Guide to Chambana

Incoming Graduate Students — Welcome!

Welcome to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign! The Graduate
Employees’ Organization IFT/AFT (GEO)
is the union for all graduate employees at the UIUC. Furthermore GEO
is the official union that represents graduate students who work
the University as Teaching Assistants and Graduate Assistants. The GEO
just won a contract which includes many improvements for grad employees
including wages increases, fee subsidies, and employee protections. The
information on this page is provided in an attempt to be a guide
for you and to help make your first year of graduate school as painless
as possible. 

Where Have I Landed?

  • An overview of Champaign-Urbana

2. Schoolness

  • Campus Organizations
  • Books
  • Student IDs and Staff Cards
  • Computing
  • Library and Study Carrels
  • Recreation

Around Chambana

  • Transportation
  • Newspapers, Radio, and TV
  • Paychecks and Banking
  • Groceries
  • Budget Housekeeping: how to avoid Wal-Mart
  • Recreation
  • Theater, films, and video rental
  • Music
  • Caffeination

4. (An Even More Biased) Guide to Dining

5. Information on GEO

1. Where Have I Landed?

No matter how you arrived, you probably noticed two things right away.
Central Illinois is flat, and cornfields grow right up to the edge of
town. Never fear — Champaign County’s much maligned absence of topography
and excessive monoculture conceal a subtle and fascinating landscape and
a surprisingly vibrant arts and entertainment scene.

Partially due to the influence of the University, Champaign-Urbana is
the cultural capital of downstate Illinois. In addition to the amenities
offered by the U of I, including a museum, major stadium, and performing
arts complex, the community is home to a thriving local music, theater,
and art scene. Downtown Champaign has become the center of nightlife in
recent years, with many bars and dining options, though neighborhood gems
can be found throughout the city.

The University straddles the dividing line between Champaign,
which lies to the West, and Urbana,
which lies to the east. Though the two cities are separated geographically
only by Wright Street, any townie will tell you "they do things differently
over there." Generally speaking, Urbana is the smaller, more liberal,
less developed of the two, while Champaign contains most of the shopping
areas and more aggressively pursues growth, often with the result of urban
sprawl. Both contain pleasant, turn of the century neighborhoods, ugly
70s apartment complexes, and luxury townhouses of more recent vintage.
Check out the tenant protection laws in each city before you sign your
lease; if you are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered, you may prefer
to rent in Urbana, which prohibits discrimination in housing and employment.
Contact the Tenant Union (
for more information about tenant rights and protections.

2. Schoolness

Campus Organizations

TA complete list of registered student organizations (RSOs) is available online at International student organizations can be found at Specific organizations that may be of interest to union members:
Asian Pacific American Graduate Students Organization
Black Graduate Student Assocation
Graduate and Professional Students of Color
Indian Graduate Student Association
Progressive Librarians Guild

GEO Caucuses

Members of the GEO have organized a number of caucuses focused on specific aspects of life as a graduate employee at UIUC. For more information on when the caucuses meet call the GEO office at 217-344-8283
Critical Research and Action Caucus (CRAAC!)
Science and Engineering Caucus


There are three large bookstores that stock all the course texts: the Illini Union Bookstore [IUB] (809 S. Wright, C.) T.I.S. (707 S. Sixth, C.), and Follett?s (627 S. Wright, C.). IUB has the advantage of being the university store, which means you can deduct everything you buy there from your taxes! IUB also gives a portion of its proceeds back to the students in the form of cultural programming, while the other two stores send their profits to their corporate headquarters. Another option, if you plan ahead, is requesting textbooks from the library or buying used textbooks online–this can save a ton of money.

In addition to the three academic bookstores, there are other, independent booksellers in town. Jane Addams (208 N. Neil, C.) and Priceless Books (108 W. Main, U.) are two good off-campus new and used bookstores and are great places to browse. Jane Addams specializes in women?s studies and is also particularly good at locating out-of-print materials. Locally owned Pages for All Ages (1201 Savoy Plaza Lane) is an excellent store that has a history of supporting graduate students and community groups in various ways.

Student IDs

Your student ID is your passport to everything the university offers. A combination ID, library card, bus pass, and gym membership, the I-Card will be distributed at a student ID center in the Illini Union during the first week of classes. If you lose your card at any time, go to the permanent ID center in the Illini Union Bookstore office.


Because course registration is available only online, you need to set up your web site. You can find out more about account services, server space, free or discounted software, wireless on campus, dialing in from off-campus, computing labs, etc. Furthermore, CITES has a help desk in room 1420 of the Digital Computing Lab (1304 W. Springfield, U.).

Grads seem to have widely different experiences finding unsecured broadband wireless networks accessible from off-campus residences. Union members living in close proximity might consider sharing a subscription to a commerical service provider. If you live in Downtown or West Urbana, the Champaign-Urbana Wireless Project, which is starting a community wireless network, may offer a solution. Additionally, many off-campus cafés, coffee sohps, bars, and restaurants offer free wireless connections for their patrons. See Caffeination on page 14 for options.

Library and Study Carrels

Graduate students have access to all libraries and stacks at the university,
with borrowing privileges of approximately three months for most books.
Overdue fees for most books are usually waived when you return the materials,
but check for music, videos, and special items. Information on the university
library and the consortium of Illinois college and university libraries
is available at
The Champaign public libraries are excellent as well.

Grad students are also able to obtain study carrels, located in the stacks
of the main library. These are very useful if your office space is less
than private or capacious. Register for a carrel in the main library circulation
office, on the 2nd floor.

Recreation Facilities

If you want to exercise your body instead of your brain, UIUC has multiple options, both indoor and outdoor. A complete list of facilities can be found on the Campus Recreation website. The Intramural Physical Education Complex (IMPE) is the university?s newly renovated complex housing several gyms, racquetball/handball/volleyball courts, pools, tracks, weight room, stair-masters, and more. Another great facility is Campus Recreation Center East (CRCE). It has a hot tub and a water slide! The University of Illinois Ice Arena is open for ice skating and broomball through the academic year. Bowling, billards, and video games are available, for a fee, in the basement of the Illini Union. The local salsa dancing scene is especially active; for up-to-date information, keep an eye out for flyers. Chambana is also known for its Capoeira Club and Yoga centers. The Yoga Institute of Champaign-Urbana draws teachers from around the world. There is also the Living Yoga Center in Champaign.

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3. Around Chambana


The flat terrain and relatively compact size of Chambana make biking
a viable option most of the year, and combined with the award-winning
bus system, doing without a car is a real possibility, even if you live
farther from campus. As a U of I student, flash your I-Card to ride on
any bus in town–a student fee that you pay by default covers your fare,
so you might as well take advantage of it. Keep in mind that some buses
run more frequently than others and some close down early in the evening,
though a night-time Safe Rides service is available. The buses pick up
and drop off passengers at the end of any block along the route. Information
about the bus service can be found at the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit
District (CUMTD) web site (

The inconvenience and scarcity of campus parking is another reason to bike or take the bus. For good deals on bicycles and bicycle repair visit Bruce at Bikeworks (1103 W. Main St., U.) or The Bike Project (202 S. Broadway, U. Rm 24, UCIMC). Both campus and local authorities heavily police meters. For $86/year, you purchase the right to park on a large lot at the edge of campus and ride a shuttle bus that runs every five minutes to the quad. Information about the shuttle pass and other options is available from the Parking Division.

By car, C-U is about two hours from Indianapolis, two and a half hours from Chicago, and three hours from St. Louis. Transportation options for Chicago include Amtrak, MegaBus, and Greyhound. Reserve early to take advantage of the cheap rates. Commuter airline service is located at Willard Airport though it is sometimes cheaper to fly from Bloomington, Chicago, Indianapolis or St. Louis. To get to Willard, you can take the AIR BUS from campus (check the MTD website for schedule information) or call a cab. Lincolnland Express (Lex Express) offers regular shuttle service to and from downtown Chicago, the suburbs, and O?Hare airport as well as to Indianapolis. On weekends, Suburban Express is friendlier and cheaper than Lex.

Information: Newspapers, Radio, and TV

Both the local daily newspaper, the News-Gazette, and the free, student paper the Daily Illini

Radio in Champaign-Urbana is not quite as consolidated as in other parts of the country, and it?s still possible to hear locally-produced content and real live DJs. WILL, the University?s public broadcasting empire, offers an NPR affiliate with good local programming on AM580; a classical station at 90.9 FM; and a PBS television station. The WHHP 98.3 FM, based in a house in Farmer City, IL, plays bluegrass, old timey music, and alt country, but the real radio gems are WEFT 90.1 FM and WRFU 104.5 FM. WEFT is a 20+ year old community radio station, meaning that everyone you hear on air is a volunteer. WRFU is a newer low-power community station broadcasting out of the Independent Media Center in Urbana. Check out the WRFU website for a schedule and info on hosting a show. For R&B and Gospel, try WBCP 1580 AM. Cookie cutter easy listening, country, top 40, oldies, and talk radio stations round out the dial, with the student-oriented ?modern rock? station at 107.1 FM.

With the exception of WILL-TV, which produces and broadcasts interesting documentaries as well as the usual PBS fare, broadcast TV is a wasteland. There is an expanding public access cable station run out of Urbana (UPTV channel 6) that will play almost anything you send them, provided it?s not ?indecent.?

Paychecks and Banking

Payday is but once per month on the 16th. Your first paycheck won?t arrive until September 16th, so plan accordingly, and your last check will come on May 16th if you work both semesters. Thanks to the hard work of the GEO, university fees are now due after your first payday in September and January. Questions about paychecks can be answered in your main department office. Occasionally, graduate employees have problems with their paychecks. The GEO has effectively dealt with these problems in the past. We?re here to help you resolve any wage-related issues-give us a call (344-8283) or stop by our office on the second floor of the University YMCA with questions.

There are numerous banks on and off campus. The U of I Employees Credit Union offers free checking and savings with no minimum balance.


There are many grocery stores in Chambana, but the most unique is the Common Ground Food Co-op a member-run natural food store featuring superb produce located, as of August 2008, in the Lincoln Square Mall in Urbana. Supermarket chains include Schnucks at 200 N. Vine, U. and 109 N. Mattis, C.; varying greatly in quality from location to location are both County Market (1819 Philo, 2901 W. Kirby, C.) and Jerry?s IGA (312 W. Kirby, C., 2110 Round Barn, C.). For a decent big-box grocery store north of the highway, try Meijer (2401 N Prospect Ave, C.). Grads with families can look in to the WIC food assistance program to get food coupons.

Champaign-Urbana has a number of small, specialty markets, including Strawberry Fields (306 W. Springfield, U.) for organic and vegetarian foods; World Harvest (519 E. University, C.) and Euro Mart (48 E. Springfield, C.) for international foods and cheese tasting on Saturdays; Art Mart in the Lincoln Square Mall (300 S. Broadway, U.) for European gourmet specialties; and Natural Gourmet (2225 S. Neil, C). For East and South Asian foods try the large and diverse Am-Ko (101 E. Springfield, C.). For East Asian stores you can also try Far East Market (405 E. University, C.), Lee?s Oriental Foods (303 S. Cedar, C.), and Chang?s Oriental Mart ( 505 S. Neil St., C.). There is an Indian grocery called Annapoorna (505 S. Neil St, C). Also, a Mexican grocery, Mas Amigos, located at 607 N. Cuningham, U. Stores specializing in pastries and bread in town are Mirabelle Fine Pastry (124 W. Main, U), Pekara (116 N. Neil St., C.), and the new La Panaderia (1405 S. Neil St., C)

Quite a few farms near Champaign-Urbana sell produce, meat, eggs, and cheese directly to consumers. These foods tend to taste better than anything you could buy in a store. From May to November, the city of Urbana hosts an outstanding Farmer?s Market in the parking lot of Lincoln Square Mall (300 S. Vine, U.) every Saturday from 7 am to noon–go to buy, go to browse, go to soak up the atmosphere. Prairieland Slow Food publishes a guide ( to local produce.

Quick Guide to Produce Deliveries

Monday: Order fish at Am-Ko

Tuesday: Common Ground Food Coop

Wednesday: Am-Ko

Thursday: Chang?s

Friday: Annapoorna, Far East Market

Saturday: Urbana Farmer?s Market

Budget Housekeeping: how to avoid Wal-Mart

Chambana, like most cities, has the normal crowded suburban stripmalls, stores and restaurants on N. Prospect and a usually crowded and teenager- oriented mall on N. Neil St. However, one need not travel to these busy, often-crowded areas to find affordable household supplies, amenities or entertainment.

Champaign-Urbana has a well-used craigslist page at If you?re patient, you can get great deals (not mention find a date or a job). For furniture, dishes, and decorating stuffs try the housewares section at the Salvation Army (2212 N. Market, C.). ReStore by Habitat for Humanity (119 E. University, C.) also stocks furniture and supplies. There are other used furniture and clothing stores on this block. The University YMCA (1001 S. Wright, C.) holds its ?Dump and Run? sale at the beginning of the semester, reselling mountains of everything from furniture to exercise equipment that people donated rather than dumping the previous spring. Prices are rock-bottom and proceeds go to a good cause. For a more hit or miss approach, yard sale season is April to September–bike or drive around off-campus neighborhoods on Saturday mornings starting around 7:30 or 8 am for the best deals, and be prepared for company.

If you have a little more money and a taste for kitsch, try Furniture Lounge (9 E. University, C). Other good places for household decorations include Ten Thousand Villages (105 N. Walnut, C.), the local franchise of a fair-trade import chain run by the Mennonite Church; Art Mart (127 Lincoln Square Mall, U.) for upscale decorations and kitchenware; and International Galleries (114 Lincoln Square Mall, U.) for posters, framing, and knickknacks.

If your home is in need of some basic repair and cleaning, try the locally owned Do It Best Hardware (ask for the student discount! 107 W. Springfield, C.) or True Value (1303 E. Colorado, U.) If you?re of an ecological persuasion, less toxic cleaning chemicals are sold at the Common Ground Food Co-op (Lincon Square Mall, U.)–although they don?t stock mops, sponges, buckets, etc. Recycled home improvement products (paint, brushes, moldings, and lots more) can be bought at the ReStore (119 E. University Ave, C). For more intensive renovations, try the PACA warehouse (44 E. Washington, C.), which resells antique doors, sinks, toilets, and other parts scavenged from houses before they are demolished, for very good prices.

When you?ve started wearing your interview clothes to the gym because everything else is dirty, it?s time to make the pilgrimage to the Laundromat, if you?re not one of the lucky few with on-site facilities. In Champaign try Personal Touch (308 S. First), which features a kick-ass Simpson?s pinball machine; Courtesy Cleaning at 402 N. Broadway, U. has good people watching on Sunday afternoons.

Hair Care

While we could never provide a comprehensive list of places to get your hair done, here are a few suggestions. For African-American styles, try Locks of Glory (204 N 1st St., C.), A Cut Above the Rest (801 W Bradley Ave, C.), Fanta Hair Braiding (1717 Philo Rd, U.) and The Wrip Hair Designs (904 N 4th St., C). For those looking for a cheaper barber, stop by Glen?s at 602 S. 1st St. in Champaign where haircuts are always $8.

Health Care

for an extensive website on health care click here

Graduate students at UIUC pay for two types of healthcare. The Health Service Fee covers the primary medical services at the McKinley Health Center (1109 S. Lincoln Ave, U.) and supplies funding for the University?s Counseling Center. DRES is the campus unit charged with serving students with disabilities. The Health Insurance fee covers many healthcare needs not available at the McKinley center. The GEO has secured a waiver of the Health Service fee for graduate employees, as well as a 50% subsidy towards the cost of the Health Insurance fee (currently $256/semester). In 2002, the GEO also secured Dental and Eye Insurance for graduate employees.

There are some serious shortcomings to our current healthcare. The cost of insuring partners and dependents is excessive. Summer coverage costs extra and our insurance does not cover the cost of some prescriptions. The formulary at McKinley is reasonably good and provdies some discounted products, though they now charge a minimum of $5 for all prescriptions (some drugs were previously distributed free of charge)–many drugs continue to cost substantially more.

Planned Parenthood provides useful services while the local activist group Champaign County HealthCare Consumers can answer many of your questions. If you are a citizen and have an emergency or need to visit Carle Hospital (unfortunately Carle Clinic is not covered) for in-patient or out-patient care, make sure to apply for Carle?s ?Community Care? coverage. You may be eligible for significant reduced payments on top of the measly amount our insurance pays.
The Champaign County Regional Planning Commission also offers rent and utilities assistance to non-citizens and citizens. Check to see if you qualify.


Champaign and Urbana both have fantastic park systems, with parks and
"parklets" scattered all over the two cities. They also offer
fitness and general interest classes, with great programs for children;
check out the web sites of the Champaign Park District (
and the Urbana Park District (
for more information. The University YMCA also runs "Communiversity"
courses each semester, with fitness, dance, and general interest classes
available at reasonable cost.

Both park districts and cities co-sponsor major yearly festivals — the
downtown Urbana Sweetcorn Festival is usually the last weekend of August,
while the Taste of Champaign-Urbana takes place in late June in Westside
Park. In the spring, local visual and performing artists strut their stuff
during the Boneyard Arts Festival in April. And Roger Ebert’s internationally
recognized Overlooked Film Festival draws thousands of film buffs to downtown
Champaign’s historic Virginia Theater every spring.

If you want to get outdoors, try the U of I Arboretum on Lincoln Ave.,
Meadowbrook Park at the corner of Windsor and Race streets in south Urbana,
or head over the Mahomet (16 miles west of Champaign) to Lake of the Woods.
If you want to exercise your green thumb but don’t have a yard,
Meadowbrook Park features organic garden plots for rent for the growing
season for very reasonable prices. If you have a car and some free time,
don’t miss Allerton Park, located 30 miles SW of Champaign. It offers
gardens, sculptures, and wooded walking and biking trails, and concerts
during the summer months. Further afield, Kickapoo State Park in Danville
(30 minutes east by car), Homer Lake (20 minutes southeast by car) and
Turkey Run State Park in Indiana offer more recreation opportunities.
Hiking enthusiasts will need to head up to Wisconsin or down to the Shawnee
National Forest in Southern Illinois. In addition, Campus Rec offers guided
weekend trip canoeing, hiking, and more.

Theater, films, and video rental

The university’s Krannert Center for the Performing Arts (
presents drama, dance, symphonies, and operas in several theaters. Local
troupes play at the Station Theater (223 N. Broadway, U.), and at the
Armory Free Theater (in the Armory Building on campus), and the productions
at both can be quite remarkable. Larger local productions, such as musicals,
and regional touring companies come to the Virginia Theater (201 S. Neil,

Chambana has two multiplexes and several smaller movie houses that play
first and second run movies. Boardman’s Art Theater (boardmansarttheatre.com126
W. Church) features foreign, indie, and art films, plus you get a student
discount. The Virginia Theater also shows some revival films, usually
for only $5. There is also the Harvest Moon Drive-in Theater in Gibson
City (

The best place to rent movies in town is That’s Rentertainment
(516 E. John, C.). They have a great selection and reasonable prices.
The Urbana Free Library (;
201 S. Race, U) has an excellent selection and specializes in foreign
and art films, plus it’s free, free, free, with 3-day rental! The
Champaign Library (;
505 S. Randolph St, C) also has a decent selection and most loans are

Museums and Art

Chambana also has a few interesting and fun museums to visit on the University
of Illinois campus. The recently opened Spurlock Museum (
has an impressive and diverse cultural and historical collection that
is fun to visit. The Krannert Art Museum and Kinkead Pavilion (
have a wide variety of European and American paintings, Incan/Egyptian/Roman/Chinese/African
artifacts, and an interesting glassware exhibit. Both of these museums
are free to visit although a $3 donation is suggested. A unique characteristic
of Chambana is that many local businesses have rotating art exhibits on
their walls. You can spend a whole day checking out locally-produced art
in restaurants and coffee shops. In fact, downtown Urbana hosts a coffee
shop turned art gallery at the Cinema Gallery (120 W. Main, U).


If you like live music, Chambana has a fairly active scene. U of I’s
Assembly Hall and Foellinger Auditorium book bigger acts (John Mayer,
Garth Brooks, the Kiss revival tour, Eminem, etc.). Tickets are sold to
students on a lottery system. The Krannert Center for the Performing Arts
also features symphonies and other music events (

There are also plenty of smaller venues for punk, folk, jazz, hip hop
etc. The Canopy Club (708 S. Goodwin, U.) and the Highdive (51 E. Main,
C.) and the brand-new Cowboy Monkey (6 Taylor, C.) often host smaller
and not-so-small acts (Sleater-Kinney, Reverend Horton Heat, Los Straightjackets,
KRS-ONE). There is a good mix of local talent and touring bands, many
of which stop in Champaign-Urbana between gigs in Chicago and St. Louis.
Mike n’ Molly’s (105 N. Market, C.) has bands and holds a
weekly Celtic music session on Sundays. Options for jazz and the blues
include Zorbas (627 E. Green, C.) and the Iron Post (1205 S. Race, U.).

For dancing, try Chester Street Club ("C-Street") at 63 E.
Chester in downtown Champaign — thumpin’ dance music in a GLBT-friendly
environment, though virtually every bar has a DJ on the weekend. The Regent Ballroom (1406 Regency Dr., S.) also hosts regular dance nights for swing, salsa, and other ballroom dancing styles. Try Soma, Ko-Fusion, Radio Maria Tapas, and Cowboy Monkey for salsa and hip hop on weeknights.


Cafes are, of course, everywhere. On campus, try the funky, locally-owned Caffe Paradiso (corner of Lincoln and Nevada) or the more sedate Giuliani (on Green between Wright and 6th). Espresso Royale is the most commonly found cafe, with locations in Illini Union, Champaign, Urbana, and the Krannert Art Museum. Paradiso, Giuliani, and several Espresso Royale locations feature free wireless internet access if you bring your laptop.

Off campus, try Cafe Kopi (109 N. Walnut, C.), Aroma Café (118 N. Neil, C.), and Pekara (116 N. Neil., C.). These cafes serve coffee, food, specialty alcoholic drinks, and beer as well. Beans are available at a number of locations in the two cities, including a fair selection of organic and fair trade coffees. Urbana residents generally hold Strawberry Fields? beans as the best (and the most expensive). Art Mart?s selection is conventionally grown but notable. Tea afficionados will certainly do well to check out the selection of fine loose teas at Walnut Street Tea Company (115 S. Walnut Street, C.)

If a more secluded, quiet place is more productive, try Latte Da at the Champaign and Urbana public libraries. Both libraries host coffee shops and work areas on the first floor. Check and for hours.

Wines, Beer, and Spirits

There are several establishments that stock a wide variety of alcoholic beverages. Chambana has a number of Piccadilly liquor stores. However, each store has a different inventory of wines, including smaller vinters, so it is possible to find hidden gems. They also are reliable places to purchase kegs. But in terms of price, the beer and liquor sections of Schnucks and Meijer are more reasonable.

Friar Tuck?s is a supermarket of wines, beer, and liquors in Savoy (1333 Savoy Plaza. S.). They also sell home-brewing equipment. The Corkscrew Wine Emporium (203 N. Vine, U.) and Sun Singer Wines and Spirits (1115 W. Windsor Rd., C) carry higher-end wines; however, their staff is extremely knowledgable and both host affordable, weekly wine and food tastings.

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4. (An Even More Biased) Guide to Dining


  • Carmon’s French Bistro (415 N. Neil, C.) $$ Great Brunch on Saturday and Sunday.
  • Courier Café (111. N. Race, U.) $
    Amazing pancakes and omelets at great prices with great atmosphere.
    Go later in the day for great burgers, fries, and shakes, plus the best
    salad bar in town.
  • le Peep (2209 S. Neil, C.) $-$$ One of the best breakfasts in town.
  • Original Pancake House (1909 W. Springfield,
    C.) $ Enormous portions with loads of cholesterol in tacky decor = great
  • Sammy?s Pancake House (1206 N. Mattis Ave, C.)$ Pancakes, diner food, and everything else you need. A grad favorite.


  • Peking Garden (206 N. Randolph, C.) $-$$
    Large portion and wide selection.
  • Tang Dynasty (300 S. Broadway, Lincoln Square Mall, U.) $-$$ Great atmosphere and good food.
  • Mandarin Wok (403 E. Green, C) $ Best Chinese
    food in town if you order from the Chinese menu.
  • Lai Lai (402 E. Green St., C)$-$$ The best Chinese food on Green St.

Indian/Middle Eastern

  • Basmati (302 S. First, C.) $$. Can be hit
    or miss, all you can eat buffet.
  • Bombay Indian Grill (403 E. Green, C.) $.
    Good food, lunch buffet, not much ambience.
  • Jerusalem Cafe (601 S. Wright, C.) $ Cheap and good. Lots of veggie options.


  • Great Impasta (114 W. Church, C.) $$ Upscale
    atmosphere with good food and excellent desserts.
  • Timpone’s (710 S. Goodwin, U.) $$$ Some
    say it’s the best Italian in town; a good choice for a special occasion
    or trying to impress.
  • The Bread Company (706. S Goodwin, U.) $-$$
    Good cheeses, pizzas and pastas in relaxed environment. Good for a casual,
    romantic date when they get the fireplace roaring.


  • Miko (407 W. University, U.) $$$ Lunch buffet
    is a good value. Best sushi in town.
  • Kamakura (714 S. Neil C) $$$ Good Japanese
  • Woori Jib (710 S. 6th St., C) $ Best Korean food on campus. Try the barbeque.
  • A-Ri-Rang (607 S. Wright St. C) $ Try the Dolsot Bibimbap.
  • B-Won (2006 S. Neil C.) $$-$$$ A more upscale place with excellent food. Share the table grill with a friend.
  • Sushi Kame (132 W. Church St., C) $ Reasonably priced sushi and right next to Art Theatre.
  • Yellowfin (303 Cedar St., C) $$ Recently opened by the owners of Lee?s Oriental Foods (next door).
  • Thara Thai (910 W. Bloomington Rd. C) $
    The Best Thai food in CU, great for veggies, atmosphere is a little
  • Y Thai (1001 S. Wright St. C)$ Thai food
    right below GEO! Good food, and cheap smoothies.
  • Basil Thai (410 E. Green St. C, 701 S.Gregory, U.) $ Good Thai
    on campus,


  • Fiesta Café (216 S. First, C.) $-$$
    Friendly service, hit or miss menu, but great salsa, especially in the
    summer when they grow the ingredients on the patio.
  • Dos Reales (1407 N. Prospect, C.) $$ Said
    to be the best Mexican in town.
  • Real Hacienda (912 W. Bloomington Rd, C.)$$
    Around the corner from Dos Reales, a good alternative when the latter
    establishment is overcrowded.
  • El Taco Taco (202 Chesnut St., Arcola) $ Looking for the best Mexican food in East-Central IL? Pack the car and head to Taco Taco in Arcola. You will not regret it!


  • Sam?s Cafe
    (115 N. Walnut, C.) $ Lebanese food on Thursday and Friday nights from 6-9pm. A GEO favorite.
  • Papa George?s (505 S. Neil St., C) $-$$ Good Greek and Mediterranean selections. Try the appetizers at the bar.


  • The Red Herring Restaurant (1209 W. Oregon, U.) $ Located right across the street from the Foreign Language Building, serving tasty vegetarian and vegan lunches. Also try the $5 all-you-can-eat Krisna dinners on Monday nights and the Asha-Sambar (South Indian) dinner on Tuesdays.

Special Occasions and Hot Dates

  • Bacaro (113 N. Walnut, C.) $$ Elegant bar
    with chichi food. Wine is half price on Sundays.
  • Radio Maria (119 N. Walnut, C.) $$-$$$ Eclectic
    cuisine, artistic setting.
  • Milo’s (300 S. Broadway, U.) $$ Nicer neighborhood
    restaurant on the east side of Lincoln Square Mall (exterior entrance).
    Great seafood, very friendly owners and staff.
  • Ko-Fusion (1. E. Main C.) $$$-$$$$ Pricey but the sushi is good, and the place provides a unique atmosphere for this area.
  • Escobar?s (6 E. Columbia, C) $$-$$$$ A self-billed ?Nuevo Latino? restaurant that recently arrived near downtown C.
  • Jim Gould?s (1 E. Main, C)$$$-$$$$ Upscale steak house. Good Sunday brunch.
  • Luna (116 N. Chesnut, C) $$-$$$ Pricey but good tapas and entree menu.

A Few Good Bars

  • Barfly (120 N. Neil, C.) Live DJ and pleasant
    beer garden. A good place to go if all else fails.
  • Boltini (211 N. Neil, C.) Upscale bar, very
    popular, too crowded on weekends.
  • Chester Street (63 Chester St, C.) Good
    dancing, LGBT friendly.
  • Cowboy Monkey (6 Taylor, C.) Snazzy new
    bar and performance space with pricey, drink menu
  • Crane Alley (115 W. Main, U) Best outdoor
    seating in Urbana, fancy food and extensive beer selection. There’s
    even a no smoking section.
  • The Embassy (114 S. Race, U) Great, cozy
    atmosphere, neighborhood bar.
  • The Esquire (106 N. Walnut, C) A favorite
    among GEO members.
  • Jupiters (39 E. Main St, C) Spacious with
    pool tables and great pizza.
  • Mike ‘N’ Molly’s (105 N. Market, C) Good
    outdoor seating
  • Murphy’s (604 E. Green St, C) Best campus
    bar, good bar food

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5. Information on GEO

Join the GEO! — Start
your grad career off right! Help to improve the living and working environment
for graduate students!

Brief History of the GEO — A
summary of where the GEO came from, the actions & events we’ve sponsored,
and the major turning points in our history.

GEO Mission & Goals — Read
about what the GEO stands for, is working for now, and what we are negotiating
over on behalf of all Teaching and Graduate Assistants at UIUC.

Frequently Asked Questions — Have
some basic questions about the GEO or graduate employee unionization?
Find your answers here.

GEO News — Find out the latest about the
GEO, read recent press releases, or delve into the archives of our newspaper
"The Organizer".

Links — The place to find links to other
graduate employee unions across the country and other information related
to the GEO.

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