Daniel Marks, president of the Altgeld Ringers, a group traditionally allowed to play the Altgeld chimes

The Best UIUC RSOs You’ve Never Heard Of

You expect intramural sports and study groups when you go to college; that’s your standard college extracurricular experience. But what about robot fights? Opportunities to go rollerblading past midnight? Quidditch practice? With over 800 registered student organizations (RSOs), there’s bound to be a UIUC RSO that’s right for you. Listed below are 13 clubs you’ve never heard of (but we bet you won’t be able to resist joining now that you have).


8 to Create

Who they are: “8 to Create is a nonprofit organization that hosts interactive art events that bridge the gap between audience members and artists.”

What they do: This RSO selects 8 artists who create 8 pieces of art in 8 hours at the 8 to Create live show (is that the most 8s you’ve ever read in a sentence?). Audience members can watch the artists work and interact with them as they go. 

Who can join: Anyone with a penchant for art is welcome to apply to participate in 8 to Create’s events.


American Sign Language & Deaf Culture Club

Who they are: “The purpose of American Sign Language & Deaf Culture Club is to expose students of the UIUC community to the language and cultural norms of Deaf Americans.”  

What they do: The American Sign Language & Deaf Culture Club holds all kinds of events, from game nights to movie premieres and hosting ASL storytellers. Thanks to this club, you can learn more about ASL while potentially eating pizza or enjoying a trivia night.  

Who can join: Anyone interested in learning more about Deaf American culture or ASL can check the group’s ASL Club’s Facebook for meeting times and contact information.


Best Buddies International

Who they are: Best Buddies International is a volunteer organization that promotes “friendships, integrated employment, and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.” 

What they do: The UIUC chapter of Best Buddies International pairs UIUC students with members of the CU community who have intellectual or developmental disabilities. Buddy pairs hang out twice a month and talk on the phone once a week, while also participating in Best Buddies activities and events.

Who can join: Any UIUC student is encouraged to join Best Buddies and become part of a movement that has positively impacted nearly 700,000 individuals worldwide. Follow Best Buddies UIUC on Facebook for more information!


students practice sparring on the Quad during Quad Day as interested students look on

Illini Boxing

Who they are: You guessed it: Illini Boxing is UIUC’s largest boxing club.  

What they do: Illini boxers train, spar, and compete in tournaments, including the USIBA Nationals. In 2018, Illini Boxing members took home 15 championship belts and the first place title for the men’s team. 

Who can join: All UIUC students regardless of gender or boxing experience are invited to join Illini Boxing. However, new members are only able to join at certain times of the year. To learn more, check out the Illini Boxing website or join the Illini Boxing Facebook group


Chicago Area Peace Action UIUC

Who they are: “CAPA UIUC is a diverse, nonpartisan coalition of students and citizens who share a commitment to peace through justice.”

What they do: A self-described peacebuilding and activist organization, CAPA UIUC is currently involved in multiple campaigns, including supporting the Justice for Black Farmers Act and working to bring a Department of Peacebuilding to Chicago. Beyond that, they also host social events, movie nights, forums, and more. 

Who can join: CAPA UIUC welcomes students of all ages, ethnicities, backgrounds, and politics to join their group. Email CAPA UIUC or check CAPA UIUC’s Facebook page for more information.


Illini Classics Club

Who they are: This club is dedicated to exploring “a diverse selection of interests related to the ancient world, including everything from the study of the Greek and Latin languages to the appreciation of mythology, culture, history, and philosophy.”

What they do: The Illini Classics club does more than just read. At their weekly meetings, you can expect to visit museums, recreate ancient recipes, participate in trivia games, watch movies, listen to faculty presentations, and more.

Who can join: Students from any major with a passion for the classics (or just ancient cultures) can email Illini Classics Club.


Combat Robotics (Combotics) putting on an exhibition during the Engineering Open House on campus

Combat Robotics (Combotics) 

Who they are: Combotics teams “design, build, and fight their battling robots, which compete in various weight classes ranging from 1 lb up to 120 lbs.”

What they do: Combotics participants build robots with rotating blades, blasts of high-pressure air, flippers, and more to knock out the competition. 

Who can join: Anyone with a passion for robotics and a desire to wreak a little robotic havoc. If you’re interested, send an email to Combat Robotics or consider registering for the next Robobrawl


Illinois Consulting Group

Who they are: If you’re interested in “a student-run management consulting organization that provides University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign students the opportunity to solve real-world business problems for clients,” Illinois Consulting Group is for you!

What they do: This RSO offers practical, real-world experience in business and management consulting. A semester with the Illinois Consulting Group includes a two-week training, company information and networking nights, and a 12-week client engagement session to give students a truly comprehensive experience.

Who can join: Illinois Consulting Group is open to all students, although an application is required to join. Follow Illinois Consulting Group on Facebook to learn more about them, their deadlines, and more!


Diverse Curlz

Who they are: Diverse Curlz works “to uplift, educate, and advocate for natural hair women and men of all textures.” 

What they do: Members of Diverse Curlz highlight natural hair and celebrate a wide range of different hair styles and styling methods for people of color, with an emphasis on engaging and supporting adolescents and teenagers in the CU area. 

Who can join: If you’ve been looking for some variety in your hair care or are interested in getting more involved in the CU community, email Diverse Curlz for more information.


Engineers Without Borders, UIUC Chapter

Who they are: This international organization “promotes community-driven engineering projects fostered by local partners for a sustainable global future.”

What they do: On a broad scale, EWB works toward a sustainable global future through the power of engineering and community development. Day to day, you can expect to learn how to construct water filters from reusable materials, participate in Bingo fundraisers, attend virtual runs, and more. 

Who can join: All students are welcome to join. Engineering experience is not required! Follow EWB on Facebook for events and check their website for more information about EWB at UIUC.


From the Ground Up

Who they are: From the Ground Up is centered on “promoting sustainability and a greener lifestyle with a restoration focus within the Champaign Urbana community through hands-on projects, interactions with nature, education, and engagement with students and the C-U community.”

What they do: Garden, identify native plants and animals, kick back with documentary viewing parties, organize nature-centered lectures, and enjoy plenty of social activities. From the Ground Up is also partnered with UIUC Bee Campus, so you might have the opportunity to learn a little more about bees and beekeeping at the same time.

Who can join: Students with an interest in sustainability or nature should check out From the Ground Up’s Facebook page to get involved.


closeup of a person's inline skates

Inline Insomniacs

Who they are: This group can sum themselves up in a phrase: “Sleep later, come skate!”

What they do: Like their name suggests, the inline insomniacs prefer skating to sleeping. Roller bladers (as well as roller skaters, skateboarders, and bikers) of all skill levels are encouraged to meet up at midnight to take advantage of the empty streets and get some quality skating in. 

Who can join: Anyone who has an urge to rollerblade the streets of CU rather than sleep can check out Inline Insomniacs’ Instagram page or email an Inline Insomniacs organizer to get involved.


K-Project

Who they are: “Through the use of K-pop dance, K-Project aims to uphold Asian pop culture, making it more accessible for any and everyone.”

What they do: K-Project celebrates Asian pop culture through music, events, social activities, and especially through dance! Whether you’re primarily interested in K-pop, Asian culture, or the exercise aspect of dance, check this group out. 

Who can join: If you’ve got a love of K-pop and the urge to dance, check out K-Project’s Instagram, where they post their events as well as upcoming auditions and practices. 


Life Drawing Club

Who they are: This club uses art and community to better “learn and understand the human figure.” 

What they do: The Life Drawing Club believes that model drawing practice shouldn’t be limited to art majors! Once a week, this RSO gets together to improve their artistry by drawing a live model and enjoying the company of other on-campus artists, regardless of skill level.

Who can join: Whether you’re already a pro or have never sketched a live model before, consider joining the Life Drawing Club. Email Life Drawing Club to learn about group membership as well as meeting times, dates, and locations.


Penny Dreadful Players rehearsing

Penny Dreadful Players

Who they are: This RSO is committed to offering “quality theatre to the campus and community at large and providing an outlet for original works by student playwrights.”

What they do: The Penny Dreadful Players, UIUC’s oldest student-run theatre troupe, gets together to practice performances and adapt original student works to the stage. 

Who can join: If you’re interested in acting, screenplays, or any part of theater production, email the Penny Dreadful Players or visit the Penny Dreadful Players’ Facebook page.


Illini Ridgebacks Quidditch

Who they are: “We want to share our love for the sport while also competing competitively against teams around the nation.”

What they do: Quidditch isn’t just for Hogwarts students anymore. The Illini Ridgebacks meet Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays to practice their quidditch skills in between quidditch cups. Quidditch is a full-contact, gender-inclusive, year-round club sport.

Who can join: Whether you’re interested in playing or participating, check the Ridgebacks’ Facebook page for their current schedule or email the Ridgebacks for more information.


With so many clubs to choose from, it’s impossible to list them all here. But there’s something for everyone at UIUC, and you don’t have to take our word for it! Check out our Student Engagement site and prepare to be amazed by the UIUC RSOs available to you. Whether you’re looking for a cultural club, an academic or professional RSO, a chance to hone your artistic or athletic skills, or just an opportunity to hang out and meet new people, there’s an RSO for you. 

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