Imagine skipping, dancing your way to class

By Samuel Kottoor, Columnist

Attending a university of 40,000 people has its ups and downs — the ups being the reason I go here. However, migrating to class alongside thousands can somehow make you feel lonelier than ever. Walking on the sidewalks with your headphones in, hood up and the dreadfulness of class in mind throws you into your own little world, disconnected from the multitude of students all around you.

But what if there was a way to spread a more positive vibe throughout campus, connecting all the people of this beautiful university together. Imagine all the people living for today.

Here’s what I propose. Picture campus-wide theme days. Let’s say every Friday, Thursday or even Monday, whatever day you like, University Massmail graces us with an email, briefing us with specific instructions for the day. For example, Chancellor Robert J. Jones could send us all an email on Tuesday night, informing us tomorrow will be Onesie Wednesday, a day for all land-faring students to walk the streets of Champaign-Urbana in their most prized onesies.

Imagine the camaraderie you would feel with your fellow citizens and the overall increase in happiness through campus that day as the streets were filled with fuzzy critters. There are so many themes to choose from, whether it be Fun Hat Fridays, Poncho Thursdays or Pajama Jam Mondays.

One of my favorite things is when the Altgeld Bell Tower chimes for all to enjoy, whether it be “The Office” theme song, the happy birthday song or the “Harry Potter” theme song. I personally love when “The Office” theme starts ringing through the Main Quad, as it never fails to bring a smile to my face.

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It got me thinking: What if once a week, speakers set up all throughout campus would play a set of songs all day. For example, one day could be an oldies day, a Disney day or even a Christmas day as we approach the winter holidays. Students who previously were living in their own worlds with their own music would suddenly be dancing and skipping to class and singing familiar jams with their fellow peers — peers they may never see again yet feel so connected to in that moment. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.

Along a slightly different train of thought, something I’ve noticed here at college is us pedestrians feel like we rule the world — the streets are ours for the taking. We cross the road with no worry in the world knowing a driver wouldn’t dare hit us no matter the velocity at which they are already traveling. We walk past these cars not even acknowledging them with only the intent of getting to class in mind.

Yet back home, when walking through the streets of whichever city your parents have pitched camp, it is common to give a quick wave to the car that has stopped for you and a little smile too, if you’re feeling it.

It confuses me why this concept is lost when we all come back to campus. It doesn’t hurt to make a collective effort to smile and wave at the driver that has so nicely stopped for us, contributing toward a more polite future.

And who knows? If we all start doing this, maybe we will also begin waving to each other while walking to class, not knowing the person but knowing their capacity for friendship.

There are so many ways to spread positivity and togetherness throughout this campus. Campuswide hide and seek, capture the flag, flash mobs, tag and more are just a simple starter pack.

Theme days and polite greetings may never come about on this campus, but I ask, for just a second, you imagine what one of these days would feel like. For me, it feels simply incredible, final-credits-scene-of-a-happy-movie like. All I want is to hop, skip and jump my way to class daily with my fellow Illini.

Samuel is a junior in Engineering.

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