I-Pride starts activities

By Erik Hall

Illinois’ largest student organizations hope to grow after receiving considerable interest at Tuesday’s Quad Day.

“We had more people than usual show interest because we’re coming off such a great year for Illinois sports,” said Illini Pride executive board member Wade Shimer.

Illini Pride’s membership includes more than 1,800 students who support Illinois’ 18 varsity sports.

The year’s Illini Pride activities start tonight when the group hosts its annual kickoff meeting. The meeting takes place in Foellinger Auditorium starting at 7 p.m.

“We bring out all the coaches and the coaches get everybody fired up for the fall sports season,” Shimer said.

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Athletes from the football and men’s basketball teams are scheduled to attend tonight’s event.

Those interested in joining Illini Pride have their first opportunity at the meeting. Registration begins at 6:15 p.m.

General membership costs $25.

Students who bought Block-I football tickets paid $11 more for their tickets than non-Block-I student season seats. For that reason, students who bought Block-I tickets need only pay an additional $10 to obtain Illini Pride perks.

Illini Pride members get free admission to all regular season varsity sports except men’s basketball and football. They also enjoy discounts at various local stores.

Money from membership fees goes to events that include sponsoring trips to Illinois’ away games.

Last season’s trips took members to Illinois’ volleyball game at Northwestern and a men’s basketball game at Iowa.

“Every sport’s chairperson has a road trip they can use,” Shimer said. “They’re not planned until someone brings it up.”

Not everything Illini Pride does revolves around Illinois athletics. Illini Pride in the past has sponsored activities such as a barn dance in the late fall.

“It’s a big social organization,” Shimer said. “You’re going to meet all kinds of people and it is a nice alternative to a lot of things.”