Lucky for him, New Cities Foundation senior fellow Greg Lindsay attended Illinois during the dawn of the mainstream Internet era — fall 1995 through summer 1999.
“I voluntarily spent three years living in the cinder-block dorms of the Florida Avenue Residence Halls and Illinois Street Residence Halls, not because I enjoyed the ambience or the food — I actually lost 50 pounds my freshman year — but for one reason and one reason alone: a T1 internet connection.
“While everyone else was dialing into America Online using a modem, we were the first to discover the internet with a broadband connection. This was still years before WiFi, of course, not to mention affordable laptops or smartphones, so we spent years welded to our dorm desktops surfing the web, playing online games, downloading music and otherwise sampling the future.
“Today, those cinder block rooms would feel like a prison to me. But back then, they were a cocoon.”