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March 4, 2023

It is the afternoon of March 4, a day known affectionately on campus as Unofficial St. Patrick’s day. Houses in Seniorland are beginning to liven as house music blares into the street, and empty cans fall from second-floor windows. 

University students host their friends from near and far, hoping to show them the energy and culture that make Champaign-Urbana unique. According to Clara Cupuro, senior in Business, her friends have guests from across the Big Ten Conference.

“Yeah, I guess we’re celebrating with all of our friends. We call it kind of like a last hurrah,” Cupuro said. “(Unofficial) is like the biggest Champaign event. We even have friends coming into town for this from Mizzou, Iowa — all of the Big Ten colleges.”

The yearly celebration is marked by notoriously wild parties and high attendance at campus bars. For many students, Unofficial is a hallmark experience each year on campus, and many associate the celebration with some of their craziest college memories.

“I did a backflip last year and fell on my back,” Tia O’Malley, senior in LAS said. “I believed in myself. That’s all that matters.”

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Students choose to observe the campus holiday in various ways, but Julianne McClatchy, senior in LAS, said she hadn’t planned her day of celebration.

“My plans are wherever the day takes me,” McClatchy said. “I’m just gonna go with the wind.”

Cupuro suggests starting with a big breakfast regardless of the approach to celebrating the campus holiday.

“If you know you’re going to (party) all day, you need to start with a good breakfast,” Cupuro said. “Traditional Irish food — eggs, potatoes, bacon and sausage.”


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