The Other Side of Unofficial, Williamson Blog

While most students at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana were preparing alcohol, speakers, solo cups, and other things most recognized for their essence in good-spirited, and sometimes wild, partying, a few members of Koinonia Christian Cooperative House were preparing themselves to try to help others on the Friday so commonly associated with wild partying and binge drinking, also known as Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day. You can read about the origins of the holiday here from the University Archives.

Members of Koin, as it is termed by residents of the house, set up a table each Unofficial, on the corner of Fourth and Daniel, nearby the house, to give out water and snacks to people going out and partying on Unofficial, or even just students passing by going to class. The uncommon practice has raised a lot of questions, according to residents of the houses, but Jake Schyvinck, one of two Koinonia House Social Chairs, say that it’s pretty simple.

“We set up the water table to volunteer and help people out,” Schyvinck said about the questions they are asked. “We just want to help out our community. It’s really easy for people to be out drinking on a day like Unofficial and forget to hydrate or eat something, two really important things for intoxicated people to do.”

Koin sets up the water table as one of its many volunteering projects that they do during the year. The water table is just one part of two of Koinonia’s volunteering that they do during the day of Unofficial. While volunteers from the house operate the “Hydration Station” during the day, another volunteering event starts after the sun goes down.

“We do our hot dog ministry most Fridays during the year,” Trevor Peterson, a Koinonia House Volunteer Chair said about their Friday night volunteering. “We go out on the corner of certain heavily trafficked streets, and just hand hot dogs out to people that are going to the bars, or wherever they are going. It’s important for people to keep food in their stomachs while they are out drinking or doing whatever. It’s just nice to be able to give back to our campus community!”

Though volunteering on the biggest party day at a school that was once referred to as the nation’s biggest party school may seem odd to some, Peterson and Schyvinck both agreed that they didn’t feel they were missing out on much.

“I don’t really feel like I’m personally missing out on anything. It’s just not for me! Some people love to go out and drink and party, but I have a lot of fun in other ways during Unofficial, volunteering and giving back being one of them. It may be odd, but everyone has their own ideas of fun on a day like this,” Peterson said when asked if he thought he missed out on anything.

Schyvinck echoed his feelings about the unofficial holiday. “I’m not missing out on anything. I am not like anti-alcohol or anything, but I just have better things to do than get drunk. It’s a pretty busy day, but I like to volunteer during it too. Partying just isn’t how I get my kicks.”

Though most people don’t think twice about why people are offering water and snacks, or hot dogs, to random passerbys on Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day, Schyvinck and Peterson are two examples of students that enjoy Unofficial in other ways than what are typical. Though there are many opinions and thoughts about Unofficial, and even if it should be allowed, the non-holiday has deep ties within the campus community, in quite a few different ways!

You can see the full package of my story here.

You can also download and check out my full script of the project as a word document: full script



The Idea:

I was super excited to hear that the guys at Koin were okay with doing a few interviews for a second article on their house and the activities that go on there. I don’t feel like a lot of people really know anything about the house, or what it is about. Though I think that the water table and hot dog ministry could be perceived as being strange, they are really unique and I enjoyed getting to know about these people I’ve taken hot dogs from before. (and yes, it WAS, a good hot dog!)

The Issues:

I didn’t have too many issues with this project, thankfully, other than a few video editing things. I had to run home for a family emergency when I was putting the final pieces of this edit-job together, so unfortunately quite a few of the final edits were made using Windows Movie Maker, which is far from the high-tech equipment we have in the editing lab, which I would have returned to under normal circumstances. But overall, I don’t feel that it affected the project all that much.

I’m still proud of this project, and I like the information that it gives. I found it really interesting that someone would give up a day of partying, etc. I’m not a huge partier, but the idea of volunteering on a day like Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day is intriguing to me! That’s a lot of drunk people to deal with!

The Final Project:

I’m really proud of the final project that I came out with, especially considering the editing issues I had from using a new software I wasn’t super familiar with. I know my final third is lacking a little in quality, and I tried to mess around with importing graphics instead of using a final third created by text, but it didn’t work out too well. I really think, all things aside, the information is still good, and I got the point across in a timely manner! I was excited about this project going in, and I’m proud of it in the end, though it may not be my best work!


I’m pretty excited to be going into the next assignment, “How To” and then going into the group projects. I’m very excited for that. I think the projects we have all come up with just by ourselves alone have been fantastic, so I think three heads will definitely be better than one. It will be a fun, if not stressful, experience, coming back from break in the home stretch to summer.

Until the completion of the next assignment after Spring Break, you can check out my full video for this assignment, here. I hope you like it!

Thanks for reading and for watching. I think the biggest thing that I’ve taken from these assignments so far is that no matter what obstacle you face, face it with confidence. It’s a lesson hard-learned but well-rewarded.

Until next time, be eternally positive,

– Nate

1 thought on “The Other Side of Unofficial, Williamson Blog

  1. Blanco, Roger

    First and foremost, good for you for taking on this topic while everyone else on this campus was out partying. I’m sure it must’ve been hard to see everyone has having fun, but I’m glad you did this story. It’s always nice to hear and see what good people are doing for others to help them out. I personally haven’t heard much about this specific house but they seem to be good people. For anyone to take their time of day and hand out free things for drunk people in the street, that is a blessing. I do recall seeing this group one night hand out free hot dogs, which I kindly accepted, but I was always curious for why they did it. Your video was good, even thought you weren’t so confident, but like Dr. Collins said, way to not give up and kept going. I’ve seen strides of your work and it seems to improve every time, keep up the good work man! Also, enjoy your spring break! I am sure we are all excited to have a break from school and be home.

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