When referring to our fair twin cities in east central Illinois, why is it that you hear both “Urbana-Champaign” and “Champaign-Urbana?” Which way is right?
The matter is probably up for much debate, but I’ll give my own personal theory. You usually hear “Urbana-Champaign” when referring to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The official address of the university is in Urbana, so it is logical that this should come first in the university’s title; many university buildings are located in Champaign, however, so it’s also important to include both cities.
In general, long-time residents of both cities tend to ignore the university’s convention, and refer to the place as “Champaign-Urbana.” Why? Again, my own theory:
- Champaign is bigger. Population in the 2010 census: 81,055; Urbana: 41,250 .
- Champaign-Urbana has a much nicer ring to it. You could almost jump rope to it, or have it as a line in a song.
- Champaign is much more important. Despite the fact that it started as “West Urbana,” in the late 1800s, it has long ago superseded Urbana in size and number of businesses. AND its mayor Don Gerard used to be in several semi-famous rock bands, and recently showed up on MTV’s list of “Hive Five: Musicians with Political Cred.”
- Champaign has a more unique name. Did you know there’s an Urbana, Ohio (with an Urbana University!) an Urbana, Iowa, an Urbana, Arkansas, and even an Urbana restaurant in Washington, D.C.? If you don’t wait to hear the end of the phrase “Urbana-Champaign,” you might confuse it with another Urbana.
- It’s a way of differentiating “townies”(locals) from “newbies”(usually students). If you’re new here, you can easily make the mistake of calling it “Urbana-Champaign.” If you want to sound like you’ve lived in the town forever, call it “Champaign-Urbana.”
- Champaign-Urbana lends itself to all sorts of interesting nicknames. Such examples as “Shampoo-Banana,” “Chambana,” and “C-U” come to mind. Using “C-U” can be really fun when combined with other stuff, such as “C-U at the movies” or “C-U later.”
Now, this is not to say that Urbana doesn’t have its charm! Urbana is home to some very important stuff (for some reason mostly revolving around food): the Annual Sweetcorn Festival, Mirabelle Bakery, Common Ground Food Co-op, Urbana’s Market at the Square (also known as the Farmers’ Market), Strawberry Fields Natural Foods; as well as being home to the President of the University of Illinois and the site of two very large excellent hospitals, Carle and Provena. I encourage you to visit all Urbana has to offer (Except for maybe the hospitals. Unless you need them, of course).
So…which is better, Champaign-Urbana or Urbana-Champaign? What’s your theory? Either way you say it, I hope I’ll C-U out in U-C. Or C-U.
For more information about both cities, look them up on Wikipedia, or visit http://www.visitchampaigncounty.org/.
The last couple of weeks have been so incredibly busy that I haven’t had time to write here. Our office has been checking students in, registering them for ESL classes, preparing orientation, helping with immigration information, etc., etc., etc. But I didn’t want more time to go by before I welcome all new students to Parkland College and to Champaign-Urbana. We hope you enjoy your stay here! I hope you’ve settled in to new classes and a new living environment, and are more comfortable. Beginnings are always hard.
Just a short post for now. My next few entries will show you reasons why I love this town, and hopefully why you will love it too. In the meantime, remember to come and see us if you need help, and we will try to get you to the right resource.
Best wishes for a fabulous fall semester!
Well, next Monday is the official reporting date to Parkland College for international students. Many students have already arrived and checked in, tested, registered and gotten ID cards. It’s already been quite busy here! The excitement builds….
Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to the weekend, and enjoying the glorious weather. It is rare in central Illinois to have fabulous weather, so everyone should take advantage of it! I leave you with a fascinating article I came across recently, an interview with an international student about the challenges of being in the US. She also has some great advice for other international students: http://www.usatodayeducate.com/staging/index.php/blog/uncovering-the-world-of-international-students-a-penn-graduate-shares-her-experiences
Enjoy the weekend!
I’m not sure where the summer went. All of a sudden it seems like we’re rushing around because school is starting soon. Excitement, worry, fear, happiness, disappointment, stress, confusion, hope—all these are normal emotions for this time of year. Lines are long. Tempers are short. And not just at Parkland! Our international students are finding that airlines are booked for this time of year, and they’re having a hard time getting a plane ticket to the U.S. in time for placement testing, registration or international student orientation. They’ve already come so far—
- Deciding the program of study
- Application and completing file
- Receiving I-20 and admission information
- Student Visa application
- Student Visa interview
Now, after successfully entering into the U.S. (past that crabby Customs and Border Protection officer that asked a million questions), they finally will arrive in a new place with perhaps a new language and a new culture (the food smells weird, people look at you and smile all the time, and even the bathrooms look different!) and try to find housing. Am I in a safe neighborhood? Is my rent reasonable? Will my roommates be nice? How do I get utilities? How can I get a bank account without a social security number? And they haven’t even arrived at Parkland yet! If they successfully maneuver the public bus system (thank goodness those MTD drivers are nice!), they arrive at Parkland and are sent to different offices, each of which is a new challenge of communication in a language and a system they know with widely varying degrees of familiarity.
So….they’ve got all the challenges of any new college student, but with the added dimension of culture shock. Not to mention jet lag! Some of these things they’re trying to accomplish when they would normally be sleeping! Yikes! Whether you’re reading this as a current international student (do you remember those days?), a current U.S. student, a faculty member, staff person, or administrator, please take a second to appreciate all it takes for our international students to get here, and remember how much perspective and cultural information they bring with them that enriches our college experience. International students are taking away an education, but not without bringing the world a little closer to the rest of us.