CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — There’s a new rivalry in Champaign County: the City of Champaign vs. the City of Urbana.
Visit Champaign County has rolled out a fun competition to end the year and it is centered around a 100-year-old question: should the twin cities be collectively referred to as “Champaign-Urbana” or “Urbana-Champaign?”
“We get this question at least once a week,” says Terri Reifsteck, Vice President of Marketing & Community Engagement for Visit Champaign County. “There seems to be a divide based on whom you ask, so we thought a t-shirt might serve as an informal poll on what the community thinks.”
As a part of their “Chambana Proud” line, Visit Champaign County created t-shirts that announce the wearer’s choice. The t-shirts are nearly identical, but one says “Team Champaign-Urbana” and the other says “Team Urbana-Champaign.” Shirt artist Ralph Roether also made sure to include a reference to Wright Street, the University of Illinois street that serves as the cities’ border.
The competition is simply which t-shirt sells more by the end of the year. Mayors Deborah Feinen and Diane Marlin will be competing for a trophy while proceeds from the shirt sales go to the Champaign County History Museum.
“We’re looking at this as a friendly competition and a way to bolster community pride,” said Carly McCrory-McKay, Executive Director of the Champaign County Economic Development Corporation.
McCrory-McKay added that the idea for the competition was born during the summer after frequent questions on the matter at a “New to CU Mixer” event.
“There’s always a general curiosity from newcomers about the name and history, so Terri and I thought we’d turn this into a fun competition that allows community members to weigh in, raises funds for an important organization, and, most importantly, highlights our spirit of collaboration,” McCrory-McKay said.
Reifsteck offered a prediction on what she thinks will happen:
“I think we will see a lot of people from the university coming and getting them because it’s University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. But you also have a lot of people that live in Champaign that are like, ‘No, it’s Champaign-Urbana,'” Reifsteck said. “So, it’s really going to kind of see what the community is feeling and gauge that temperature.”
Shirts can be purchased at ChambanaProud.com.