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Getting to Know CU

The University of Illinois campus is massive, with so many interesting buildings, beautiful green spaces, and fascinating art and history markers to explore. Our main campus is spaced between the cities of Champaign and Urbana (spanning 3.6 square miles), and we also have spaces in the nearby cities of Savoy and Monticello.

Navigating Campus

There are so many opportunities to see campus whether you do so online or in person! We’ve got a few ideas for you to check out.

  • Walk by some of our campus landmarks on a Self-Guided Tour, or take this driving tour (complete with a playlist!), which allows you to see a large amount of campus in a short amount of time.
  • The Touring Time video series will give you a quick look at key campus sights, or take a virtual bike ride with David Tewksbury, an Executive Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. Various colleges, programs, and units have recorded tours inside places that may be specific to you and your interests.
  • Want to see a live feed of Alma Mater, the Quad, or Willard Airport? Check out the campus live cams.
  • Get to know campus landmarks through this online pictorial tour and the overview of historical markers on campus.
  • If you are interested in history, we’ve got you covered! Check out the Mapping History website to see how our campus has grown over time. If you want to learn more about campus history, look at the UIHistories Project or the University of Illinois Archives blog.
  • Our campus also has several museums that are free to students and are perfect getaways for families. The Spurlock Museum has artifacts from throughout the world, new exhibits regularly, and activities for children. The Krannert Art Museum is the second largest general fine arts museum in the state and its 11,000-piece collection includes artworks from the 4th century BCE to the present.

Student Favorites

We chatted with our Students Advising on Graduate Education (SAGE) graduate students, who wanted to share their favorite, best-kept campus secrets with you!

Other Fun Activities

Test your University of Illinois trivia with our trivia game!

Try our Scavenger Hunt to discover new places on campus.

Download the Graduate Student's Guide to Campus, which was curated by graduate students and includes their favorite spots on campus.

Local Lingo

Every campus has its list of local lingo that takes a little bit to learn. Don't worry! We've got a list of terms to help you get started.

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.