Students get chance to explore ARC during Campus Rec block party

As the countdown for the first day of classes quickly dwindles and the slow days of summer come to a halt, University of Illinois Campus Recreation will host a vacation-like getaway for students to prolong their summer break and start their fall semester off right.

On Saturday, the Activities and Recreation Center will open its doors to both new and returning students for an extravagant block party. The event will have wall-to-wall activities and amusements.

While most might associate the ARC with weightlifting, jogging and playing a game or two of basketball, the Campus Rec block party surpasses the capabilities of any average student recreation center.

“We are expecting it to be pretty packed. Last year we had around 6,000 students. This year our staff is predicting close to 7,000,” said Erik Riha, lead assistant director in marketing for student recreation.

According to Riha, the event is primarily geared toward freshman students. The block party is in the midst of Welcome Week and serves as an opening to the numerous programs available on campus.

“It’s a great opportunity for the new students to really experience the ARC as a smaller unit, rather than being overwhelmed by the huge population of students that we have at U of I,” said Riha.

Robyn Deterding, director of Campus Recreation, said that she really liked the timing of the block party. The block party takes place on the perfect week, because freshman are also experiencing other fun welcome week events, like sights and sounds and Quad Day, she said.

Although the event is mostly promoted in Welcome Week packets to freshman, it is open to everyone, Riha said.

Freshman students are informed about the event through Resident Assistants and bulletin boards. International students, transfer students and upperclassmen hear about the event primarily by word of mouth. The first 2,500 students who enter the event get a free t-shirt. The ARC provides free pizza while it lasts and the gym is set up with carnival games in the leadership center as well as free insomnia cookies.

Additionally, the event facilitates open karaoke in the auditorium and games of golf in gym four.

“I think it’s great that the University has opportunities like the block party so it not only allows me to get acquainted with the ARC itself, but also allow me to meet my future classmates,” said incoming freshman Hannah Wittman.

The coordinators of the event also plan to facilitate a “dive-in” movie. A big, movie theater replica screen will be set up next to the pool. Students can lounge in front of the pool and enjoy the film.

“If I had to choose a favorite part about the event it would really just be seeing the students, especially the first year freshman that come in, that are so excited about everything. They just seem to have this energy that you can feel all around you the moment you walk in,” Deterding said.