Housing Opinion – Transfer Cluster

By Harsh Agarwal
Psychology Major & Member of TAG

UPDATE: As of Fall 2015, the Transfer Cluster will now be located in Scott Hall which is part of the Ikenberry Commons South neighborhood.

As we transition to another school, there is so much apprehension on where to live. There’s so many questions-“Should I get a dorm the size of my room or an apartment with some friends?” “What if I get stuck with a bad roommate?” “Will I make friends?”-I was in the same boat not too long ago. Despite gaining so much at my community college and having a fruitful experience there, after hearing some of my friends’ stories and experiences, I realized that being at a community college never really gave me what so many of my friends were experiencing at their universities; “the college experience.”

When I looked at some of my housing options, I was told that there is a cluster in one of the dorms specifically designated for transfer students. I was happy when I heard this because I knew I would already have something in common with other people and it would be easy for me to relate to them and form a connection.

So I made the decision to go with university housing for the first year and I selected Hopkins in the Transfer Cluster as one of my top choices. A few weeks later I got placed in the transfer cluster! I knew that now I would experience what my friends experienced during their years in the dorms.

As everything got settled, it turned out that everyone bonded instantly and all the apprehension I felt just disappeared! We all acknowledged the fact that we were all in the same boat and everyone was willing to get to know one another. My floor mates were very friendly and greeted each other as they walked by. We would often all go have dinner together and participate in fun events. We made our own Facebook page and kept in contact with each other through group texts using an app called “Groupme.” This way, we planned out different events we could all do together, shared some jokes, and helped each other out on various assignments. As cliché as it may sound, everyone became a family.

I can definitely say that staying in the transfer cluster the first year was a wise decision on my part. I was able to network and meet so many great people with whom I plan to keep in contact with even after the year ends. This is not to say that it’s not a wise decision to not live in the dorms the first year, because everyone is different. But if you’re looking for a fresh start and willing to meet some great, new people, the transfer cluster is an excellent place to start your journey as a transfer student at Illinois!

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.

Campus Safety

By Sarah Bransley

Dodge Charger (LX) UIUC Police car

As the days grow shorter and the nights get colder, many students are finding it difficult to traverse campus. As with any large campus, safety is a concern when getting from point A to B. Luckily, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has many safety measures intact to ensure public safety.

First, make sure you sign up for Illini Alerts! You can get this by text or email and they automatically show up on every University computer. They inform the public about incidents occurring on campus that require unique safety measures. Typically they inform students and staff what area of the campus to avoid while emergency services do their job.

You’ll also get Crime Alerts which the University Police departs sends in accordance with the federal Jeanne Clery Act. The Act requires college campuses to disclose information about crimes that occur on campus or near campus. These will arrive to your student email and are great at informing us of safety measures to take while out and about on campus. Things as simple as staying alert, trusting your instincts, avoiding walking alone at night, not using headphones, and drinking moderately seem pretty obvious, but you would be surprised at how often students don’t follow these tips.

Speaking of walking alone at night, the university tries their best to ensure that no one (male OR female) should be stuck with this option. Two programs help everyone get back home safely: SafeRides and SafeWalks. I’ve used both and can honestly say that they are a great option if you are headed one way and your friends are going another. It’s important to call them at least 30 minutes before you expect to leave, because they have to finish the route they are on currently before picking you up.

The Student Patrol are the escorts for SafeWalks. The patrol is made up of students who are employed and trained by members of the University of Illinois Police. Their non-winter hours are 9 p.m. to 2:30 a.m., Sunday through Wednesday, calls taken until 2:15 a.m. and 9 p.m. to 3 a.m., Thursday, Friday or Saturday, calls taken until 2:45 a.m. During the late fall/winter, they start at 7 p.m.

SafeRides is run by the CUMTD to provide safe transportation for people traveling alone with no other means of safe transport. They won’t pick up more than 3 people at a location (unless it’s the Union, Main Library, or Illinois Street Residence (ISR) Hall) and run from Dusk (7 p.m./5 p.m.) until 6 a.m. They have regular pick-ups at the Main Library, ISR, and the Union.

All of these measures make for a very safe campus. If you’d like to know more about campus safety, you can follow either of the links below.