Finding a home in all the campus community offers


Darrell Hoemann

The fairies gather to sleep with the couples near the end of Act 1 during a rehearsal of “A Midsummer’s Nights Dream” in the Tryon Festival Theatre at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts in Urbana on Tuesday, February 16, 2016.

By Joseph Longo, Assistant news editor

As a dual-city University with nearly 50,000 students, finding the right community is essential to on-campus success. However, this natural coming together of various social groups leads to a cross-town rivalry of sorts. The University of Champaign vs. The University of Urbana.

With the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Allen Hall, and the Canopy Club, Urbana harbors the artistic community on campus. Conversely, Champaign exudes a distinctly athletic environment housing the Activities and Recreation Center, the State Farm Center and Frat Park.

Sounds great; everyone gets their own space. Yet, these simplistic generalizations disservice members of each community and divides the entire campus.

Such are the restrictive social constructs that students adhere to boundaries even when physically living in opposite areas. As risings sophomore sorority girls prepare to live on Lincoln Avenue, they call upon various Champaign friends for potential couch-crashing in their near future.

Claiming stake in specific areas downsizes an overwhelmingly large university. However, it too limits the scope of new experiences — a cornerstone of college. You won’t find many people going to The Red Herring. However, the Urbana vegetarian restaurants boasts some of the best health-conscious, appetizing dishes in the area.

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    The same mentality extends to off-campus excursions. Downtown Champaign is highly touted by students overlooking Urbana’s offerings. Champaign’s spacious Black Dog Smoke & Ale House overshadows the original, intimate Urbana location. Ultimately, that’s the metaphorical difference. Urbana’s simplicity quivering against Champaign’s exuberance.

    Yes, part of this results from opportunity. Freshman students cannot as easily travel off-campus or frequent nightlife establishments beyond Champaign’s Campustown. Likewise, upperclassman tire of these same over-populated, underclassman locales. Yet this hasn’t stopped students from venturing out.

    Ultimately, it comes down to embracing differing perspectives. Colleges foster forward-thinking, progressive thinkers. Yet, the current campus climate does the opposite.

    To fully embrace inclusiveness mandates extending beyond just socialized boundaries. To do so requires a conscious interaction of all students outside of the classroom. As new faces on campus, certainly get involved, but do so in a variety of areas. And once finding your group, don’t settle. Actively interact and approach all groups. By doing so, not only will you gain greater understanding, but also you’ll find a home at the University of Illinois at Urbana (and) Champaign.

    Joe is a sophomore in Media.
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