Long-term planning goes unnoticed

By Amanda Graf

By sundown it will be nearly impossible to tell what happened on the Quad today.

Shortly after 3 p.m. the University grounds crew will descend on the long stretch of lawn to remove any trace of discarded fliers or leftover freebies that might hint at the day’s frenzied events. And just like that, Quad Day, an annual event that takes months of planning, will be over.

But Natalie Davis, interim director of Registered Student Organizations, hopes the end of Quad Day will be the start of something greater for each of the 10,000 students expected to check out all of the different organizations the University has to offer.

“I hope they can connect with an organization they can really get involved with during their time at college, that will impact their experience here,” Davis said.

Quad Day only lasts five hours, but planning for the event began last spring, before today’s freshmen had even set foot on campus. In April the Illini Union and Student Activities Department began accepting organizations’ applications to secure a space on the Quad.

Mapping out the grid of tables and booths and contacting the groups soon followed, as well as coordinating the event with Facility Services and the Illini Union.

Locations for organizations are decided by when a group’s application was turned in to Student Affairs. Davis said there is some strategy to arranging the more than 614 tables sharing the Quad today.

“We try to spread them out so people can see the diversity of the groups we have,” Davis said. “Some (adjacent) groups might not agree politically, but we need to show that we can come together as a University.”

Davis said the main complaint from groups is that other organizations are not staying in their assigned 8 x 8 foot grid.

Groups can request performance time in front of the Illini Union if they feel a demonstration will attract more students.

The RSOs do plenty of planning as well. Abigail Fleming, senior in LAS and president of the Illini Union Board, said the board has more than 30 committees in which students can be involved.

Committee chairs and volunteers staff the different booths to hand out the info packets, fliers and free giveaways in the hopes that students will choose to get involved.

“Hopefully with areas from musicals, cultural programs, concerts, films, lectures, Illinites and marketing students will find something that they like,” Fleming said.

Jon Doyle, senior in LAS and president of the Irish Illini, said Quad Day was a chance to let students know about the group’s upcoming socials, meetings and philanthropy.

Doyle said some new students might know about some events the Irish Illini are associated with like bar scrambles or Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day, but Quad Day is a chance to get their contact information and inform them about other facets of the group like philanthropy.

Doyle said that though the Irish Illini missed the deadline to reserve a location at Quad Day, they plan to arrive early and try to get a spot.