Campus dedicates new home for
By Tom Cronin
The UIS Legal Studies Department
celebrated the grand opening of the Pre-Law Center on Oct. 20
with the dedication of the center’s new home – room 363 of the
Public Affairs Center – and a Fall Forum addressing the
question, “Why law school?”
At a luncheon in the atrium on
the third floor of the PAC, faculty members, administrators and
students signed a facsimile copy of the U.S. Constitution to
formally dedicate the center. Chancellor Richard Ringeisen, who
was the first to sign the Constitution, said that the grand
opening marked a significant point in UIS history.
“I say this often, so much it’s
become a mantra, but we are becoming the best small public
liberal arts university anywhere, with high-quality professional
programs,” Ringeisen said. “And when you’re going to look at
that kind of quality, you need things like a Pre-Law Center.”
The center, according to
director Dennis Rendleman, serves three primary purposes: to
provide information to students interested in a legal career or
a law-related profession, to help students apply to law school
and prepare for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), and to
educate the campus community about legal issues.
Rendleman, an assistant
professor of legal studies, said that there has recently been an
“explosion” in the number of law-related careers that do not
involve going to law school. The Legal Studies Department
currently offers a legal assistant concentration that provides
paralegal training, and the department plans to use the center’s
resources to enhance this area of concentration, he said.
Erik Fagrelius, admission
reception for Chicago’s John Marshall Law School, said that
there are so many areas of law that students typically need to
take a few different classes before deciding on an area of
specialization, even if they already have an idea about what
they want to do.
The featured speaker at the
grand opening’s Fall Forum, Fagrelius said that he is enrolled
in a master’s degree program that specializes in information
technology and privacy law. His program was created recently in
response to the legal ramifications that have accompanied the
growth of information technology, and it is an example of a
program that many students do not consider until they enter law
school, he said.
Several of the center’s services
are designed to help students prepare for the LSAT and to guide
them as they apply to law school, Rendleman said.
“It’s sort of an activity of
asking questions, trying to encourage students to think about
these issues, along with the big question of why you want to go
to law school,” he said.
The center, according to
Rendleman, aims to help students choose from a variety of
preparatory programs for the LSAT, which include different types
of courses offered at UIS and programs offered by commercial
vendors. Bukola Bello, the center’s graduate assistant, said
that practice LSATs are provided free of charge.
To raise awareness of legal
issues in the campus community, the center sponsors public
forums, such as the John Peter Altgeld Forum, Rendleman said.
The Altgeld forum is held each spring and focuses on lawyers in
public service, he said. The center also hosts the Illinois
State Bar Association High School Mock Trial Program, which is
held annually in March.
Students can e-mail the center
firstname.lastname@example.org for information about upcoming
activities and events.
“The idea is to really have an
open door for everyone on campus and a sort of central
resource,” Rendleman said. “There really hasn’t been any type of
central resource. Just having the room and the e-mail gives a
focus, and that’s not existed before.”
Rendleman became a full-time
assistant professor this year after serving on an adjunct basis
for the university since 1985. In the summer of 2003, he was
named visiting director of the center, which was then located in
room 340 of the PAC.
UIS, LLCC implement new volunteer
By Heather Shaffer
and Lincoln Land Community College launched Springfield Cares on
Friday. It is a program that will provide access to a wide
range of volunteer opportunities around the state, LLCC
President Jack Daniels said.
According to Betty McLean, Community Service Placement
Coordinator at UIS and LLCC, Springfield Cares is an episodic
volunteer program of the Community Volunteer Center, in which
volunteer agencies from fifteen Illinois counties post their
episodic volunteer opportunities on the CVC website.
and Springfield community members can visit
www.volunteerillinois.org to find out about volunteer
opportunities around the state. McLean said that the website
gives a month-by-month calendar that runs through 2007 listing
the volunteer opportunities submitted by the different agencies.
CVC website has 170 not-for-profit organizations registered.
Each agency has its own webpage linked through the CVC website
where they can post any volunteer positions they have available,
according to McLean.
tried to make the website as simple as possible so people can
access it without any problems, she said.
CVC created its website four years ago. Out of the 15 other
volunteer centers in Illinois, it was the first to create its
own website, McLean said. She reported that in 2003, the
website had around 285,000 hits.
Before the launching of Springfield Cares, the CVC website only
posted permanent volunteer positions. Springfield Cares focuses
on episodic volunteerism, McLean said.
Sandy Robinson II, representative from Springfield Mayor Tim
Davlin’s office, said that the mayor supports Springfield Cares
because “episodic volunteerism makes sense.”
McLean said, “It is not between 8:30 and 5:00 when people are
looking for volunteer opportunities. It is usually in the
evening or on the weekends.” This website is accessible to
people all the time, she said.
Mike Boer, president of the Greater Springfield Chamber of
Commerce, said that Springfield Cares is special because many
people cannot devote two hours a week to volunteering. Some
people might be able to devote a couple hours a year and
Springfield Cares can help. “You can do a lot in two hours to
help the community,” he said.
McLean agreed. “People can give two hours a year and still
make a difference in the community.” Springfield Cares is a
simple project that can enable more people to make a difference,
Springfield Cares is an outreach program jointly sponsored by
UIS and LLCC. It was created in partnership with the United Way
of Central Illinois, The Greater Springfield Chamber of
Commerce, the city of Springfield, and the Springfield Project.
“This relationship is about building bridges in the community,”
McLean said. The project would not have gone through without
the cooperation between both schools, she said.
According to McLean, Springfield Cares is a grassroots
operation. “It is about people in the community going out into
the community to volunteer,” she said.
Daniels said that Springfield Cares is a wonderful opportunity
for the universities to partner with “organizations that give a
lot to the community.” Springfield Cares brings people together
to help them help their neighbor, he said.
“This is the kind of activity where our students will have a
chance to connect to the community,” UIS Provost Michael Cheney
According to the CVC website, the counties affected by the
Springfield project include: Bond, Cass, Christian, Dewitt,
Fayette, Greene, Logan, Macon, Macoupin, Mason, Menard,
Montgomery, Morgan, Scott and Sangamon.