Illinois Tech’s tech-focus comes with a multitude of advantages, but it comes with drawbacks, too. Many students lament over the lack of language classes, art classes, music classes, and other creative outlets. If you know where to look, however, there are many ways for students to express themselves artistically.
For example, if you are a student who is interested in writing, other than literature classes such as "poetry" and "short fiction," there are three other main ways that students can get involved as writers on campus: TechNews, Writers at Illinois Tech (WaIT), and the annual Department of Humanities writing contest.
The first should be obvious, as you’re reading from this very newspaper, but let me elaborate a bit on what it entails and how to get involved. Any student is welcome to write and submit an article to be published, with very little restriction on the content of the article. Upset about something on campus and want your voice to be heard? Want to write a review of a book you recently read? Wrote a poem recently that you’d like to share with the rest of the student body? Writers’ meetings occur every Wednesday at 1 p.m. in MTCC 221, and all students are welcome. Any questions can be directed to [email protected].
There is also a student organization on campus that caters toward writers, called Writers at Illinois Tech (WaIT). The group meets on the first Sunday of every month from 1:30-3 p.m. in Perlstein Hall room 108, with their first meeting of the 2018-2019 academic year to occur on Sunday, September 2. During these meetings, students gather to play writing games, share their own writing, and give constructive criticism to others’ work. The group will occasionally travel as a group to Young Chicago Authors (YCA), a group based in downtown Chicago that hosts a multitude of free workshops and events geared towards young authors.
The Illinois Tech Department of Humanities hosts a writing contest every spring, with pretty substantial monetary prizes for the winners of each category. Categories include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and freshman essay. Any full time Illinois Tech student can submit an entry. More information can be found on the Department of Humanities’ website.
If you are a musician, whether it be instrumental or choral, there are many ways to get involved on campus. Illinois Tech students are able to take classes at VanderCook College of Music, with whom we share this campus. Classes available to Illinois Tech students include ensemble groups such as band, orchestra, and choir, private lessons, music theory, world music, and music history. The fee for Illinois Tech students to register for VanderCook classes for the 2018-2019 academic year is $500, and after paying this fee, Illinois Tech students can take private lessons on one instrument and as many other classes as they’d like. More information can be found at http://www.vandercook.edu/programs/iit-student-registration/. The last day to register for Fall 2018 classes is Tuesday, September 7, 2018. Questions can be directed to [email protected].
If taking VanderCook classes isn’t for you, there are still options. Consider banding with a few other musical friends and form a small performing group; a string quartet consisting of four Illinois Tech students performed at Coffeehouse last semester. In addition, an unofficial student organization is in the midst of forming for this exact purpose; forming small chamber music groups to showcase Illinois Tech musical talent. Students interested in playing in a chamber music group like this are welcome to contact [email protected].
Additionally, there is an acapella student organization on campus; Illinois Tech Acapella is divided into three student groups: the X-Chromatones (an all-female group), Crown Joules (all male), and TechTonics (which welcomes all genders). Students are placed in groups based on the results of auditions which occur in the beginning of the fall and spring semesters. Questions can be directed to [email protected].
Illinois Tech may not offer language classes, but the university does have a valuable resource for those interested in language learners: the high percentage of Illinois Tech students that are already fluent in more than one language. Inspired by this fact, in the spring of 2018, student Shalhevet Argamon created a student organization called Global Languages Organization (GLO). The organization acts as a network of students interested in learning other languages, and facilitates forming language-learning partnerships. The group will kick off the year with a social event in the Bog on September 6, from 6-10 p.m. The evening will include casual conversation, games, music, free food, and prizes.
Are you a dancer? There’s a student organization for this, too; Love to Dance (LTD) is an opportunity for Illinois Tech students to express themselves through dance. They welcome all styles, from ballet, to hip-hop, to classical Indian dance. Auditions for the 2018-2019 academic year will occur on August 29 and 30 from 7:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m., with a tentative location being Hermann Hall Ballroom. (More information will be available on HawkLink closer to the event date.) Dancers only need to attend one of the two dates. Questions can be directed to [email protected].
33rd Street Productions is Illinois Tech’s theater group on campus, and is completely student-run. They welcome all Illinois Tech and VanderCook students, and urge that absolutely no experience is necessary for interested students to get involved. There are a variety of ways to get involved in the organization other than acting, as well: the group also has needs including play selection, directing, stage managing, prop and set design and construction, creating costumes, helping out backstage, and technical lighting. All questions can be directed to [email protected].
Of course, I am not claiming that this is a complete list of every creative outlet on campus, but rather a helpful guide to those that I am aware of. And of course, if a student group does not exist for an activity that you are passionate about, I highly encourage you to create your own student organization! You can find out more information on how to do so at https://bit.ly/2MUbUMA.