Illini Union prepares to reopen in-person events

By Shelbi Voss

After the campus community received an email from Chancellor Robert Jones about increased COVID-19 safety guidelines, the Illini Union announced that all in-person events would be canceled for two weeks. Now, as those two weeks are coming to a close, students will once again be able to gather in the union for more than just their required COVID-19 testing. 

When the fall semester began the Illini Union was open under new cleaning and social distancing guidelines. The Rec Room, which features bowling, billiards and video games, designated limited capacities and rearranged furniture to create a safe environment for students. The union also implemented increased sanitation of machines and gaming pieces by both guests and employees before and after each use. With the two week timeline coming to an end, the Rec Room is set to open on September 16. 

In-person programs on the event calendar were modified over the two week closure. The Throwback Film Series was originally scheduled for Friday nights in the Illini Union Ballroom. Since the closure, the program has been developed into a virtual viewing experience allowing for up to 500 students to watch the films online for free. The links, which are available on the Illini Union website, are open for 48 hours beginning each Friday at 7 p.m. The union will reintroduce in-person viewing this Friday with the film “42” starring Chadwick Boseman. 

Students can expect the return of one more in-person program in the coming weeks. Crafts and Snacks, hosted every Thursday night in the North Lounge, is set to begin again on September 24. Attendees can make themed crafts while enjoying free snacks provided by the Illini Union Board all while staying social distanced wearing masks. 

Although other events have bounced back from the closure, the Art Gallery opening reception was canceled without the prospect of being rescheduled. Despite the event cancellation, the current exhibit “Sunrise, Sunset” by University of Illinois student Josh Frerich is available for virtual gallery tours on the Illini Union website. 

For those on the lookout for a safe environment to gather in-person, refer to the Illini Union website and social media for event listings and updates. 

Photo courtesy of the Illini Union