days for grown ups
By Carly Hawkins - Columnist
I think we need more days
I grew up in a house where my dad was often the principal of the school
I was attending, and let me tell you – there was no greater feeling
of joy and relief than when the phone would ring before we left for school,
because the only reason that happened was if it was going to be a snow
day and they were notifying my dad early.
With luck, it would ring before I got up in the morning, and it would
wake me. I’d sit up in bed, look out my window, and see that it
was snowing and we were getting a day off school. It’s a luxurious
feeling to snuggle back under the covers, knowing that a long day of building
snow forts, watching old movies, napping, and generally doing nothing
of consequence unexpectedly stretched ahead of me.
And I loved school, so I can’t imagine how jubilant other kids must
I think we need more of that feeling, and I think we need to spread it
to the adult population of our country.
America works hard. We put in our 40 hours a week and then some, year
in and year out. We cumulate our vacation time and our comp time. We come
in when the weather’s bad, when we’d rather be outside, and
when we’re sick. We’re stressed out, we’re in therapy,
and we don’t have time to relax, because we’re supposed to
be busy Getting Ahead. So we try to medicate things away so we can keep
going to work.
So I offer that we need to help salve the burnout by giving people some
more time to be away from their desks.
It doesn’t have to be spontaneous, like snow days were in elementary
school. There are plenty of holidays, state and federal, that could be
taken off. To celebrate, and reflect, and most importantly – sleep
Whatever the reason, I think it’s clear that Americans are in a
bad way. A survey by Northwestern National Life reported that 40% found
their jobs “very or extremely stressful.” St. Paul Fire and
Marine Insurance Co. found that “problems at work are more strongly
associated with health complaints than are any other life stressor –
more so than even financial problems or family problems.”
Just imagine how much more pleasant people might be, how much better able
to take a step back, a deep breath, and reduce the drama in their lives
by not perpetuating their stressed out state.
And for this month alone, there are so many options. I’m not lobbying
for all of these, of course – but I really believe that just one
additional holiday a month would be a bright spot for harangued employees
who burn the candle at both ends to look forward to, to work towards.
Some options for March:
1 – National Pig Day
3 – National Anthem Day
4 – National Poundcake Day
8 – Working Women’s Day
13 – National Open an Umbrella Indoors Day
22 – National Goof Off Day
23 – National Chip and Dip Day
25 – Waffle Day
So, Chancellor Ringeisen, I
appeal to you and the gods of the Banner system – as a pioneering
educational community, I think UIS should take the lead on establishing
a “one extra holiday a month” policy. A chill out day, a mental
health day, a sleep in day, an employee appreciation day. I’m negotiable
on the language.
UIS plagued by outdated parking rules
Stephanie Orr - Assistant Editor
“The mission of the UIS
Police Department is to protect and serve the community and visitors,
and provide a safe and secure environment in which academic endeavors
may thrive,” according to the University of Illinois at Springfield
Campus Police website.
Did they forget to add the part about harassing students by issuing pointless
Parking on a college campus is always going to be an issue of discontent.
Either there will be insufficient space, or sufficient space located long
distances from buildings or any number of other problems.
But at UIS we have a parking ticket problem. Our campus police force spends
a lot of time roaming the various parking lots on campus, looking for
violators and issuing them citations. But some of the tickets they issue
seem unnecessary and unfair.
For example, there is a small, metered portion of parking lot A that is
very close to the buildings. While attending a night class in the Human
Resources Building, a student received a parking ticket for being parked
at an expired meter. The story is made more fun by the fact that it was
snowing, so in order to know the meter was expired the officer would have
had to get out of his car to check. How is this an effective use of time?
And why is this still a metered lot? It would be understandable if admissions
and such were still in this area, but since most departments have been
moved to University Hall these buildings are practically deserted.
With the space available and not being regularly used by visitors any
longer, why not open it up for students and faculty who spend time in
those buildings? Why continue charging, or ticketing, people for using
a space that would otherwise be wasted? Didn’t the university pay
for the lot to be installed so that people could park in it?
Another example happened over winter break when a student left their car
in a 30-minute parking space near campus housing for a whole day. Upon
returning to the car the student found three tickets on the windshield,
all for the offense of being in 30-minute parking for more than 30 minutes.
Let’s look at this logically; it’s winter break, meaning the
campus isn’t even open. A student parks in 30-minute parking near
where they live and forgets to move their car. Over the course of the
day the campus police come by on three separate occasions to ticket this
With the campus closed for the holiday it can’t be that the space
is desperately needed.
Not to mention the fact that they felt it was necessary to issue the same
citation three times. If you ticket a vehicle for being in timed parking
for too long and you come back to find the vehicle still there with the
ticket still on the windshield, the driver obviously hasn’t been
out to the car at all. They’ve already been ticketed, why hit them
Students are already required to pay for parking decals, though it can
be argued that the UIS campus is not large enough to need them. Students
also deal with sections of campus parking being closed to them because
of Sangamon Auditorium, even though buses could certainly drop people
near the doors and park somewhere farther away. Why should they have to
be ticketed for minor infractions that cause no harm?
According to documents online the money from parking tickets is used to
maintain the parking lots on campus, but when was the last time a parking
lot was visibly maintained? Where is the money going? Why does the campus
police force insist on harassing the students they’ve vowed to protect
Moreover, why doesn’t the administration take a long hard look at
the parking policies on campus and revise the outdated or unnecessary
ones? To start administration should take the metered and 30-minute parking
spots out of parking lot A. Once that little change has been made others
should follow naturally.
Does the university need student money that badly? And have they considered
that students may not wish to donate money back to the university after
graduation if they feel they’ve been charged quite enough in hidden
fees and parking tickets?
of the feasibility of Greek life on campus
Life Committee, a subcommittee of the SGA, is charged with exploring
the potential, both negative and positive, impact of Greek letter
organizations on the UIS campus community. The following represents
the fourth in a four part series, where members of the committee examine
the pros and cons of various aspects of Greek Life. After the guest
commentaries have been presented, the committee will develop a survey
to be held concurrent with spring SGA elections, to assess the student
body's sentiments regarding Greek Life at UIS, after which the committee
will report to the SGA and campus administrators with their findings
What happens when Greek
life is brought to UIS? This is a difficult question to answer.
A university never sits
down and says, “We’re going to plan a bad infrastructure
to support Greek life.” University administrations want to
create the ideal system for Greek life. They toss around words like
“best practices” and look for models to copy. They might
glance at statistics and design educational components to address
alcohol abuse and sexual assault issues.
We can look at other
examples, statistics, and information. What happens when the “best
practices” at other universities become our worst nightmare?
What happens when our ideal infrastructure crumbles under the weight
of the problems that couldn’t be predicted?
Currently, every UIS
student organization must be open to all students. Almost half of
our student body is comprised of graduate students. Unfortunately,
many Greek organizations do not allow graduate students as members.
There is an inherent exclusivity. This poses a major problem. We
have never excluded students before. How we can add a system that
discriminates against half of our students?
UIS is unique to say
the least. There are few examples to model when assembling a Greek
system that really accounts for the wide range of students at UIS.
It will be very complicated to integrate all UIS students into a
Greek system. Perhaps a part-time commuter student wants to join
a Greek organization. The student must take part in elaborate pledging
events. Many students committed to pledging will have to choose
between a mandatory event and a child’s activity.
Our state is in the midst
of a budget crisis and it has had a direct impact on our university.
Tuition rates have been increased and will go up at least 6 percent
next fall. Where will the money come from to create a Greek system,
complete with new personnel and resources? Some current campus departments
have experienced up to 50% cuts in their operating budgets. We do
not have the money which means student activity fees will need to
increase. This fee will apply to all students- not just those who
UIS could bring Greek
organizations to our campus. The quality of Greek life will be determined
by having comprehensive infrastructures plans. Former Greek members
can’t solely create the plans. It will require input from
all students, including those against to Greek life. But we must
make sure that any Greek system fits UIS and not the other way around.
This is an exciting time
at UIS. The first group of Capital Scholars will graduate in May,
new freshmen will arrive in 2006, and a dialogue regarding Greek
organizations has been opened.
The decision to join
a Greek organization is tough. Unfortunately, UIS students do not
even have that option. One could argue that students make the decision
to not join by attending a university without Greek life. A student
selects a university based on many different factors. However, Greek
life might be important enough to dictate which school to attend.
Often, Greek life is more than a supplement to campus life- it enhances
the college experience.
Over the past weeks,
the Greek Life committee has provided commentary on various aspects
of Greek life. Intellectual development, leadership skills, and
positive relationships all play a major role in Greek organizations.
These are the positive aspects often ignored in a discussion regarding
Greek life. We must look beyond the negative to see what Greek life
can do to improve our university.
UIS has the opportunity
to make a positive, controlled addition to campus. UIS will be responsible
for researching Greek organizations. We can choose philanthropic,
social, independent, local or national chapters. We can select the
organizations that fit our student population. We do not have fall
into the stereotypical Greek system.
We have the unique chance
to build a Greek system based on other universities. We can pick
which organizations we invite to campus. We can decide how many
chapters. We can explore Greek housing. We do not have to be like
other universities- we can make Greek life fit our campus. We have
the potential to enhance campus life for all students.
Some may be concerned
about the cost. The administration and students can work together
to control that. At first, the university may call for a nominal
increase in student activity fees. The cost would fall to the students
that take advantage of Greek life. On many campuses, it is cheaper
to live in Greek housing than it is to live on or off-campus.
The next big step is
to determine student interest in Greek Life. How many students are
willing to make lifelong connections that last beyond the time at
UIS? Greek life can enhance our ever-changing campus community.
UIS has the opportunity to create a Greek system that is not only
beneficial, but also something special for future students. What
an exciting time it is at UIS.
Model Illinois Government simulation
performed well during MIG weekend
Carly Hawkins - Columnist
As featured in last week’s Journal, just under 30 UIS students
spent this past weekend downtown at the Model Illinois Government simulation.
UIS was represented in every position available at MIG: executive board,
staff, legislators, journalists, editors, budget analysts, justices, lawyers,
and lobbyists. With a wide breadth of experiences, the delegation performed
The simulation kicked off on Thursday night with opening ceremonies and
a keynote address from Tom Lamont, director of the Illinois Board of Higher
Education. He spoke of his experiences with government and bureaucracy
over the course of career, including a great story about his involvement
with drafting the legislation that eventually made it legal for Illinoisans
to turn right at a red light. Mr. Lamont also extolled the virtue of such
a simulation – not only as a learning experience for the participants
as they pattern a weekend after the real Illinois government, but also
as a chance to show what an ideal government might look like.
There were a couple of changes to this year’s simulation, compared
to the past few years. For one, the MIG Journal put out an issue on Thursday
this year, which delegates received as they checked in. The Journal also
changed its format this year and generally tried to raise the bar content-wise.
Delegates from UIS spearheaded this effort, as the UIS Journal’s
very own Heather Shaffer and Mallory Medved, as well as former Journal
editor and current SGA President Tyson Roan, served on the editorial board
for the weekend. Brad Ward, UIS junior, served as the official photographer
for the weekend. His photographs should be available soon at the inimitable
Another change was the resurrection of the Friday night full legislative
session – usually a day reserved solely for committee meetings.
The change was praised by many, and it is expected to remain a part of
UIS students also served in legislative leadership roles, from Ben Gurga
and Kyle Simpson, chair and vice-chair of the House Committee on State
and Local Government & Elections, to Carrie Bauer and Jason Kennedy,
co-chairs of the Senate Committee on Government, Labor, and Commerce.
Kennedy won best Senate Chair for the simulation.
Dan Kovats, this year’s Governor, also won the George Perry Award
for outstanding contribution to MIG. Kovats, in his fifth year at MIG,
had also served as Speaker of the House, Secretary of State, and Treasurer,
as well as in the Senate as a legislator.
As has been the case over the past several simulations, students from
UIS ran for executive board over the course of the weekend in order to
be involved with planning next year’s 28th MIG simulation. Four
UIS delegates ran for positions, and all four won their elections. Brie
Hudkins will be serving as Lieutenant Governor, Kyle Stevens as the Attorney
General, Kyle Simpson will be Comptroller, and Samantha Drews will preside
as Chief Justice of the Moot Court competition.
The strong showing of the UIS delegation as a whole lays the foundation
for yet another great year in Model Illinois Government. The increase
in participation by this year’s freshmen should offset the approximately
12 members leaving the group after this year.
Next year’s MIG simulation will run from Thursday, March 2nd through
Sunday the 5th. Students who are interested in attending should feel free
to contact any of the above listed newly elected executive board members
or visit modelillinoisgovernment.org.