Navigating social, academic aspects of Quad Day

By Sydney Wood, buzz Editor

It can be tough to navigate your first Quad Day, and it’s especially challenging at a university with about 1,000 registered student organizations. 

But if you do it right, Quad Day doesn’t have to be stressful. 

Coordinator of Student Engagement Nick Fink is part of the team that plans the event. He estimated there to be 620 RSOs at this year’s Quad Day, compared to last year’s number of about 575.

Fink said students can view the Quad Day map on the Illinois app to see the spread of RSOs. He encouraged students to browse the map ahead of time to see what clubs they’d be interested in learning more about. 

“We don’t exactly cluster organizations like we used to pre-COVID, but we do try to be mindful of orgs of similar types being somewhat close to each other,” he said. “So it’ll definitely be helpful for folks to know where they might want to start geographically on the (Main Quad).”

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The Student Engagement department will also have an information booth set up at the event to answer students’ questions. 

“People can come and talk to us and ask us, ‘Hey, I’m interested in XYZ,’” he said. “We’ll be able to look up a couple of clubs and kind of point you in the right direction.”

Fink advised new students to consider their academic workload before signing up for multiple RSOs to avoid overbooking themselves in their first semester. 

“We recognize that some student organizations have a larger time requirement than others,” he said. “Depending on what that looks like and how that might fit into your schedule and who you are as a person, one might be enough, but maybe you can fit in two or three.”

But if students find themselves stressed by the number of organizations they’re involved in, Fink said they may need to cut down. 

“(RSOs) are supposed to be fun,” he said. “It’s supposed to be your co-curricular involvement, it’s supposed to be light and fun. So, if you’re being stressed out by it, then you’ve probably got too much on your plate.”

He advised students to look, not only into RSOs that will provide social fulfillment, but ones that align with a student’s academic focus. 

For example, a student can become a member of the American Medical Women’s Association at the University to meet others with similar career interests and then join Illini Student Musicals to make friends with others who are interested in musical theater. 

“What’s awesome is we have just shy of 1,000 student organizations on this campus,” Fink said. “With that, we have (RSOs) that are tied to the academic focus, but then we also have interest-based ones.”

It can be stressful to take in all of these tips for navigating your first Quad Day, but Fink said there’s also a lot to look forward to. 

Multiple RSOs will be performing throughout the four-hour event, he explained, including the University’s Marching Illini. Seven food trucks are also confirmed to make an appearance, including Maize Mexican Grill and trucks serving Hawaiian shaved ice. 

Fink advised students to attend informational meetings for the RSOs that they’re interested in joining. 

“If I was going around Quad Day and talking with these groups and tables and stuff like that, I would kind of see, ‘Do they have a secondary information meeting where they’re going to be sharing more or have more of their members?’ and go to that,” he said.

He also said there aren’t consequences for students who choose to leave an RSO. 

“You can join a certain organization and be like, ‘Hey, I really want to be a part of this, I think this is such a cool thing,’ and then all of a sudden, you get busy, or maybe you’re like, ‘Actually, that was high school me, and I’m moving away from that,’” he said. “Also, totally fine.”

All in all, he said Quad Day is one avenue for students to join RSOs that will give them opportunities to explore new passions and meet new people who share those passions. 

“What (RSOs) can do is provide folks with the opportunity to make new friends and to find folks who do have those similar interests because college is a fantastic time to meet all kinds of folks,” he said. 


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