The University helps high school students in surrounding areas


Nimisha Singh

University Laboratory High is located in Urbana on Springfield Avenue and is one of the many schools that benefits from being near the University.

By Sriram Karumbunathan, Columnist

When you come to the University for the first time, you see it is surrounded by acres and acres of farmland. As you finally arrive in Urbana though, you might notice there are plenty of neighborhoods and communities surrounding the college.

There are plenty of families that live around the University, people needed to keep the college alive. While some people might think a college town like this would be horrible to grow up in, there are actually a lot of benefits to growing up in smaller cities like Urbana and Champaign as opposed to a city like Chicago.

Many people would think that big cities would be ideal places to grow up. You are surrounded by almost everything imaginable. If you wanted to play a sport, chances are there is some league within walking distance of you. However, growing up in Champaign-Urbana has its own rewards.

First off, there are a plethora of organized groups here to help high school students. It does not matter if you are underprivileged or if you have an interest in a weird subject; there is probably a group on campus that caters to schools in the surrounding areas.

There are organizations that help high school students out through sports, music, movies and various more things. On top of this, they make themselves accessible. Often, these groups reach out to schools or high school groups themselves, rather than the student having to take initiative.

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Another benefit to growing up in Champaign-Urbana would be the amount of academic opportunities students in surrounding schools get around the University. There are plenty of programs right now, by both University students and the University itself, that encourage high school students to explore their academic interests. There are some programs which even allow high school students to come into University facilities and use the resources usually dedicated to college students.

For example, there are buses that head to events that high school students are welcome to attend and participate in, such as hackathons and conferences, at other colleges all the time. There are also notable speakers that come to campus frequently that high school students, and community members are allowed to attend.

Another reason growing up here is beneficial is being able to use all the resources dedicated to the University. There are professors, libraries and technology on campus that can be utilized by members of the surrounding community. Just by asking the University for permission, it is easily accessible to all high school students around here.

The last reason growing up in the surrounding cities is interesting would be how much easier it is to get a perspective on college and what a college campus is like.  Growing up around a major University, there are so many more resources, showing what a college learning environment is like. A high school student would know whether they prefer a college campus like this to a college located in the city or whether they would like to try dorms. All the information about college is right in their hands, so there would be no need to worry about minor decisions like where to live and how to get around campus.

There are plenty of reasons as to why the University  benefits the high school students in the surrounding cities of Urbana and Champaign. These reasons are also growing by the day, as University students are finding new ways to give back to the community. As the college grows, the community around it will also grow, creating a better environment for students in the surrounding high schools to grow up in.

Sriram is a junior in Engineering.

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