring a buddy

    The quad will be crowded with thousands of excited students who are on the move, and it might be intimidating being around all of those people, especially if you are someone who is not used to or does not like big crowds.

    Whether it be someone you went to high school with or a couple of people from your dorm floor, going with another person can help ease any nerves you might have. Join a couple of clubs together, take some pictures and be a source of security for each other. Plus, you may discover things about each other that you didn’t know before Quad Day. 

    Take risks and be inquisitive

    Going outside of your comfort zone is not easy, but college is all about doing uneasy things. The classroom is not the only place you will develop, but the opportunities you chase outside of it will offer much more than you can imagine.

    That is why you should take risks on Quad Day, and sign up for something you have never heard of before or for something that challenges you. Even if you don’t end up liking the RSO you joined, you can always back out at any time knowing that you tried your hardest. 

    Make sure to ask questions, as the people working at the booths are there to do so. They will always be able to tell you what you are signing up for. 

    Remember: You are an Illini 

    Quad Day can be incredibly overwhelming for first-timers, and I say that from personal experience. But, remember that this campus is your home now, and by taking part in Quad Day, you are taking part in a tradition that has been around for decades. 

    The day will be a little scary, but now, you are an Illini. You are capable of handling anything. 


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