The University of Iowa may top the list of the nation's top party schools but the University of Illinois' Urbana campus isn't far behind.
Illinois' flagship university comes in at No. 3 on the list that The Princeton Review released on Monday. The list is determined by a nationwide survey.
The campus' party reputation is enhanced by a single annual event, Unofficial St. Patrick's Day - or, simply, 'Unofficial.' It's when thousands converge for a day of drinking at parties and in bars. Local police ticket hundreds every year.
Students age 19 can enter bars in Champaign and age 18 in Urbana.
The organization also released its "stone-cold sober schools'' list - led again this year by Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah; and followed by Wheaton College in Wheaton.
Some encouraging news to report about this year’s Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day in Champaign-Urbana. According to The Champaign Police Department, 210 tickets were issued, which is down by a hundred compared to last year.
There were 289 arrests made and citations issued during Friday's Unofficial St. Patrick's Day celebration in Champaign-Urbana's Campustown.
Preliminary figures issued shortly before 3 A.M. Saturday morning could be revised later. But currently, they show the lowest number of citations and arrests for the unsanctioned celebration in three years, compared to 364 last year, 351 in 2010 and 269 in 2009. Authorities think Friday's rain helped put a damper on the outdoor celebrating.
107 of those cited were students at the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign. But several other college campuses were represented, including Illinois State University, Eastern Illinois University, Northern Illinois University, Southern Illinois University campuses at Carbondale and Edwardsville, the U of I's Springfield and Chicago campuses, DePaul University, the University of Notre Dame, Purdue University, the universities of Missouri, Wisconsin and Iowa, Bradley University and several community colleges. The overwhelming majority of those cited were under 21; the oldest was 30.
At least 3 of the citations resulted in arrests on state charges, with the subjects taken to the Champaign County Sheriff's Office.
Most citations were for underage drinking or public possession of alcohol. But in addition to those charges, two people were charged with fighting. And four people at an apartment on Green Street were cited for throwing dangerous objects.
University of Illinois spokesperson Jennifer Payan says preliminary figures show that 12 people required medical attention, with eight of them transported to the hospital.
Payan also said the Illinois State Liquor Commission reported citations against two Campustown bars. The Red Lion (211 East Green, Champaign) was cited for 30 violations of Happy Hour laws, while Kam's (618 E Daniel, Champaign) was cited for 14 Happy Hour violations.
In announcing plans for dealing with Unofficial St. Patrick's Day, local authorities said they would be focusing on nuisance behavior and underage drinking at private parties. Champaign Police Lieutenant Brad Yohnka said the policy of raising the entry age to 21 during Unofficial had made bars less of a concern.
Unofficial St. Patrick's Day was originally launched as a Campustown bar promotion in the 1990s, in response to times when the actual St. Patrick's Day occurred during the University of Illinois' spring break. But the event has taken on a life of its own in recent years, attracting many of out-of-town visitors.