Even though Coronavirus has drastically changed most of the things we do, it still is possible to have fun on campus. There are many things that you can do for fun that still involve being safe and responsible during the pandemic. Many activities now require being outside or socially-distant, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself at school!
There are plenty of things to do on-campus, off-campus, and sponsored by the school during these times. Even with things getting colder, there are many ways you can have fun by yourself or with your friends and still enjoy your time on campus during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The University of Illinois has stepped up to the plate when it comes to providing things for students to do during this time. There have been a multitude of different events happening at Memorial Stadium over the past couple of weeks. One example has been Movie Nights the past few Fridays and Saturdays, where movies like Black Panther and 21 Bridges have been playing on the jumbotron. These events also featured live music from bands and DJs as well as free food and drink for students.
There have also been many other events at the stadium throughout the semester, such as multiple concert nights, a workout class, and even a watch party for the Illinois v Wisconsin game on Friday night. Outside of the stadium, there are even more events happening around campus.
But because it is getting colder, a few of these events are moving inside. Illinois Student Affairs is hosting trivia nights on Tuesdays in the Union, and you can find bowling in the basement. All of these events, both inside and outside, are socially-distant and require the Safer Illinois app, which helps you know that you are still being safe while having fun.
There are plenty of things to do on-campus that you can do by yourself or with a roommate without checking out any of the University’s events. Whether it be checking out one of the fantastic restaurants on Green Street or hanging out at the Union, you can easily still support your school and community during the pandemic.
If going outside is more your speed, there are plenty of other cool places to check out on campus. One of my favorite places to go is by the Japan House in Urbana. There is a massive nature walk and plenty of fantastic trees and foliage to see, and the trail is a great and decently long walk. If that’s a little far, I also really enjoy walking around Boneyard Creek and Scott Park.
If Online works better for you or you are off-campus, there is still plenty for you to do to interact with the school and the local community. Many Registered Student Organizations are still participating in activities over Zoom and also still recruiting members. It’s nice to feel like a part of the community even when you might be so far away. On the website attached to this sentence, you can look up various student organizations and events that may be happening.
Doing things off-campus is normally an underrated thing about going to the University of Illinois, mostly because staying on campus is so much fun. However, if you are willing to look outside the boundaries of the university, there are plenty of opportunities for you.
Just like on-campus, there are many fantastic dining options and plenty of local businesses that need support during this time. Many restaurants are open for take-out and offer outdoor dining, so you can enjoy the delicious food of Champaign-Urbana and stay safe doing so. Some of my personal local favorites are Papa Del’s, Jarlings Custard Cup, and Dos Reales.
If you’re a nature person, there is one place I can’t recommend enough if you venture off-campus. The Kickapoo State Recreation Area is 221 acres of nature with 22 ponds and a bunch of different activities you can do, such as biking, fishing, and hiking. It is roughly 30 minutes off-campus, so it may be difficult to get there, but if you can, it is a great experience with plenty to do.
Another place I have had fun at during the fall season is Curtis Orchard and Pumpkin Patch. Curtis is a small farm that has a bunch of fall activities for you and a couple friends to partake in. You can pick apples, buy pumpkins, feed goats, and purchase delicious apple donuts. There’s also a huge corn maze and a tractor tour as well. Curtis is a super fun spot and is following all of the COVID-19 guidelines set by the state, so you can stay safe while enjoying these fall activities.
I hope I showed you a bunch of ways that you can still enjoy yourself on campus during the pandemic. Illinois has shown and provided many ways to have fun while still staying safe. These events show how good of a job we have done in containing the spread of COVID-19 and can still have fun while doing it.