The Daily Illini

The Main Quad is a space for everyone

Students+take+advantage+of+the+warm+weather+and+play+frisbee+on+the+Main+Quad.
Back to Article
Back to Article

The Main Quad is a space for everyone

Students take advantage of the warm weather and play frisbee on the Main Quad.

Students take advantage of the warm weather and play frisbee on the Main Quad.

Brian Bauer

Students take advantage of the warm weather and play frisbee on the Main Quad.

Brian Bauer

Brian Bauer

Students take advantage of the warm weather and play frisbee on the Main Quad.

By Molly Zupan, Special Sections Editor

College campuses all around the world offer varying degrees of student life, size, academics and sports. But the majority of them have one particular aspect in common that brings them all together.

You guessed it, it’s the Main Quad.

Sitting in the center of campus, the Main Quad is the action-packed, community-building hub of the University. Lined by a significant portion of academic buildings, such as Gregory Hall, Noyes Laboratory and Lincoln Hall, the Main Quad is a location with which every student and faculty member is familiar.

Each day, hundreds of students pass through the Main Quad to get to classes, their dorms or to grab food nearby. When the weather suffices, it becomes a hotspot like no other; dozens of students flock to it to stretch out on a picnic blanket, throw a frisbee around or just to catch up with friends.

Now try to picture campus without the Main Quad. What would it look like?

Without it, the impact would be huge, and not in a good way. The Main Quad is the most essential and representative part of campus. With a different structure or design, I would imagine students would feel much different about the University and the college experience in general.

As an urban planning student, I have learned a lot about the functionality of urban spaces, including how they flow and why they flourish. Of all I’ve learned so far, the most valuable and relatable aspect of planning is every urban area deserves an open environment that provides a welcoming sense of community and safety.

Without a doubt, the University’s version of that special space is the Main Quad.

It is a space where all students and faculty are welcome to interact, share and communicate. It is a space where people can speak freely. It is a space that welcomes individuals of any race, gender or culture. Most importantly, it is a space where political and societal issues can be voiced, heard and seen.

A great example of this use took place just a few months ago, when the University’s Graduate Employee Organization went on strike for better wages, healthcare and treatment. During this strike they staged the majority of their actions on the Main Quad.

The GEO chose to occupy the Main Quad with intentions for their purpose to be seen, heard and recognized as a united drive for an overall better quality of life.

There are hundreds of examples of this recurrence throughout history, in places like Chicago’s Grant Park, New York City’s Central Park and the Washington Monument. For as long as our country is a democracy, this movement of organization and the collective voice will continue.

As social beings, people need safe spaces to express themselves, aside from just their private homes. In order to live a fulfilled and healthy life, a majority of people need to experience feelings of acceptance and connection to the outside world.

This is exactly why the Main Quad and similar spaces are so essential for human growth, satisfaction and cohesiveness.

So the next time you pass by, stop and take it all in.

Look closely at the people who are using it and notice their facial expressions and movements. Admire the open yet secluded structure of the space. Notice the intentional layout and placement of the benches, trees and sidewalks.

The next time you find yourself on the Main Quad, relaxing or talking to classmates, recognize how it makes you feel. Become aware of this environment and it’s everlasting value because you will only be on this campus for so long.

Wherever you go after college, keep your eyes open for spaces that give you that same sensation; take advantage of them, share them with others and make sure they remain safe and welcoming.

There are more out there than you think.

Molly is a junior in FAA.

[email protected]

Leave a Comment
The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871