RSO Spotlight: Integrative Illini

By Sarah Bransley


With as many Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) as there are at the UIUC campus, it’s hard to find the right fit for you. That’s why the bloggers from TAG are starting a series called the RSO Spotlight! Members of TAG will write about RSOs that they are active in and give insight into what is great (and not so great) about each one.

For the first RSO spotlight, I’ll be covering Integrative Illini. This RSO is specifically for, but not limited to, Integrative Biology majors. This RSO doubles as a social and academic RSO. Many events through the year include meet and greets, camping, tutoring for STEM courses, and informational meetings on undergraduate research and internships.

I like Integrative Illini because it allows me to interact with other IB majors and get help with finding research jobs and internships. The exec board is very knowledgeable about these topics and are generally happy to assist any student with questions. The only drawback I can think of is member attendance. Since IB is a smaller major, the RSO is on the smaller side and not every meeting or social event will have tons of people. I like the one-on-one interaction I get with a smaller group, but I have talked with some people who would rather attend large social events.

No matter what size RSO you are more comfortable with, I would say that checking out Integrative Illini is a must for anyone interested in biology. The access to research and internship opportunities alone is worth your time. You can see what Integrative Illini is up to by visiting this Facebook page ->

Transferring From Parkland College (Local Transfer)

By Sarah Bransley


I had a unique transfer experience because I attended Parkland College, the local community college in Champaign-Urbana. I didn’t grow up in Chambana, but since I attended Parkland and made friends with students and townies alike, I got an inside look at the town and its offerings.

The first thing you need to know is that anyone who grew up here or doesn’t attend the university is considered a “townie.” Everyone else is a student. If you are a townie, there is a giant black hole in the middle of Chambana called campus. Most townies don’t visit campus unless they work there or attend school. It’s the opposite for students, because everything off campus is foreign to them.

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That’s why I was lucky, having transferred from Parkland I know the ENTIRE town. Most transfers come here not knowing anyone and have to start fresh. I am happy that I knew many people here in town already because I didn’t have to work as hard to find people to hang out with.

The downside to being a townie is that I sometimes forget to interact with my classmates. I’m so used to hanging out with my own group of friends that I sometimes miss out on the opportunities to interact with my future co-workers and peers.

As for academics, I would say that the core content isn’t too much different from what you experienced at Parkland. However, the application of that information and the class set up is different. It takes some getting used to because in many aspects UIUC expects more of their students. Many classes have attendance points, they don’t remind you as often about due dates, and they also include a lot more homework and quizzes.

If you are transferring from Parkland, the best suggestion I can give you is to make sure you put in effort towards organizing your homework and making new friends. Many of your classmates already share an interest with you and some will eventually become important individuals in your field of study. My favorite thing about having friends in my major is all the extra advice and help with coursework! It’s not as hard when you have friends to work through it with you.

Useful Phone Apps

By Lily Villa


Lily Villa is an Advertising major and a member of TAG & AAF.

When I first moved on campus this fall, my roommate, who had been here for a year, said, “You might want to download the bus app.” Oh boy was she right. “CU Buses,” and its counterpart “Illini Bus” are both apps you can pull up on your phone that make taking the bus so much easier. For one, you can select from all the listed bus stops and it’ll tell you how many minutes away the buses are. Not all bus stops are marked with signs or benches, so if you don’t know the bus stops, like I did for a while, you can pull up a map that indicates the stops near you, and shows you how long you have until it arrives. At some point, you’ll learn which bus stops and routes you use most often, and can add them to your favorites for easy access. Illini Bus also lets you pull up a map that shows just how far the bus is from your stop, that way you know how long you can stay indoors before it leaves you behind. Trust me, this becomes essential as it gets colder.

Zondr is an app that I also found to be useful in a different way than the bus app. This one lists all the bars on campus and information that could be essential. It shows you what the male-female ratio is, how long the line is, how many people are already in there, and how much you have to pay to get in (important to know beforehand in my opinion.) You’ll also see what the drink specials are for the night as well food specials. I strongly recommend getting to Brothers early for Wednesday night wings. You’d be surprised how long you have to wait when so many college kids want 25 cent wings.

Lastly, I’d like to mention the U of I’s own app. By simply searching “Illinois,” you’ll find most information you could ever need as an Illinois student. The most essential feature is probably the map, which makes it easy to find what buildings your classes are in. Seeing as campus is really big, it’s no fun being lost on the first day of each semester- it’s either unbearably hot, or freakishly cold. The Illinois app also gives you news and events from all the colleges, so you don’t have to feel out of the loop as a new student to campus.