29 Reasons Why Illinois Is The Best School In The Big Ten

1) WE’RE #1…LITERALLY

Princeton Review gave UIUC the honor of topping the list of party schools in the country this year. But Illinois students didn’t need to be told that, they self-proclaimed that spot years ago.

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2) WE’RE ALSO SMART

It’s pretty cool to be #1 at partying…especially when you can do it all while balancing rigorous coursework at a nationally ranked university. What good is intelligence without social skills anyway? Overall, Illinois is ranked as the #11 public university and #42 national university. We rank #1 for our undergraduate civil engineering, undergraduate engineering science and engineering physics, and undergraduate biological/agricultural engineering programs. We also rank #2 in our mechanical engineering program as well as for our undergraduate accountancy program. Our College of Engineering is ranked 6th in both graduate and undergraduate programs nationally—surpassing several Big Ten and Ivy League institutions.

3) ILLINI ALUMNI BASICALLY CREATED THE 21ST CENTURY AS WE KNOW IT

Illinois alumni are the creators of several modern day marvels. To name just a few–YouTube, JavaScript, Tesla Motors, Oracle, Playboy (yes, I do mean Hugh Hefner), PayPal, the “Willis” (Sears) Tower, BET, the Burj Khalifa, Yelp!, Lotus Notes, Deadspin, Mortal Kombat, the infomercial, Delta Airlines, even the soap opera…and I’m not kidding when I say that this impressive list goes on.

4) AND WHATEVER THEY DIDN’T INVENT THEMSELVES, THEY NOW OVERSEE.

Ever heard of Microsoft, Ticketmaster, McDonald’s, Shell Oil, General Motors, Oberweis Dairy, Crate & Barrel, General Electric, Goldman Sachs, AT&T Wireless, Kodak, or BP? Yeah, this list is just as extensive and doesn’t end here either.

5) RON SWANSON

The man, the myth, the legend, Nick Offerman, actor and comedian best known for his role as Ron Swanson from Parks & Recreation, is an alumni of this fine institution indeed. Swanson’s character was tailored specifically to match Offerman’s unique personality (and give his character the Illini edge, obviously).

6) OUR DIAGONAL CROSSWALKS

Being a pedestrian on campus isn’t rough when you get your own 30-second light where you can casually (and legally) stride diagonally across busy campus intersections.

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7) WE’RE DIVERSE, INCLUSIVE AND RESPECTFUL OF OUR PLANET

In fact, 1 in every 10 Illinois students is an international student, opening our horizons up to a worldwide network of alumni connections. We also rank high for being one of the most handicap accessible college campuses. #InclusiveIllinois #Can’tStopWon’tStop

8) WE ALSO VALUE OUR PLANET

So by now you get the trend, we rank high in everything (cuz we are actually the best). This includes being ranked in the top 50 green colleges by the Princeton Review. Environmental sustainability is a center of pride for our school as well. We’re well rounded just like our planet Earth we admire so deeply.

9) CANDY CAB

Candace has taken campus town by storm in her decked-out, pink van that students can hit up whenever we need a cheap and fun ride from the pits of seniorland in the dead of winter…and wherever and whenever else too. Her price? Just $2 a person. She even thanked her loyal fans by hosting a customer appreciation party at KAM’S last spring.

10) WE BRING IN THE LATEST AND GREATEST MUSICIANS TO CENTRAL ILLINOIS

Just because we’re surrounded by nothing but cornfields, doesn’t mean we’re about to get shafted for concerts. Big name artists make multiple stops through Canopy Club, State Farm Center and Memorial Stadium. Past performers include the likes of Smashing Pumpkins, STS9, Snoop Dogg, Umphrey’s McGee, Odesza, Kid Cudi and Florida Georgia Line.

11) WE MIGHT SPEND A LOT TO GO HERE…BUT WE ALSO MAKE A LOT ONCE WE’RE OUT

Among our numerous high rankings, we also rank highly in best return on investment. Bloomberg Business reported Illinois at #1 (what else is new?) best return on investment within the state, passing elite Illinois institutions such as Northwestern and University of Chicago.

12) WE DONT NEED A MASCOT TO HAVE SCHOOL SPIRIT (OR A GOOD FOOTBALL TEAM, OK?)

As Illini, our rich history and beautiful campus are enough to fill our hearts with pride and have our veins pumping with team spirit. When someone yells I-L-L, you’ll always hear back an I-N-I. Plus, you can spot Illini gear being sported in any 5-foot-radius of campus.

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13) WE HAVE THE LARGEST GREEK SYSTEM IN THE COUNTRY

Just because we’re located in the Midwest doesn’t mean we can’t pull a TFM every once in a while—or everyday. With 97 Greek Letter organizations on campus, we proudly boast another #1 ranking.

14) RED HOT PRODUCTIONS BY ROD SICKLER IS BASED IN CHAMPAIGN

It’s not just alumni that are proud Illini fans, we have an abundance of team spirit from all over the Champaign-Urbana area. One of the most famous and talented of Champaign residents is Rod Sickler, hair stylist/specialist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. Sickler gives back to his community by hosting blowout events throughout the year such as Red Hot Winter, Red Hot Summerfest and Red Hot City Center. This year, Sickler is also hosting the football tailgates, bringing in talents for each game such as Pet Roxx and Mike Bray from the Kyle Gass Band. All the events are brought to campus by Rod Sickler and will be free to attend for Illini fans.

*This year’s homecoming tailgate has a special celebrity country artist performing, to be announced on the website in the days leading up to homecoming. Stay updated: https://www.facebook.com/rodsicklersalon?fref=ts

15) THE ARC

There is a 100% chance that our rec center will be crowded not only because of the state-of-the-art facility itself, but also because Illini take their fitness very seriously. The 340,000 square-foot gym includes indoor and outdoor pools, a rock-climbing wall, sauna, café, movie theatre, multi-purpose rooms and of course, a weightlifting room often referred to as “The Dungeon” due to its daily flood of heavy-lifting company. We also have a separate recreational facility known as CRCE, as well as an Ice Arena and different playing fields all run by the Campus Recreation department.

16) EXCHANGES

Often associated with Greek life, exchanges are events usually held on Tuesday and Thursday nights where different fraternities and sororities rent out bar space to host themed events together where they hang out and rage. What other time or place in an individual’s life can they confidently strut around a public bar wearing a trash bag or dressed up as Justin Bieber?

17) CUMTD

A car on campus might seem like a necessity, but here in the ‘Paign, we got it real good thanks to the tremendous bus system that makes rounds consistently until the wee hours of the morning. Even after hours, MTD provides an additional resource called Safe Rides, for Illinois students to utilize in case they are up late studying or just need to get home for *whatever* other reason.

18) YOU COULD RUN INTO A CELEBRITY ON ANY GIVEN DAY

Whether Joe Biden is here supporting the It’s On Us campaign, or Jason Segal is here attending Ebertfest, campus never gets boring due to the ever possible chance of running into a celebrity on campus.

19) WE DON’T JUST TAILGATE, WE BLOCK…ALL YEAR LONG

We Illini know how to make the best out of any situation. Going to games can sometimes get a little disheartening, but it’s okay because we’ll just spend them staking out at the bars as early as 6, 7 or 8 in the morning. Although block starts in the fall with football season, it spreads out throughout the year, marking Saturdays as a day for dartying with “mock block” to follow suit in the spring.

20) WE STUDY ON THE WEEKENDS AND SOCIALIZE DURING THE WEEKDAY

With different theme nights at each of the bars throughout the week like Monday Night Joe’s, Tuesday Wine Night at Cly’s, White Ho Wednesdays and various senior nights, it often leaves Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights as rest days where production levels are at an all time high and the Undergraduate Library is as crowded as a jar of sardines.

21) WE ALSO KNOW WHEN TO STAY IN AND GET WORK DONE

When the going gets tough and dreaded midterms and finals time hits around, it doesn’t matter what night it is because the show must go on and we realize the value of our education. The best part is that there is no one judging you for being a nerd—empathy is exchanged, FOMO rages inside at full blast, but ultimately, the good grades are earned fair and square. There is nothing more admirable to an Illini than a bright future ahead and good memories to reminisce on in hindsight.

22) WE LOOKIN’ REAL GOOD

I mean c’mon, the looks don’t end here. You can find beautiful people inside and out, throughout campus town. The best part is that they all come with a friendly smile and helping hand when you need it most.

23) WE INVENTED UNOFFICIAL

It all started in good ol’ Champaign after legendary bar owner Scott Cochrane decided to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day early in order to make up for the holiday falling during the school’s scheduled Spring Break. This manifested itself into a famous drinking holiday now flooded with out-of-state students taking over the streets of Champaign, leaving Illinois students, decked in green, unimpressed as they watch these unseasoned newbies unable to keep up with what is casually done here on any long day of block.

24) YOU ONLY NEED TO BE 19 TO ENTER A BAR

Maybe the reason for our casual outlook on drinking is due to the bar entry age being set at 19+. Whatever the reason may be, Illinois students get the perk of enjoying the bar scene as early as their first year on campus. Although the drinking age is still 21+ like the rest of the nation, the benefits that come with this privilege are unseen on any other Big Ten campus.

25) THE FOOD OPTIONS ARE ENDLESS

Maize, Second Story, KoFusion, Cracked, Fat Sandwich, Mia Za’s, Wingin Out, Burrito King, of course Chipotle, and endless others, we have food to meet your every craving ~fah dayz~ many even deliver late into the night so you don’t have to venture out if you don’t want to.

26) 25 CENT DRINKS AT C-STREET

We have it cheap here as it is in the drinks department, but exchanges at Chester Street Bar take it a step further with their 25 cent drink special. Exchanges at C-Street are made even more memorable due to the large stage at the venue, as well as its ability to host multiple sorority and fraternity exchanges, allowing run-ins with good friends from other chapters.

27) JOE’S BURGERS AND FRIES…ESPECIALLY ON TUESDAYS, THURSDAYS AND SATURDAYS

Their burgers are unlike anything you have had sink into your taste buds ever before and so are the deals on half price Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

28) SENIOR NIGHTS

Just because we have the luxury of entering the bars at the ripe age of 19 here in Champs, doesn’t make 21 lose any of its glory. At 21, you have the added privilege of skipping cover on senior nights, hosted on different nights of the week at different Cochrane bars. Seniors use these nights to force themselves out and mark just a few more memories into their collegiate career before heading out of the ‘Paign for good at the end of that fateful Spring semester.

29) BARNDANCE

They may hold barndances at other schools, but no one can replicate Loretta with her big basket full of Chex Mix, the late night hay rides with your best friends, or the feeling of running around in the hay at Farm Lake like you’ve got the rest of your life to stay young.

Illinois has everything you could imagine in a fulfilled and worthwhile collegiate experience. The campus is beautiful on its own, but brought out even more through its lively students, proud alumni, limitless opportunities, supportive community and a spirit that bonds it altogether as the best in the Big Ten, if not the world.

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