Final Quad Day gives seniors chance at new friendships, missed experiences

By Aditya Sayal, Assistant Investigative News & Longform Editor

As you step outside, the sun shines down on you, and the air is humid. You start your journey with a small bag in hand and follow the long line of excited students that stretches from the Illini Union to Foellinger Auditorium — a walk you first took three years ago.

But this year, the walk is different, as you are a senior attending Quad Day for the last time. 

“Why would a senior go to Quad Day in the first place?” you might ask, wondering what the event could offer you. After all, you’ve done this several times already.

You arrived freshman year in 2019, your eyes bright at all the clubs you could possibly join that day. Then, in 2020, the pandemic struck, and Quad Day was virtual. Last fall, the event was held in person but was barely the same, especially if you were immunocompromised.

Now, it’s 2022. As a senior, you have one proper Quad Day left — an opportunity to go outside, enjoy the beautiful weather Champaign has to offer and look at the possible RSOs you could join during your final year. In fact, explore the RSOs you might have been unable to join these past three years due to prior time commitments.

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While you’re exploring and navigating the Main Quad, visit your friends that are at tables for their own clubs. As you walk around and build up a sweat, go inside the Union for some air conditioning and purchase a poster for yourself at the poster sale. Choose something to spruce up your apartment.

Marvel at the incoming class and see how starry-eyed they are just as you once were. While you’re observing the freshmen and transfer students, help them out if you notice them struggling in the swarm of people — you may even make some new friends in the process. 

Don’t forget about free items and merch that organizations hand out on Quad Day. You might have plenty of pens and random stress balls, but you never know when you might misplace a pen. In addition, stress may arise in the future when the time to study for a midterm arrives, and that extra stress ball can help you focus and relax. 

Another free item that is common at Quad Day is the water bottle, which is especially useful for the hot, humid weather in Champaign-Urbana during the early months of the fall semester. Still, if free stress balls, pens and water bottles aren’t appealing, you can always scavenge for free candy at the event. 

Searching for free items could even lead you to find an RSO that excites you and would help you make the most of your final year in college.

Dustin Shattuck, advisor in the Division of General Studies, said seniors should look at RSOs that could provide quality experiences in the final year of college. Shattuck mentioned when he was a student at the University, he never missed a Quad Day. He said there was one specific item that always drew him back.

“That was always one of the draws for me — to get a free student planner,” Shattuck said.

During his senior-year Quad Day, Shattuck also kept an eye out for new groups that seemed like they would be fun or interesting. For example, he discovered an RSO that piqued his interest called the Pipe Club, as in a tobacco pipe club, where people would smoke tobacco pipes.

If you go to Quad Day as a senior, you’ll perhaps find an RSO just as interesting, if not more interesting, that has events throughout the school year.

Shattuck also enjoyed the energy Quad Day provided. During his time as a student at the University, Shattuck spent most of his summers on campus, which was a substantial change in pace from the regular semester. 

“It had a really good energy,” Shattuck said. “To go back into that fall semester and to see everyone back on campus and altogether in that way — it was sort of reinvigorating to start back into classes.”

Shattuck said one piece of advice he would provide seniors is to be present and conscious and appreciate the experience of being on campus before graduating. He also advised seniors to sign up for experiences and take an initiative within a community where they will learn, enjoy their time and meet new people.

When considering the opportunities that seniors can further pursue, whether through RSOs at Quad Day or otherwise, Shattuck emphasized the importance of the quality of the experiences over the quantity.

“I think the quality is the thing to really think about because that is what connects us and makes the experience real for us,” Shattuck said. “But when we’re trying to communicate to other people, the depth of that is certainly more important than just the title or saying you were involved in a whole bunch of things.”


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