Six hotspots on campus to make new friends and have a good time


Students sit, bike and play games, filling the Quad on a warm afternoon on April 30.

Campus life can seem overwhelming when coming to the University as an incoming freshman, and making close friendships like those you once had in high school may feel impossible with so many strangers passing you on a daily basis.

Thankfully, the University offers a variety of places on campus for new students to hang out and meet new people. Here are a few freshman hotspots on campus that will help make this campus feel like a home in no time.

Main Quad

As described on the University’s website, the Quad is an open grassy area that is the heart of campus. On nice fall and spring days, you can always find students hanging out and relaxing on the Quad. It is the perfect spot for new friends to play frisbee, have a picnic, nap and meet other groups of people.

Illini Union

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The Illini Union is a great place for freshmen to go with a roommate, dorm floor friends or even alone to meet new people. The Union offers a food court featuring restaurants such as Einstein Bros Bagels, Sbarro, Wendy’s and more, where you can sit and chat with new acquaintances. The Union also gives students a place to hang out and have fun creating new memories in the Rec Room, which has billiards, a bowling alley and arcade games.

Green Street

As a first semester freshman, it may seem intimidating to venture all the way towards Green Street. But it is so worth it! Grab your friends and head to one of the many restaurants Green Street has to offer, such as Panera Bread, Mia Za’s, Noodles & Company, Jimmy John’s and more. You will also find students shopping at Urban Outfitters, Apricot Lane and Ragstock on Green Street as well.

Residence Hall Floors/Lounges

Hear me out on this one. You’re stuck in a building with the same people for the entire school year, so you might as well get to know your floor mates. The majority of you will be freshmen, and most will feel too shy to go around door to door on your floor introducing yourselves. Order some cookies from Insomnia Cookies, pick a funny movie and have a movie night in your room or dorm floor lounge. This is a great place for freshmen to make friends in the comfort of their own home.

The Canopy Club

A great spot for freshmen to hang out and get some night life action at the University is The Canopy Club. According to The Canopy Club website, the club is Illinois’ “home for live music, entertainment and night life.” The Canopy Club has an event to offer to students 18-years and older almost every night of the school year. Whether you’re into rock, hip hop, jazz, EDM, country, or any other genre of music, freshmen will be able to have a good time attending music concerts and festivals. As their website states, “If you’re a fan of live music and entertainment, the Canopy Club is your home in central Illinois.”

Your fraternity/sorority house

Having one of the largest Greek communities according to the Illinois Panhellenic Council website, joining a sorority or a fraternity is a great way to make lifelong friends. If you do decide to go Greek, spending time at your sorority/fraternity house can really make the campus feel smaller by giving you a place to call home. With other freshmen joining your chapter and being initiated into your pledge class, you can all hang out at your chapter house and create instant connections with others that you will soon call your brothers or sisters.

Christine is a junior in Media. She can be reached at caolivo2