Future alumni must continue to bleed orange, blue

Graduating students wait to walk across the stage and receive their diplomas during commencement in 2018 at Memorial Stadium.

Photo Courtesy of Brian Stauffer

Graduating students wait to walk across the stage and receive their diplomas during commencement in 2018 at Memorial Stadium.

By Shalini Atluri, Staff Writer

With graduation fast approaching, the next class of graduates will soon be alumni. Once college ends, friends are often separated by job offers or graduate schools in different locations. Despite this, being a part of this University does not have to be a distant memory of the past. College friendships do not have to falter because of distance. Illinois is one big family, and family always sticks together. Illinois-themed events and groups can quench the thirst for some orange and blue.

One of the best ways for alumni to stay connected to the University is by attending Homecoming Weekend. On a beautiful fall day when the trees on the Main Quad are changing color, enjoying a great day of football at Memorial Stadium will quickly bring the memories of your undergraduate career back in your mind. Witnessing the sea of orange and blue down Green Street will make you realize that not much has changed since you were a student. Additionally, a one-stop place to find events for Illinois alumni is to visit https://illinoisalumni.org/. There are multiple opportunities to choose from such as the Explorers Travelers Alumni program. You can travel to places like the Swiss Alps to the Illinois Connection advocacy group, as well as fight for state support for the University of Illinois system.

Since many Illinois students come from the Chicagoland area and move back there after graduation, there is one particular opportunity that may be of interest. The Chicago Illini Club is a wonderful organization to use to maintain contact with friends. According to the website, one program they have is the Illini Watch Zone. When the Fighting Illini play, they are numerous bars and restaurants that host game days for the events. Another event hosted by the Chicago Illini Club is their golf outings. Even if the post-graduate life takes you out of Illinois, fear not because there are numerous clubs across the country from the Phoenix Illini Club to the Metro New York Illini Club. From coast to coast, an Illini is close by. While these Illinois events are fun to attend with planned, deliberate action, there are much easier ways to preserve college friendships. 

Facetime and Skype can be an effective way to stay in touch with friends. Chatting with friends allows people to stay on top of each other’s lives. By staying up to date with engagements, weddings and the births of babies, the friendships made in college will be sure to last a lifetime. 

With a 9-5 work schedule as a post-grad, it may be difficult to travel to visit old friends from college when new friends are in the cubicle next to you. However, one travel tip is to take advantage of three-day weekends. Certain weekends, such as Labor Day Weekend and Memorial Day Weekend, are a great opportunity to take a road trip or even a quick flight to visit a college friend. 

During college, friends are not just friends. They are the people who support you through the first few days of homesickness and the all-nighters studying for hard classes. Most importantly, they are the ones that wait in long lines at Walgreens on Green to get you the electrolytes you need after a night of fun. Maintaining the relationships you have formed here with humility and a little bit of effort will go a long way.

Shalini is a junior in AHS.

[email protected]