On the scene at Quad Day 2022

Students+line+up+in+front+of+Foellinger+Auditorium+to+take+photos+with+the+Block+I+as+people+on+the+Main+Quad+walk+around+visiting+the+wide+array+of+RSOs+during+Quad+Day+on+Sunday.+

Sydney Laput

Students line up in front of Foellinger Auditorium to take photos with the Block I as people on the Main Quad walk around visiting the wide array of RSOs during Quad Day on Sunday.

By Aidan Finn and Sarah Bond

Quad Day returned with flying colors on Sunday, Aug. 21. Despite the thunder and gray overcast of the Saturday prior, muddy walkways didn’t stop students from meeting over the Main and South Quads, huddling around tents to join email newsletters, scan QR codes and score a nearly endless supply of free swag and plastic. 

Quad Day is a welcome sight for the student body, whether it be a final, emotional occasion for exiting seniors or an exciting, overwhelming experience for students new to Illinois. These extremes played out in front of the Marching Illini’s performance outside Foellinger Auditorium. Anika Goel, freshman in LAS, watched the performance unfold amidst her day of wandering the lawn.

“I was in marching band in high school, so it is really cool to see the college version of it,” Goel said. “It’s really exciting, there are so many clubs, so many opportunities for joining things in college.” 

Next to her was David Aronson, senior in Engineering, who watched his final Quad Day unfold with bittersweet emotions. “It’s a little sad, but it’s nice to see how things have changed since I started here,” Aronson said. “Sad, but, at the same time, amazing.”

Aronson still signed up for a few things despite his limited time left at the University, hoping to catch what opportunities he could and to spend time with friends. 

The 2022 event had the traditional tentpole attractions of marching band performances and live music on the Main Quad. The booths for the day came from all walks of life, some with printed banners and elaborate papier-mâché, others a mere wooden table with a clipboard and Tootsie Rolls. 

One of the flashiest displays was a car show from Illini Automotive Group, with sports cars and exposed engines on display for passersby, revving to the crowd’s enjoyment. Tyler Matuszczak, senior in LAS, explained the club’s obsession with cars and car culture while standing directly next to an RSO-branded car’s roaring engine.

“It’s going to be a little noisey over here,” Matuszczak said. “We just parked them over here, I don’t think we’re supposed to park them here. We’re just having a fun time revving our cars.”

Illini Automotive Group has been around for years, but it rebranded itself in the past two years in an attempt to appeal to a broader demographic of Illini. 

For new showcases, the Hemp Club drew large crowds, with it being the first ever Cannabis club on campus. Nazareth Rodrigez, senior in ACES, spoke of the club and its explosive debut at 2022’s Quad Day.

“Quad day is crazy, last year with COVID-19 and everything,” Rodrigez said. “This year, I love seeing everything, I love seeing the marching band, I love seeing everyone dancing. Feels like everything is going back to normal.” 

On the more elaborate side of RSO displays was the Illini Railroad Club. Charlies Li, senior in Engineering, helped his RSO for model train enthusiasts get a several-foot long train set working. 

“We are hoping it doesn’t rain,” Li joked. “Everything is coming along slowly. Hopefully we will get to running trains soon, once all the wiring is set up, and we’ll have some engines running around being chill.”

Clear skies and moderate heat levels provided a comfortable atmosphere, assisted by the food and ice cream trucks stationed across Gregory Drive.

Perfectly paired with the sunshine were golden retrievers, who were the star attraction of the Illini Service Dogs booth. Sarah Schum, the president of the group, showcased the trained service animals to students and emphasized the team’s core mission.

“Students train the service dogs from when they are puppies, usually starting at eight-10 weeks old,” Schum said. “It’s all done on campus with our students.” 

As is tradition, navigating the two quads proved to be a challenge for new students and returning Illini alike. Tanisha Gajar, sophomore in LAS, was one of several to voice this complaint when traveling with friends.

“I think it would be nice though, having more of the Quad Day maps around,” Gajar said. “We were getting kind of confused where everything was.” 

Rebecca Tichner, freshman in LAS, shared the same feeling with her friend. “I think there’s a lot of people here, so it’s kind of a little bit hard to navigate,” Tichner said. “I think some booths would be easier to get to if they had information on some other stuff.” 

The hands of the various faculty and marketing agencies of the university that organized the whole event were busy all hours of the day, between getting proper spacing for booths, cordoning off patches of the Main Quad for lawn work (forcing the main quad to be congested to the dismay of lost newcomers) and snapping promotional photography. Lea Peck, who works in public affairs for the University, explained the backstage work for Quad Day.

“We’re going to go around, probably take some photos and videos of students and different shows and just spotlight them on our various social media pages,” Peck said.

Peck credited the Illini Union Board as being one of the biggest contributors to managing Quad Day and keeping it going year after year, even as rain began to emerge in the later half of the event. 

As the day continued and eventually concluded, more students entered the quad ready to engage with new clubs as others left with stuffed plastic bags and new ventures in their college experience underway.

 

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