Centrally located among Chicago, Indianapolis, and St. Louis, the University of Illinois is a large, public research institution with 32,000+ undergraduate and 11,000+ graduate students. It's one of the most diverse public universities in the Big Ten, and in-state students comprise about 58% of the undergraduate student body.
At Illinois, you'll find a traditional college environment where a majority of students live on campus and life is centered around the Quad. Campustown offers a large assortment of restaurants, shops, cafes, and nightlife venues. The wide variety of cultural opportunities enhances campus life by providing an inclusive and educational atmosphere.
Because of the university's stature and size, you'll be able to attend so many diverse and exciting events: top performances by nationally touring bands for student-friendly prices at the State Farm Center and The Canopy Club, renowned theatre and dance shows at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, and hot-topic talks and lectures from award-winning speakers.
Campus Facilities & Equipment
You'll find everything from traditional campus classrooms to state-of-the-art research facilities at Illinois. Some of our highlights include:
Illini Union—As the central hub of campus, thousands of students pass through the Illini Union each day for its restaurants, shops, rec centers, lecture rooms, galleries, offices, and more. Year-round, you can study in its lounges, watch performances in the Courtyard Cafe, attend lectures from nationally touring speakers, or enjoy the Friday Illinites.
Student Dining and Residential Programs (SDRP)—Opened in 2010, SDRP is a dining facility and common area for students to learn and gather. It's been recognized with silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. The main hall seats over 1,200 students and offers delicious and diverse options for each meal, including vegetarian, vegan, and dietary-specific menus. You'll also find a residential library, study rooms, a fitness area, and a new state-of-the-art residence hall for students with physical disabilities.
Cultural Centers and Houses—From La Casa Cultural Latina to the Japan House, Illinois cultural centers and houses help to host and encourage an inclusive, educational atmosphere on campus through celebrations of art, history, discourse, and community.
Krannert Center for the Performing Arts—At this world-renowned center, students and professionals showcase their talents in music, theatre, and dance. In fact, Krannert hosts 4,000 audience members on any given night and 300+ performances each year.
Libraries—Illinois is proud to have the 2nd-largest university library in the U.S. with 13,158,748 volumes. The Undergraduate and Main libraries, the foundation of 25+ departmental libraries and special collections, are even connected underground by a tunnel!
Business Instructional Facility (BIF)—Opened in 2009, BIF has earned the world's highest honor for sustainable, environmentally friendly construction and design with platinum Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. It's the first such building at any public university business school in the world and boasts state-of-the-art classrooms, a trading floor, career development and academic counseling centers, student program offices, a recruitment suite, and a 300-seat auditorium.
Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Building—Opened in 2014, the new ECE Building is groundbreaking in both its design and use. The facility is striving to be net-zero energy capable and boasts 230,000 square feet of classrooms, labs, and offices, all platinum Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified.
Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology-This interdisciplinary institute is devoted to cutting-edge research in the physical sciences, computation, engineering, biology, behavior, cognition, and neuroscience. More than 600 researchers from 40 departments work in Beckman.
Rec Centers—Campus Rec boasts two main centers, the Activities and Recreation Center (ARC) and Campus Recreation Center East (CRCE), which offer abundant options for staying physically active. In fact, at 340,000 square feet, the ARC is one of the largest on-campus recreation centers in the country. You'll have access to a climbing wall, saunas, swimming pools, running tracks, courts, an instructional kitchen, fitness classes, a wellness center, and so much more. Campus Rec also provides an ice arena, many additional gyms and pools, and outdoor recreational spaces.
Sports Facilities—Illinois has a booming Big Ten spirit, and our major sports facilities are physical testaments to this. Both the State Farm Center and Memorial Stadium, home to our basketball and football teams, have undergone renovations as part of the ongoing Illinois Renaissance project to create a state-of-the-art Illini home advantage.
Champaign-Urbana is the ideal setting for your college education. As an active micro-urban community, C-U maintains an intimate small-town feel while offering big-city advantages. This means that you get a wide variety of delicious culinary options, a diverse live music scene that continually brings in national and independent acts, and an active visual and performing arts community. Exciting C-U events include:
Ebertfest—An annual weekend-long festival of movie screenings, actor visits, and panel discussions, established by Roger Ebert (American film critic, screenwriter, and Illinois alumnus).
Illinois Marathon—Ending on the 50-yard line of the university'sown Memorial Stadium, one of the best new marathons around.
Pygmalion Music Festival-An annual showcase of live music held in multiple locations throughout the downtowns of Champaign, Urbana, and campustown.
Market at the Square-Located in downtown Urbana, one of the largest and most diverse farmers' markets in Illinois.
Boneyard Arts Festival—A community-wide festival featuring over 100 different venues and offering an incredibly diverse range of spoken, performing, and visual art.
For more info about C-U, check out www.visitchampaigncounty.org, www.40north.org, and www.smilepolitely.com.
Student Organizations & Activities
A great advantage of going to Illinois is that you can pick and choose how you'd like to get involved. You can continue to stay involved in something important to you, or you can try something new.
Illinois has 1,000+ student clubs to choose from, running the gamut from academic to philanthropic to athletic to just for fun! Even if you can’t find one that fits your interests, you can easily create your own.
As a Big Ten university, Illinois also has 21 Division I sports teams. Cheer with other fans as a member of the student cheering group, Illini Pride, at the historic Memorial Stadium or State Farm Center. Or join a team yourself-there are 43 traveling club sports teams, and Campus Recreation organizes 10 to 15 intramural sports for students each semester.
Finally, Illinois offers one of the largest Greek communities in the nation. About 23% of undergraduates participate through 97 fraternities and sororities, of which over 30% are culturally based.
In terms of location, “campus is located perfectly between Chicago, Indianapolis, and St. Louis, providing a unique atmosphere in town but close access to other urban areas for a change of pace.” Students call social life “very exciting,” and say, “The bars in downtown Champaign are great and super relaxed, plus there is an awesome music scene that most people don’t expect from a college town.” “People here like to party, but there are a lot of other fun things to do,” whether it’s “going to the Krannert Center to see plays or concerts” or the “movie theater and mall…on Saturday afternoons. Champaign-Urbana seems small to city kids, but to me it’s the land of opportunity.” Students relish the “nineteen-year-old bar age,” and U of I also has “one of the largest Greek communities in the country.” The combination of these facts does mean that “drinking culture is huge here” but “there’s also tons to do beyond the bars.” The range of social opportunities is nearly limitless: “There are 40,000 students, thousands of clubs, two gyms and several sport facilities, and array of establishments to explore on Green Street.” As a whole, students report happily that “life is busy, but rewarding.”