Positive Campus Resources to Benefit Your College Years

Given that I am currently in my final semester on campus, I took some time to reflect on what I wish I knew as an incoming freshman. Thankfully, with the start of a new semester comes an opportunity to highlight these positives and spare students in need from feeling lost and helpless. In my time at UIUC, I have discovered many of these amazing campus resources and hope to share as much as I can.

One of the most essential positive resources I have discovered since my freshman year has to do with the food insecurity many college students face. Places like the Native American House, LGBTQ+ Resource Center, and the Women’s Resource Center do their best to address the issue of food insecurity. Always stocked with snacks, coffee, tea and often ordering pizza or piling leftovers in the refrigerator, these resources are doing their best to help and welcome anyone in need with open arms.

If you are looking for a full meal, you’re still in luck. The Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations (OIIR) works alongside campus resource and cultural centers to host their “Lunch on Us” series. Ranging from three to five days a week, these events occur throughout the semester. Students can join for enlightening guest speakers, student panels and the like all while filling their bellies free of charge. Other campus resources that offer free meals to students include the Jubilee Cafe with dinner on Monday evenings, as well as the Etc. Coffeehouse which offers consistent food-related events as well as their International Coffeehouse.

Regarding mental health, the Counseling Center and McKinley Mental Health are available to students as needed. Using either of these resources can be extremely beneficial for students fo any age. For students who are living in residence halls, Resident Advisors and Multicultural Advocates are excellent resources as well.

If you are anything like me, spending money on going out weekend after weekend is simply not an option. Luckily, this doesn’t mean you need to trap yourself inside either! There are plenty of ways you can have fun on campus without breaking the bank. A few of my personal favorites are going to the free movies at the Illini Union, seeing discounted performances at Krannert Performing Arts Center, and having picnics at the Arboretum.

Sporting events are also generally discounted or free to students, as well as activities at Campus Recreation Centers like swimming, rock climbing and the like. Exploring the local area is also a great way to get out without breaking the bank. Visiting the Champaign Farmers Market is a must if you’re someone who cooks your own meals and wants fresh inexpensive produce, and the Champaign Public Library is another great location if you are looking to study outside of campus.

Photos: Bridgette Jasinski