Parents and Families

Welcome Parents and Families!

You are an integral partner with UIS in assisting your student in their journey from being a first-year to a graduate!  This page is meant to share information and resources that will help you parent your student along this period in their lives.  Our Parent Relations programming is young, new, and developing.  Check back regularly to see what we add.


UIS Parent & Family Newsletter

Welcome to our Parent & Family Newsletter presented by the Office of New Student Orientation & Parent Relations.  Our goal is to share what is happening on campus as well as upcoming programs for our office.

UIS Parent Family News_V1i1_Summer2016– Our inaugural publication!


Family Orientation during First-Year [Freshmen] Student Orientation

At UIS we understand both the student and their family make a transition to college – but in different ways. Our two-part, mandatory Orientation programs are most beneficial when students and parents/family members/guardians attend together. Parents and family members are an important part of a student’s life and our partner in helping them be successful at UIS.  The first part of orientation is the two-day, overnight orientations in July and July called Summer KickStart. During KickStart we have a parent/family orientation track that runs concurrently with the first-year student program to introduce you to UIS, its staff, resources, and students. The second part of orientation is the 4-day Launch Week in August (see below).

There is a mandatory Orientation Fee for students which covers some of the orientation expenses for the first-year student and up to two family members.  There will be a $25/person charge for any additional guests to cover the meal costs during orientation. Parents/Family members and guests will need to make overnight accommodations at one of our area hotels. Only students participating in the orientation program will be allowed to stay in the residence hall.

While we enjoy having siblings involved in the Orientation process, our KickStart program may not be suited for young children and toddlers. From our experience the younger children get bored. They might have a better time at home with family members or friends and among their favorite playthings.

Family Information for [Freshmen] Launch Week 2016:  August 17-20

Our second part of the mandatory orientation for first-year [freshmen] students begins about 5 days before classes begin.  First-year students living on campus will be allowed to move into housing on Wednesday, August 17 and Commuter Students have a mandatory meeting on Wednesday afternoon (Commuter students should expect to be on campus from 3-9 Wednesday, 9:30-3:30 Thursday, 9:30-3:30 Friday, and 9:30-12 Saturday. This is part of their FYS or CAP 102 course requirements so students should submit a request for time off of work accordingly.

Whether you are moving your student into on-campus housing or your student is commuting to campus, parents/family members you are invited to:

  • the Prairie Star Family Association Social at 4 p.m. (FREE)
  • the New Student and Family Welcome BBQ at 5 p.m. (FREE)
  • the New Student and Family Convocation with guest speaker Fran Kick at 6:15 p.m. (FREE)
  • and saying Good-bye to your student during Hugs & Kisses Goodbye from 7:30-7:55 p.m.

Family members are welcome to return home after the Hugs & Kisses Goodbye, your student will continue their Launch Week programming at 8 p.m. that night.

The Illinois State Fair will be August 11-21 this year.  If you need to make overnight accommodations to break up your travel when moving your student to campus you may want to make those reservations now – hotels will fill up fast. Fair traffic will also slow down interstate traffic in and around Springfield, so take this into consideration when planning your student’s move to campus.

Prairie Stars Family Association (PSFA)

The Prairie Stars Family Association (PSFA) was founded in the Fall of 2015 to support UIS parents, guardians, and family members by promoting shared experiences among UIS family members and help them feel more connected to UIS and their students.

PSFA members will work closely with the Office of New Student Orientation and Parent Relations (NSOPR) to meet these goals by assisting with the planning and coordination of events sponsored by the Office of New Student Orientation & Parent Relations including Family Weekend, parent panels during summer orientation, and socials before the Welcome BBQ at the beginning of Launch Week (August Orientation).

Membership in the Prairie Stars Family Association is FREE to the parents, legal guardians, and family members of currently enrolled UIS students. To join PSFA as a general member complete this online form or email the Office of New Student Orientation and Parent Relations at

2015-2016 PSFA Executive Board 

President: vacant
Interim President and Vice President: Angela Kneer
Secretary: Angela Gipson
Treasurer: Ellin Lotspiech

The annual meeting for the PSFA is held in October during Family Weekend and is open to all parents, legal guardians, and family members.  Executive Board elections will be held each October at the annual meeting. Like the PSFA Facebook page to connect with other parent and family members.

PSFA Constitution and Bylaws version September 2015 (pdf)


UIS Parents – Facebook Groups

The Office of New Student Orientation & Parent Relations (NSOPR) has a Facebook group where you can see reminders about upcoming NSOPR programming.  The Prairie Stars Family Association also has a Facebook group for parents to stay up-to-date with information about association activities.


Family Weekend 2016Welcome to Family Weekend 2014

Each October we invite our parents and family members to come back to campus for a visit. Family Weekend 2015 took place  Saturday, October 17-Sunday, October 18, 2015. We had over 40 families participate in Family Weekend and enjoy our Amazing Race and Family Feud Competitions, the Carnival games, and game night.  Family Weekend 2016 will be…Saturday, October 8 and Sunday, October 9.  Start making plans today!

Visiting Your Student During the Semester?

Visit our Travel & Accommodations page to see discounts offered by local hotels.  If you are interested in doing things with your family in Springfield, visit the Convention & Visitor’s Bureau for their guidebook and calendar of events.