What I’m Thankful for this Holiday Season!

We’re in the midst of Thanksgiving break here at Illinois Tech; students are spending their time of celebrating with their families and friends, catching up on sleep, and studying for the finals week ahead.  I thought I’d take a moment to share some of my favorite things about attending IIT.

Here’s the top ten things I’m thankful for at Illinois Tech:

10. Being on a small campus — Everything on campus is so easy to get to, and you never have to spend too long out in the cold weather while walking to class!

9. Holiday lights outside McCormick Student Village — the decorations make campus feel so much happier as the weather gets colder and finals week begins!

8. Global Grounds – Our on-campus coffee shop has a great supply of caffeine and snacks.

7. Office of Campus Life’s Stress Free Zone — Even when finals week is underway, there are some relaxing things to do around campus!

6. The CTA — It’s easy to get anywhere in the city with the Green Line, Red Line, and State Street bus running through campus.

5. The Bog — There’s so many fun things to do on Thursday and Friday nights!

4. Galvin Library — being open 24 hours a day is great for late-night study sessions.

3. The Student Activities Fund, which allows student organizations to plan awesome events!

2. The One Stop — Illinois Tech’s office where you can get absolutely any IIT-related question answered by their ever-helpful and knowledgeable staff.

1. Living in the beautiful city of Chicago — there’s so much to explore!

-Kori Bowns

B.S. Candidate, Physics Education
Volunteer Coordinator, ILFTC
Business Manager, TechNews
President, Illinois Tech Robotics

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? Tweet it to us at @IITUGAdmission !


At Illinois Tech, the “Freshman Fifteen” isn’t quite what you’d think…

The term “Freshman Fifteen” typically refers to weight that students gain during their first year living on campus. However, at IIT, the Freshman Fifteen has a much more enjoyable meaning.

The Illinois Tech Freshman Fifteen is a series of fifteen events that showcase a sampling of fun events that IIT offers to students. Student organizations and departments submit entries to be considered for the Freshman Fifteen lineup, and are selected to provide a diverse representation of the areas of student and departmental programming. Attendance is not mandatory, but students who attend at least 10 of the 15 events are entered into a raffle to win some pretty awesome prizes!

 Here is a list of awesome events students participated in this semester:


The last remaining Freshman Fifteen event is Illinois Tech’s traditional Late Night Breakfast at 10 p.m. on December 3rd in The Commons. At Late Night Breakfast, students can take a break from cramming and relax with their friends to refuel before heading back to their residence hall to continue to prepare for the finals week ahead.

As a Peer Mentor with the Office of Campus Life, I’ve gotten to see a ton of first-year students attend the events and have a great time! It’s wonderful to see such an investment in getting new students immersed in the IIT community.

To learn more about the Freshman Fifteen, the First Year Experience program, or anything else about cool events that Illinois Tech’s campus has to offer, be sure to visit the IIT Office of Campus Life’s website here.

Exploring Bridgeport, Chicago: Home of Illinois Tech

Illinois Tech is nestled comfortably on the south side of Chicago, just minutes from the excitement of downtown. While most IIT students take the time to visit the Chicago Loop downtown often during their early collegiate career, the more subtle neighborhoods closer to campus are often forgotten and passed by until students search for something more than chain restaurants and twenty-plus story buildings.


Image courtesy of Google Maps

Just a few blocks west of Illinois Tech over the Dan Ryan Expressway sits Bridgeport, one of Chicago’s most diverse communities and the home of five of Chicago’s former mayors. Bridgeport is also the home of many IIT students who choose to move off of campus due to the neighborhood’s proximity to campus, housing options, diverse community, and amazing neighborhood atmosphere.

One of the first things any IIT student acquainted with Bridgeport will recommend are the wonderful independently owned food options.  Bridgeport is home to two of my favorite coffee shops in the city–Bridgeport Coffee at 31st Street and Morgan, and Jackalope Coffee and Tea House at 32nd and Halsted. Both are great for caffeine-fueled study sessions when you just need to get away from campus to focus for a while.

For a more well-balanced meal, Bridgeport is also home to some of the greatest restaurants in Chicago. My personal favorite, Pleasant House Bakery, located across the street from Bridgeport Coffee at 31st and Morgan, is the home of savory English-style meat pies, seasonal sweets, and homemade sodas. Other favorites of mine include Pancho Pistolas at 31st and Union for a contemporary sit-down dinner with delectable Mexican cuisine and Phil’s Pizza at 35th and Aberdeen. To top it all off at the end of the night, Bridgeport is also home to a simple ice cream shop, Scoops, at 31st and Wallace.

Image courtesy of pleasanthousebakery.com

These are just a few of the many food options available in the neighborhood for students to explore. Luckily, many of the restaurants in the area are well-known among groups of students and word-of-mouth promotion happens pretty fast when someone discovers their favorite new off-campus dinner spot, so be sure to listen up! Many locations in the Bridgeport neighborhood also offer discounts to Illinois Tech students, so bring along your student discount card!    

In addition to the wonderful food spots in the neighborhood, Bridgeport also holds a strong sense of community and pride.  Since moving to the neighborhood after my second year at IIT, I’ve been able to meet people from all walks of life who are friendly and have a passion to improve their neighborhood. The neighborhood’s diversity comes through in Bridgeport’s art centers and community events. Several parks are also available for guests to relax, exercise, or even go fishing!

Bridgeport is just one of the oft-overlooked neighborhoods in Chicago that have a lot to offer, and I encourage students to get out and safely explore what their city holds for them in addition to the hustle and bustle of downtown. Students at Illinois Tech are in a prime location to do just that: expand their horizons, try new things, and become a part of their greater community.

-Kori Bowns, physics education junior