Traditions at the University of Illinois


Illio Yearbook

The Illini break through a banner at the 1981 Homecoming football game while the cheerleading squad encourages the football team from the side.

By Andrea Flores, Longform editor

It’s no surprise that in the past 151 years, the University developed many traditions. When I came to Champaign two years ago, I was a little intimidated by all of the history and traditions. I felt like as a freshman; I was behind on what I needed to know.

Now that I’ve figured it out, I’d like to welcome you to the University and all the quirks we’ve got to offer, from Quad Day to Unofficial. Being far away from home is difficult, but the traditions here make Illinois feel like home.

One of the first major events of the year is Quad Day, which is Aug. 27 this year. The Sunday before classes begin, the Main Quad is possibly the busiest it is all year. Over 600 registered student organizations, or RSOs, are present.

Quad Day is a great day to find your niche at the University. With so many different organizations present, you are bound to find a group that shares your interests.

Being in the midst of hundreds of booths can be overwhelming, but Quad Day is a day to put yourself out there and sign up for clubs that spark your interests. And if you’re in the mood for some free T-shirts, pens and more, Quad Day is the place for you.

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    Later in the fall, homecoming is a tradition that brings all Illini together. Homecoming is geared to bring alumni back to campus to relive and enjoy college friendships and memories.

    Homecoming Week, Oct. 22 through 28, is full of activities and events for everyone to enjoy. One of the main events of the week is the football game, which many students, alumni and fans attend. With the football season in full swing, fans come to cheer on the Illini.

    The Homecoming 5K kicks off the week on Oct. 22, and throughout the week there are several other events, including a comedy show, block party, pep rally and parade.

    Homecoming Week is a fun time to really embrace the school spirit, and after having a couple weeks of college under your belt, it’s a great time to kick back and enjoy all the excitement.

    Another tradition that you may have heard of is Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day. This is an event that brings people from across the country and other college campuses to join students in celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in early March, on a Friday one or two weeks before spring break.

    In 1995, St. Patrick’s Day fell over spring break when many students would be away from campus. Local businesses and bars then organized special promotions and deals, the “Shamrock Shagger,” on March 8, 1995 to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day before spring break.

    Since 1995, Unofficial has stuck to its roots of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, with party-goers wearing green outfits and consuming alcohol in often mass amounts starting early in the morning.

    It would be nearly impossible to cover each tradition the University has to offer, but learning and experiencing our traditions is what makes Illinois so special. I hope you create your own traditions here as well.

    Andrea is a junior in Media.
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