Six Things to Love about USF Outside the Classroom

While the University of St. Francis offers degrees and certificates that span many disciplines, here are a few things you may love best about campus outside of the classroom!

1) Clubs, Events & Activities

With over 40 student clubs and organizations on campus, there are many ways for students to get involved! From Greek life to choral groups to deejaying on the WCSF radio station, there is something to suit every student. There are also events throughout the year, like comedians, free bowling and more, and you can always cheer on any and all of USF’s 22 sport teams at a game, meet or competition! Browse the list of available clubs, organizations and honor societies and check out the USF student life channel to learn more about USF’s upcoming student activities. Alumni can get involved in a multitude of ways, including attending fun alumni events or participating in programs such as student-alumni mentoring.

2) Classes in Historic Buildings

USF’s Plaster Center at St. Bonaventure Campus in downtown Joliet once housed the iconic Mode Theater. USF acquired the building and began offering classes there in 2014. The university worked to restore the facade to the way it looked when the the building was built in 1908, and decorated many floors with old movie posters. Around the corner stands the still-operating Rialto Square Theatre, a historic venue that opened in 1926. The theater is housed in a building that is also home to USF’s Art & Design Department, located on the third and fourth floors. The theater offers a ton of entertainment options for the city and surrounding area, hosting a variety of concerts, plays, movies and more, so it’s sure to provide inspiration and spark creativity in USF students. If anything, they can grab tickets for a great show! Across town at St. Clare Campus, you’ll find Guardian Angel Hall—an impressive brick building on a hill that was once an orphanage (and later, a social service center)—built by the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate, USF’s founders, in 1926.

3) Exhibits at the USF Art Gallery

A few doors down from the Art & Design facility on Van Buren Street in Joliet is USF’s Art Gallery. Its primary purpose is to enrich students’ educational experience by exposing them to current practices in the visual arts. The gallery features exhibits from emerging, mid-career and nationally recognized artists that are producing cutting-edge work. It’s also the home of USF’s Senior Thesis exhibit each year, as well as the annual Illinois High School Art Competition. Check out current and upcoming exhibits here.

4) The Cozy Cathedral Area

USF resides within Joliet’s quaint, historic Cathedral Area, with homes dating back to as early as 1850. During a walk around the neighborhood, you will see beautiful houses, filled with charm, and meet some of USF’s kind and courteous neighbors. You can even tour some of their homes during the Cathedral Area Preservation Association’s (CAPA) house walks, with proceeds from the events often honoring area scholarships, like USF’s very own Jonathan E. Ellis Scholarship Fund.

5) Hanging Out on the Quad

USF’s Quad is at the heart of our 24-acre main campus. It currently offers a pavilion (perfect for enjoying lunch outside), volleyball court and a fire pit. When the weather is nice, you can often find the Rec Club offering slacklining and rappelling lessons, along with setting up hammocks for students to enjoy. Tucked away on the far corner of the Quad are beehives, which are used for educational purposes, as well as to add to USF’s sustainability efforts. The Quad also features Stations of the Cross that lead up to the grotto, and a peace pole where monthly prayers are held by University Ministry. The main Quad path is paved with donor pavers, and certified Monarch Waystation gardens are right outside the Motherhouse. Check out the additional beautification efforts for the Quad that will be implemented as part of the Centennial Campaign.

6) Tasty Food on Campus

The Motherhouse alone boasts two eateries – the Bistro, a “must” for breakfast and lunch, and Bernie’s Pub, which is open for dinner. Tower Hall houses the Terrace Café, a cafeteria with buffet food stations, as well as the Snack Shop, which offers both healthy options like smoothies, and delicious, guilty pleasures. (Hello, mozzarella sticks!) On Taco Tuesdays, you can score $1 street tacos. Head over to St. Clare Campus to grab a bite at Clare’s Garden, which serves breakfast, lunch and Starbucks coffee!


Experience USF firsthand. You’ll see all these things and more by requesting a personal campus visit, attending one of our visit days, or taking a virtual tour of campus if you’re too far to come by in person. Hope to see you soon! (May 1, 2019)