How to Use and Get to Know the Bus System

By Joseph A’Hearn

Calling it the Spring Semester is a cheap marketing trick. At U of I, we all know the name Winter Semester more adeptly describes the bitter cold our flesh endures on our way around campus. In the winter, most of all, you’ll want to travel by bus rather than by bicycle or on foot. The good news is that since you’re a student at U of I, you get to travel the Champaign-Urbana bus system for free! But there are so many different bus routes. How do you know which bus to hop on?

In this blog I want to mention a few resources that I wish I had known when I transferred to U of I last spring.

1. Google Maps: Just type in your starting point and destination, and then select the public transit icon. It will show you your options. I usually take a look at this on my computer before I go outside.

2. Maps and Schedules on the official Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District website: (You can even download the whole booklet in PDF format!) If you want to be a bus guru, this is your resource. All the info you could ever want about the bus system.

3. Phone Apps: I installed three apps on my Android phone: Transit – CUMTD and My Bus Helper: MTD are the two I still use. I don’t remember what the third one was, but if I deleted it, it must have been pretty useless. I’ve found Transit – CUMTD more helpful when I know where I’m departing from, but not necessarily where I’m getting off, and My Bus Helper: MTD more helpful when I don’t know exactly where I should get on, but I know where I’m going.

4. The 22/220 Illini: This is the bus that meanders through campus. If you have no clue which bus to get on, hop on the 22/220 Illini, and eventually you can jump off relatively close to any destination. You should really get to know the bus system better than this, though. It’s just a last resort.

Over time you will get to know which bus works best for each of your trips in the weekly cycle of classes, labs, meetings, and events. You may even get to know the various bus drivers. You will get to know other tricks of the trade that I did not include in this brief blog. Best of luck getting around! And stay warm!

Daily Life: Winter is Coming

By Sarah Bransley

Alma Mater, Lorado Taft

Students attend U of I from all over the world and many have never experienced a climate like we have here in Illinois. From 90 degree summers to below zero degree winters, it’s hard to know what to pack when you’re coming to live here. Luckily, I’ve lived in Illinois all my life so I can help a bit with knowing what’s useful and what to leave at home.

For Spring Semester you’ll definitely need some warm clothes. The weather will go from freezing to warm so the big idea is LAYERS. Leggings, tights, tank tops, short sleeves, long sleeves, shorts, sweaters, pants, etc. Everything is about layers because when you’re walking between classes you’ll want all those layers on but as soon as you get inside a packed lecture hall you want to be able to take everything off!

As I’ve perused social media websites I’ve seen many students asking questions about what sort of winter gear is useful. You do not, I repeat, you do not need snow shoes. Unless you want to do cross country walking recreationally. A good pair of water-proof boots should do you just fine with some nice wool socks to keep your feet warm. Make sure you have gloves (waterproof if you plan on throwing snowballs), a big scarf to cover your neck AND face, and a hat that goes over your ears. Finally, your jacket should be waterproof and either be rated for cold weather (generally zero or below) or contain a warm material like down.

You don’t need to buy the most expensive items to get good, sturdy things that will keep you warm. Most of these things can be purchased in or around town. Macy’s, Kohls, and Target are examples of chain stores that have these items and Champaign Surplus has unique and amazing items if you want to shop locally!

Basically, pack smart and make sure you have a little bit of everything so you can tackle anything our weather will throw at you. As a native Illinoisian, I can tell you that you will most likely need all those layers in January and still be dying in a tank top and shorts come May.