UI’s declassified school explorer guide: Visit here before you graduate


The Daily Illini File Photo

Students walk across the Main Quad between class periods on Feb. 22, 2018.

By Meghan Lyons, Special Sections Editor

The first time I stepped foot onto campus, I was taken aback at the size of our school. I’ve stayed in the same hometown my whole life. To me, Champaign was a whole new world — one that was wildly different from my idle hometown. A curious freshman, I wanted to explore all around campus. Throughout my time here, I’ve discovered many interesting places. Some of them are already pretty popular, but many are still unknown to even some seniors. If you are a curious person wanting to know everything about campus, here are some of the lesser-known places.

South of the Main Quad

Unlike the Main Quad, the South Quad is much calmer and quieter. Not much goes on here, but there is one popular tradition: screaming at the bell tower. Around midterms and finals, students like to gather and scream for therapeutic reasons. With COVID-19, this tradition might not stay, but if you gotta scream — this is the place for you. Just don’t be shocked if you get a few strange looks.

Noyes’ Basement

Yes, the infamous Noyes’ Laboratory holds a bit of a secret underneath the ground in the basement. Those who choose to venture down in the basement will be met with sinister doors saying, “Keep out,” and obsolete computers piled up. Legend says that somewhere in the narrow hallway, there is a passage that goes directly to the grave of the William Noyes, whom the building is named after. If you choose to explore the basement, be wary. There may or may not be consequences if you get caught.

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Residential Urbana

If you ask anyone who’s lived or has even explored around Urbana, they would probably agree that the vibe is completely different. Once you get past Lincoln Avenue, you will arrive at the residential part of Urbana. This is directly across from LAR. The neighborhood is unlike any other neighborhood I’ve ever seen — every house is unique, and even otherworldly looking. The streets are cobblestone, accompanied by mysterious and dark lamp poles. It is a nice neighborhood to venture with friends.

English Building Basement

Believe it or not, the English Building was not always the English Building. Originally, it used to serve as a dorm for women. Urban legend says that the English Building basement is haunted, with students reporting paranormal experiences. In the basement, there are classes that go on. There used to be a pool in the basement. If you are looking for a thrilling experience, be sure to check out this spot if you ever happen to be in the building.

Steam Tunnels

Running underneath campus are intricate steam tunnels, meant to keep campus warm during the cold months. If you walk around campus, you will find raised vents with hot air coming from them. These are the steam tunnels, and they are shrouded in mystery. While I have not been down there, some students have gone inside with the permission of staff. I do not encourage anyone to go into the steam tunnels. Students who venture into the steam tunnels without permission will face serious repercussions — including expulsion. If you are curious about the steam tunnels, maybe you will get the chance to enter with a staff member.

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