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Throughout the Spring semester, The Observer – the UIS student news outlet – soared to new heights, engaging its readers with a dynamic array of content week after week.

Skilled student contributors treated visitors to an engaging mix of articles, features, and innovative projects on everything from fashion to sports to campus events to local attractions.

One standout addition was the captivating podcast series, "Rules of the Court," which provided a unique legal lens examining sports and athletics. Many episodes feature campus voices and influencers such as Dr. Jamarco Clark, the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs and Interim Athletics Director. Each episode provides a fresh perspective beyond the usual sports reporting.

In addition to this new podcast, the newspaper unveiled an exciting, and hopefully annual, tradition: the "Best of UIS and Beyond" contest.

This event invited students, staff, and faculty to cast their votes for the most outstanding facets of campus and local life, such as Student that Best Represents UIS Spirit, Best Off-Campus Coffee Shop, and Best Campus Feature.

The contest garnered nearly 1,500 new visitors to The Observer website in just one month and over 600 votes in the contest, with voters winning prizes from local businesses. Results have been published in the special edition of The Beyond, featuring interviews with winners, who received digital badges and award certificates.

This contest helped establish advertising connections with local businesses, including El Dorado and The Wakery who both have generously offered discounts to the UIS community. From beloved campus hangouts to hidden gems in the surrounding community, the contest celebrated the vibrant tapestry of experiences that enrich UIS.

These successes underscore The Observer’s commitment to innovation and excellence, cementing its status as an important platform for student expression and campus and community engagement.

We thank you for your continued readership, but to help ensure the continued growth of The Observer and providing students invaluable writing opportunities and experiences, we hope that you may consider a donation to the UIS Observer Newspaper Fund. Even a small contribution goes a long way in providing a uniquely engaged learning experience.