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Getting to Know CU

There is so much to see and do on campus and in the Champaign-Urbana community. Below is a quick guide to local terms you might hear, events you can attend, and some ways to get to know campus better.

Local Lingo

Alma is the nickname for the Alma Mater statue, located at the corner of Green and Wright streets. Alma is a popular backdrop for student photos, especially at graduation. She even has her own set of graduation robes!

Champaign-Urbana, CU, and Chambana are just a few of the terms used to describe the community where the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is located. In the university name, Urbana comes first because the original campus was located in Urbana and Champaign was added in the early 20th century as the campus expanded. For the community name, Champaign comes first both alphabetically and as the larger of the two cities.

Illini, as in “Illini Union” and “Fighting Illini Athletics”, is pronounced “Ill-EYE-nye.”

Morrow Plots are the oldest continually used experimental agricultural fields in the United States and also the first soil experimental plots by a United States college. You can find the Morrow Plots near the Undergraduate Library, on Gregory Drive at Matthews Avenue.

The Quad is the central hub on campus that stretches from the Illini Union to Foellinger Auditorium. In addition to the Main Quad, there is also the Bardeen Quad (sometimes known as the Engineering Quad), which stretches from Engineering Hall to Grainger Engineering and the South Quad, which stretches from Gregory Drive to the Stock Pavilion. Check out this Self-Guided Quad Tour to learn more about the buildings on the Main Quad or view the live Quad Cam to see what is happening on campus.

Local Events

Taste of Champaign is an event held each August in Champaign’s West Side Park that highlights local food music, and the arts.
Urbana Sweet Corn Festival is an event that showcases Illinois’s favorite crop: sweet corn! It is held in downtown Urbana and includes food and music.
Ebertfest is a film festival founded by Illinois graduate Roger Ebert that is held each April.
Pygmalion Festival: A multi-day festival that takes place every September.
Ellnora Festival: A guitar festival held every other year at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.

Getting to Know Campus

Take a look at the Virtual Tour YouTube series that highlights campus locations and facts. Or check out this Photo Tour, which shows some stunning photos of campus.

Get to know campus landmarks through this online pictoral tour, or take a look at some of the historical markers on campus.

These Self-Guided Tours will give you a look at how large our campus is! Click through the pictures to learn more or walk to the campus sites, if possible.

Are you interested in how our campus has changed over time? Check out the Mapping History website that was developed at the University Library!

If you want to learn more about the history of campus, explore the UIHistories Project website or the University of Illinois Archives blog.