DI voice | Main Quad is a stage for the campus community
When my family and I visited campus in the summer before first grade, I distinctly remember something the guide told us. She said, “You’ll quickly learn as you hang out in Illinois that everyone here is diverse. It’s almost like a giant claw machine grabbing people from all walks of life and dropping them right here on campus.
I couldn’t have said it better myself. There is no doubt that the college community is diverse, but there is one place where this multiplicity can be seen every day: the Main Quad.
The Main Quad is definitely my favorite place to people watch – or to make things less strange, to observe the world around me. As a writer and journalist, it’s a skill that I almost mastered thanks to the college community.
There is always something going on on the Main Quad. Whether students are setting up booths to promote their particular club or organization, whether Elder Jed is giving another of his “cool” talks, or another game of Spikeball is taking place, the Main Quad is alive. In many ways, it’s free entertainment.
Of course, I walk through the quad to various courses and other activities like the other students. But during the times when I’m hanging out in the soft grass alone or with friends, this is where the show begins.
I have seen students ride unicycles or skate the sidewalks of the quad on their blades. Students jump on rubber bands, juggle, play the saxophone, sleep in hammocks hanging from trees, dance as if no one is looking at them and much more. Everything you can imagine is happening on the Main Quad.
Some of my best moments on the quad include seeing Illini basketball players walking off the field, standing in the front row for Lil ‘Yachty, and taking a selfie with Chancellor Robert Jones. That’s a lot of what makes me who I am.
When I visited Central Park in New York a few years ago, I was mesmerized by all the people who filled the park. Everyone dressed how they wanted, stylish or not, and did whatever they wanted. For them, they were probably happy.
The Main Quad is the University’s own Central Park. Everyone is welcome, and anything is possible. This helps the University community to remain diverse in countless ways and allows each Illini to be themselves, as they wish.
In doing so, it helped me realize that everyone is their individual and that they should express themselves and live their lives as they see fit. I know it does, and the Main Quad is the perfect place to do it.
If I’m not throwing a Frisbee with friends, playing acoustic guitar, or reading a book at the foot of a tree, I’m watching people on the quad. I know it’s not the best activity to do, but if the hobby was an Olympic sport, I would more than likely come home with a gold medal every four years.
To all members of the University community around the world, keep doing whatever makes you happy; preserve the quad as your playground.
The University is everyone’s home and the Main Quad is our backyard located in the heart of campus. It’s our place to play, explore and live life the way we want.
Noah is a senior in the media.