Thursday, February 18, 2010

UIS announces fall semester 2009 Deans' List

A total of 455 students have been named to the University of Illinois Springfield Deans’ List for the 2009 fall semester; 80 are students in the college of Business and Management, 68 are students in the College of Education and Human Services, 256 are enrolled in programs in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, 40 are enrolled in programs in the College of Public Affairs and Administration, and 11 are non-degree or undecided.

To qualify for the designation, a student must be an undergraduate who took at least eight graded semester hours and maintained a grade-point average of at least 3.75 for the semester.

The list is organized alphabetically by hometown.

Download a PDF of the Fall 2009 Deans' List:
Deans' List Release Fall09.pdf

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Despite storms, UIS freshmen move-in goes smoothly

By Courtney Westlake

The new freshmen class at UIS braved the storms and tornado sirens on Wednesday, August 19, as they loaded up all of their suitcases, computers and other personal items from their cars and carried everything in to their new rooms in the two campus residence halls during move-in day at UIS.

"In the 29 years of openings that I've been involved with in campus housing, this is the first year that we've operated under a tornado warning, so that's added a new wrinkle to the organized chaos," laughed John Ringle, director of UIS Housing. "I think it went fairly smoothly, all things considered."

When the campus notification came through from the campus police that there was a tornado warning in the mid-afternoon and the sirens began to sound, the housing department moved in all of the students, their parents, and campus volunteers who were helping outdoors and made sure they were under cover, Ringle said.

"It's not something we plan for, but we had contingency plan that went into effect virtually flawlessly," Ringle said.

Ringle noted that UIS is likely to surpass the 1,100 number of on-campus students, which the university has never reached before.

"In fact, last year we cracked the 1,000 barrier," he said. "I think we've got more students living on campus, and we also have more transfer students and graduate students. I always like to be 100 percent occupied, or even 101 percent to be on safe side, but I think we'll be in the high 90s."

Move-in day for the freshmen class is always a team effort from many people on campus, Ringle said.

"I want to thank the groups we had helping - all of the volunteers -and it's been a great opportunity for them to network and meet some of the new students as well," he said.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Children at Cox collect school supplies for local district

By Courtney Westlake

A small group of children from the Cox Children's Center enjoyed the outdoors on Wednesday morning, July 29, as they read books and sang songs by the Colonnade. But, more importantly, the kids greeted and thanked several staff and faculty members who stopped by to donate school supplies that the kids were collecting in a big green wagon to give to local schools.

"We're collecting school supplies for the kids that need them," explained five-year-old Ryan. Some supplies collected included "paper, glue, pencils, colored pencils, markers, crayons," Ryan said.

Ryan and classmate Blake agreed that it feels good to help out other children and share supplies they collect.

"We need to give other kids stuff so they can go to school," Blake said.

The Cox Children's Center on UIS' campus - which cares for infants through children age five during the school year, and through age 14 during the summer - does a few service projects every year to stay involved with the local community, said Stacey Gilmore, director of the center.

"We want to help kids understand why it's important, at an early age, to get involved with the community and help others who might need our help," she said. "This is something kids can relate to. They're fortunate enough that they can go to school and have the supplies they need to succeed. It's our goal is to help others get that same early start."

Children of UIS students attend school in the Ball Chatham district, so the school supplies collected at the Cox Center will be donated to that school district, Gilmore said.

"It's important for us to help those families," she said.

On Wednesday, some of the children at Cox gathered at the Colonnade to make it convenient for anyone wanting to donate to bring supplies out to the kids, but the Children's Center will also be collecting supplies at the center until August 4. Collection boxes are set up in each classroom of the facility.

Some supplies that are needed include: #2 pencils, 24-count crayons, backpacks, red pens, large erasers, Fiskar-brand scissors, folders with pockets, 3X5 lined index cards, yellow highlighters, rulers, tissues, compasses, 3-subject spiral notebooks, pen/pencil carrying cases, Scotch tape and much more. For a complete list, contact the Cox Children's Center.

Gilmore said they are extremely proud of the children's efforts at Cox to help collect supplies to donate.

"A lot of these families are not very well off themselves, but it's amazing to me that they still will make it a point to bring in something, even if it's just a box of crayons, to help their children understand that this is important," she said. "So we are proud that they take that responsibility on."

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

UIS announces new vice chancellor for student affairs

The University of Illinois at Springfield has announced the appointment of Timothy L. Barnett as the new Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. His appointment is effective July 1.

Dr. Barnett is currently Vice Chancellor for Student and Enrollment Services at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, where he has worked since 2003. In that position, he implemented a recruiting and retention program that resulted in a 17% increase in freshmen applications and a 5% increase in student retention in the past two years. He established a university-wide enrollment management plan, and planned and implemented a division-wide Staff Development Program.

“Dr. Barnett believes that UIS has a strong understanding of what a small university can provide to its students,” said UIS Chancellor Richard Ringeisen. “He brings to this university an impressive breadth of experience in student affairs and enrollment management that will serve our student affairs division and entire university well.”

From 2003-05, Dr. Barnett served as Dean of Students at UAF, during which time he developed a Student Leadership Program resulting in a 100% increase in student participation in clubs and organizations. He also implemented an early warning system to identify and provide assistance to students experiencing difficulty adjusting to college academics, doubled education programs on alcohol and drug abuse, and developed educational sessions on sexual harassment, assault, and abuse.

Other positions in which Dr. Barnett has served are Vice President for Student Affairs at Northern State University, Aberdeen, South Dakota, from 1999-2003; Director of Danna Center and Student Activities at Loyola University, New Orleans, from 1992-1999; and Associate Dean of Students at Biola University, LaMirada, California, from 1987-1991.

He earned a Ph.D. in Education and Business with a focus on Strategic Planning from Claremont Graduate University; M.A. in Student Development from Azusa Pacific University; and B.A. in Psychology from the University of Nebraska.

UIS’ Division of Student Affairs is comprised of the Career Development Center, Center for First Year Students, Counseling Center, Cox Children Center, Disability Services, Diversity Center, Enrollment Management, Financial Assistance, Food Service, Health Services, Housing & Residential Life, International Student Services, LGBTQ Resource Office, Recreational Sports, Student Life, Center for Student Volunteers & Civic Engagement, The Journal newspaper, and the Women’s Center.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

UIS expands student exchange programs with four new universities

The University of Illinois at Springfield has signed four new agreements with universities outside of the United States to expand its offerings and study abroad opportunities for students, staff and faculty.

UIS has signed a general affiliation agreement with the Universidade Estadual De Maringa (UEM), a state university in the State of Parana, Brazil. The agreement sets the stage for the development of student, staff and faculty exchange programs, collaborative research and team teaching. Faculty members from each university have already made visits to the other’s campus, and this June, Dr. Mike Lemke, professor of biology, and UIS student Rene Debelak will be visiting UEM for microbiological study of the Parana River.

UIS has expanded its cooperative endeavors with Heilongjiang University (HU) in Harbin, China. For more than 10 years, UIS and HU have been exchanging faculty, and with the new exchange agreement, the universities will now begin to exchange students.

The exchange is structured so that UIS students may study at HU for a semester, a full academic year or for part of or all of a summer term at HU. It is anticipated that UIS will offer a summer program in Chinese language and culture at HU during the summer of 2010.

UIS has also established a student exchange program with the University of Hull in East Yorkshire, England. Up to four students per year from each university will be able to study on the other’s campus while paying their home tuition. Students may study for a semester or for the full academic year.

Finally, UIS’ exchange program with the University of Colima in Mexico has been expanded to include an online component. Students from both campuses will be able to enroll in select courses in Political Science starting in the fall of 2009. Courses at the University of Colima will focus on the politics of Mexico, both domestic and international. Students will pay tuition and fees to their home campus.

These new programs complement the existing exchange programs UIS has already established with Saitama University in Japan, and Murdoch and Charles Darwin universities in Australia. UIS is also exploring opportunities in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Dalian and Hangzhou, China and La Plata, Argentina. In addition, short-term programs for the summer of 2010 are being planned for Japan, Mexico, Poland, China and the Netherlands.

For more information on these new programs and on all UIS study abroad programs, contact the Office of International Programs at 217/206-8319 or email

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Women's Center hosts annual Spring Reception

By Courtney Westlake

The annual Women's Center Spring Reception was held on Wednesday afternoon, April 29, in the Public Afffairs Center Restaurant.

"Traditions like this are very meaningful to us," said Lynn Otterson, director of the Women's Center. "This has been a huge year of transition and transformation for the Women's Center. We moved to a wonderful, bigger space in the Student Life Building, and we are now part of the Diversity Center."

Announced during the reception were the recipients of two major Women's Center awards: the 12th Naomi B. Lynn Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Environment for Women at UIS and the 5th Women’s Issues Caucus Student Activism Award.

Nominees for the Naomi B. Lynn Award included Pat Langley, Hazel Rozema and Liz Murphy Thomas. The Women’s Issues Caucus Student Activism Award nominee was Renee Rathjen.

Langley was the winner of the Naomi B. Lynn Award. Several students stood up to recognize the impact Langley has had on their lives through her teaching and mentoring. Veronica Espina, a Spanish instructor at UIS, also spoke highly of Langley's impact, citing her work on important and meaningful issues on campus over the past few decades.

Langley expressed her gratitude for the honor.

"One of the things I love about this place and have always loved is working with my colleagues," she said. "There are people who aren't here anymore who helped me get where I am today, who helped me with all kinds of things. And I do that for people today because people did that for me."

Rathjen received the Student Activism Award. In her career at UIS, she has been involved in Queer-Straight Student Alliance, the LGTBQ Resource Center, a resident advisor, College Democrats and much more.

"Renee has advocated for the welfare of students and the right of everyone, regardless of gender, to be treated equally," said Candi Clouse, a UIS alum and the first Student Activism Award recipient who presented the award. "Because of her work, the future of UIS looks brighter every day. Her work has been described as powerful, breath-taking and selfless."

Rathjen acknowledged that UIS has been like a "testing ground" for her for social change.

"It is truly an honor to receive this award in front of all of you who have played a role in shaping me," she said. "The lessons, memories and relationships I will take with me have been invaluable."

Naomi B. Lynn, former UIS chancellor, was present during the event and commended the Women's Center for its work, as well as the efforts and dedication of the nominees.

In honor of the recipients of the Naomi B. Lynn Award, each year something is added to the Women's Center Peace and Friendship Garden, which was built in 1997. The garden, located by the UIS Pond, now contains features such as chimes, a bench, birdhouse and more. For the 2008 and 2009 recipients, a stone path has been started with the winners' names engraved on a new stone each year.

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Friday, April 24, 2009

Good as Gold Ceremony recognizes volunteer efforts in community

In honor of National Volunteer Week (April 19-25), the University of Illinois at Springfield and the Junior League of Springfield hosted the Springfield Good as Gold Ceremony, a recognition event to acknowledge community members and organizations for their volunteer efforts.

The ceremony took place on Thursday evening, April 23, in the lobby of the Public Affairs Center on the UIS campus. More than 50 people were recognized during the event for their achievements and efforts.

UIS honored one staff member and one student who have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to service and volunteerism with the UIS Star Staff and UIS Star Student awards. Craig Pelka, a senior at UIS, was the recipient of the UIS Star Student Award. Mary Caroline Mitchell, associate director of the UIS Alumni Office, received the UIS Star Staff Award.

UIS students were also recognized for their involvement in many volunteer projects over the past year, including involvement in the Americorps program and mentoring at Jefferson Middle School and Harvard Park Elementary School. The students were honored with Outstanding Community Service Awards.

The Junior League recognized Allie Beams, a local junior high school student, with their Outstanding Community Service Award.

Jack Flesner, a second-grader at Our Savior’s Lutheran, was the recipient of the Youth Volunteer Award.

The Graham Elementary School Lunch Bunch Mentoring Group was honored with the Organization Agent of Service Award. Members of the group include Daniel Cadigan, Darrell Clark, Andre Jordan, Leroy Jordan, Melvin Jordan, Jonathan Lackland and Edward Pinn.

Five nominees for the Distinguished Volunteer Award were acknowledged during the event with a short presentation. The nominees included Jennifer Allender, Richard Corkery, Kenneth Page, Shana Stine and John Woods.

The winner of the Distinguished Volunteer Award was John Woods, for his work with Camp Care-a-Lot, a summer camp for children ages six to 10.

Forty-four local volunteers were also honored with the Heart of Gold Award. Recipients included:
Randi Alexander, Thomas Armstead, Eloise Baird, Elizabeth Bishop, Floyd and Bobbi Blackard, Mervin Brennan, Jodie Brubaker, Lisa Brunson, Daniel Cadigan, Latosha Caldwell, Dennis and Sharon Chrans, Laura Coffey, Karen Finney, Samuel Finney, Lynn Handy, Jeanne Harris, Jeanne Harvill, Helen Healy, Gloria Henkle, Michael and Barbara Hickey, Michelle Higginbotham, Linda Hinds, Alia Hollenbeck, Tricia Hopkins-Price, Jennifer Isringhausen, Howard Kang, Mary Lawrick, Dannyl Madura, Coleton Meseke, Jill Meseke, Sister Josine Mondloch, Bailie Parfitt, Helen Peters, Joseph Richiusa, Amanda Roberts, Therese Romanelli, Diamond Ross, Steve Roth, Donna Schechter, Noel Scott, Chad Underwood, Debbie Waters, Patricia Wilken and Patricia Wright.

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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

UIS celebrates Health Awareness Day

The University of Illinois’ Masters in Public Health Student Association and Campus Health Services held the 11th annual Health Awareness Day on Wednesday, April 8, to educate the campus and Springfield community about positive health practices.

Representatives from area organizations like the local hospitals and the Sangamon County Department of Public Health were on hand to provide health screenings for cholesterol, blood pressure, bone density and more, as well as staff from UIS' Recreation and Athletic

Keynote speaker Dr. John K. Lee, a first-year resident in Family Medicine at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, kicked off the day with his program titled “The secret of supplements: do they really work?”

Lee touched on several popular supplements, including amino acids, anabolic steroids, caffeine and more, and discussed effects of the supplements on athletic performance and on the body itself.

"There are a large number of Americans using supplements, and it's a huge business," he said. "But you have to be careful when you're buying them about what they claim. There are no regulations with supplements like there are with medications, so you should take them with a grain of salt and take into consideration the benefits opposed to the adverse effects."

One example he gave was ephedrine, which is used commonly in products like Hydroxycut touted for muscle gain and fat loss, but also many other products.

"It's really important when looking at all of these supplements to read the labels," Lee said. "A lot of supplements are being sold over and over again under different product names."

UIS’ Health Awareness Day is held in coordination with National Public Health Week, which is organized by the American Public Health Association. The theme of this year’s National Public Health Week is “Building the Foundation for a Healthy America.”

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Students give time over Spring Break to assist hurricane victims in Louisiana

By Courtney Westlake

Students with UIS’ Alternative Spring Break and Habitat for Humanity student organizations spent their spring breaks not only soaking up the sun in the south but also assisting Hurricane Katrina victims.

Twenty-four students and two supervisors made the trip to Mandeville, Louisiana to build homes in the southeast Louisiana area.

“We wanted to give back to them since they have been the area of the state that was really affected,” said Jaleesa Earthely, treasurer of the Alternative Spring Break organization. “We wanted to help them get back on their feet.”

“And we wanted to go somewhere hot,” she laughed.

Mandeville is about 30 to 40 minutes outside of New Orleans, and the population has greatly increased since Katrina as New Orleans residents moved more north, said Zach Berillo, another student on the trip.

The UIS group teamed up with a group of students from Wisconsin to work in a section called Carterville, which is an area of Habitat houses.

“We worked on three houses; the framework was already down, and we got to build up the structure,” Berillo said. “And later on, we got to look at some other Habitat houses whose structures were already up, and they were putting up drywall.”

Last year, Berillo accompanied the UIS Habitat for Humanity organization to Sioux Falls, South Dakota and said he enjoyed working outside this year in the nicer weather.

“It felt good because this year we got to be outside building, and I felt like we got to accomplish more,” he said. “We could definitely see how far we came through the building.”

This was the first trip planned by Alternative Spring Break at UIS and the group hopes to continue volunteering over Spring Break in the years to come. The first year was a great experience, Earthely said.

“Hopefully we’ll do it next year and probably go somewhere different,” she said. “The people were very friendly in Louisiana. They knew what we were coming down for, and they said ‘thank you so much’ and were really appreciative.”

Berillo encouraged other individuals or groups to consider helping out in the area affected by Hurricane Katrina.

“It was several years ago, and people don’t think about it as much anymore, but they still need a lot of help down there with rebuilding the areas,” he said.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

UIS announces Fall 2008 Deans' List

A total of 471 students were selected for the Deans’ List for the 2008 fall semester. 78 are students in the College of Business and Management, 70 are students in the College of Education and Human Services, 282 are enrolled in programs in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, 34 are enrolled in programs in the College of Public Affairs and Administration, and 7 are non-degree or undecided.

To qualify for the designation, a student must be an undergraduate who took at least eight graded semester hours and maintained a grade-point average of at least 3.75 for the semester.

Download a PDF of the Fall 2008 Deans' List:

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Diversity Center receives award from SCCF for book fund

The Sangamon County Community Foundation has awarded a grant to the University of Illinois at Springfield’s Diversity Center to establish a UIS Book Fund for first-generation students from Sangamon County.

The book fund will provide funds up to $350 for textbooks for first-generation students from Sangamon County. To be eligible for the award, students must be incoming freshmen and demonstrate financial need. The fund will go into effect in July, and students must apply for the award through the Diversity Center. The center is currently seeking donors to add to the fund.

“The UIS Diversity Center is dedicated to help first-generation students to stay in school, achieve their dreams, and becoming contributing professionals following graduation,” said Dr. Clarice Ford, director of the Diversity Center. “The high cost of books should not defer a dream for our students at UIS. This grant from the Sangamon County community Foundation allows us to make a difference between a student staying in college or having to drop out.”

The UIS Diversity Center was established in 2008 with the goal of fostering a supportive environment for students to develop an understanding of differences through educational, cultural and social programming activities and to assist in the recruitment, transition and retention of ethnic minority and underrepresented students at UIS. The Diversity Center promotes intercultural dialogue and other initiatives to create a campus climate that welcomes diversity and eliminates intolerance and stereotyping.

The Sangamon County Community Foundation is a county-wide charity with the mission of building permanent endowments as charitable capital for the local community. The Foundation also promotes effective grant-making to serve both the current and future needs of the greater Springfield area.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

UIS receives national honor for service-learning and civic engagement

The University of Illinois at Springfield has been placed on the 2008 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for exemplary service efforts to the local community. The honor was announced Monday by the Corporation for National and Community Service.

“This high honor is evidence that UIS is succeeding in its efforts to make community service a priority,” said UIS Chancellor Richard Ringeisen. “We at UIS believe that our students gain a greater sense of responsibility when they serve the community as part of their education.”

Launched in 2006, the Community Service Honor Roll is the highest federal recognition a school can achieve for its commitment to service-learning and civic engagement. UIS was selected because of the scope and innovation of its service projects, percentage of student participation in service activities, incentives for service, and academic service-learning courses.

UIS student service projects include the Girl to Girl DreamSpeakers Program in which UIS female athletes serve as mentors to about 120 female students in grades 8 through 10 in the Springfield public schools. A mentoring program with Jefferson Middle School matches 20 UIS students with about 30 middle school students, and a service project that involves storm drain stenciling raises environmental awareness of what not to dump in storm drains.

“We don’t just pay lip service to community service, we strongly encourage service to others,” said Kelly Thompson, director of UIS’ Center for Volunteer and Civic Engagement. “Right here on campus we have a unique housing arrangement called the living-learning community in Lincoln Residence Hall. During 2008, those students who live on that wing served our local community through about 950 hours of service,” she said.

Thompson also noted that 2,400 hours of service were carried out in the community last year by UIS students involved in the Midwest Campus Compact Citizen-Scholar Fellows AmeriCorps Program. UIS is one of only seven universities in the state that participates in the AmeriCorps Education Award Program.

Other projects are the annual UIS Cares day during which students volunteer their time to bettering the community. Last year, students and several staff members spent time at Jefferson Middle School pulling weeds, planting flowers and taking part in other beautification efforts. UIS also sponsors the annual campus-wide Holiday Stars Project during which students, faculty, staff and community members donated several thousand pounds of canned goods to the Central Illinois Food Bank last year.

UIS also offers service-learning courses that combine academic learning and community service at the undergraduate level. Students earn college credit while providing community service to local non-profit agencies.

The Honor Roll is a program of the Corporation, in collaboration with the Department of Education, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation.

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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

UIS partners with Bonner Leader's Program

The University of Illinois at Springfield has been chosen to partner with the Bonner Foundation to offer service-based scholarships through the Bonner Leader's Program. UIS is the first campus in the state of Illinois to engage in partnership with the Bonner Foundation.

The UIS Bonner Leader's Program will select up to eight students who attain unconditional admission to UIS for scholarships through the program. To be chosen, students must submit an application to the UIS Diversity Center, demonstrate an interest in community service, apply for need-based financial assistance through the UIS Office of Financial Assistance, and represent diversity.

"The UIS Bonner Leader's Program promotes the development of student leaders while advancing active and engaged learning by connecting students with community service opportunities," said Dr. Clarice Ford, executive director of the Diversity Center.

Students are eligible to receive up to $4,000 annually for tuition and education expenses such as books, living expenses, and fees. Bonner Leaders are also encouraged to enroll in a two-year term with the Bonner AmeriCorps program and complete 900 hours of service during that time period. Upon successful completion of the term of service, the students will receive the AmeriCorps Education Award from the National Service Trust, which can be used to repay student loans, pay current educational expenses, or pay for future education at an institution of higher learning.

"It is an honor for UIS to be selected as one of the Bonner Foundation's partners," said Dr. Marya Leatherwood, interim assistant chancellor and associate vice chancellor for Student Affairs at UIS. "The Bonner Leader's Program is an excellent fit with UIS' vision for enriching individual lives and making a difference in the world."

The Bonner Foundation is based in Princeton, New Jersey. Its purpose includes supporting college students to use their energy, talent, and leadership to engage in local communities. The program goals are focused on the student, the campus, and the community.

The Bonner Leader's Program is an outgrowth of the Bonner Scholars Program that began in 1990. Currently the Bonner Leader's Program exists at 49 campuses in 22 states.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

UIS learns about "spreading the peanut butter thin" at Hunger Banquet

By Courtney Westlake

Students, staff and community members got a small taste of what it is like to "spread the peanut butter thin" on Tuesday evening, November 18.

UIS hosted its third annual Oxfam Hunger Banquet in the Great Room of Lincoln Residence Hall on Tuesday. The event is held in observance of National Hunger and Homelessness Week.

The theme of the Hunger Banquet this year was "Spreading the Peanut Butter Thin," based on the book Spread the Peanut Butter Thin by Central Illinois author Leah Riley, who spoke at the banquet. Riley shared her family's story from a time just a few years ago when their annual household income was around $13,000, and she and her husband could barely afford to feed their children.

The family managed to keep their house, keep their lights on and keep their phone, in order to look for a better job. But they were denied food stamps originally and spent between $25-$50 each month on food for the family of four.

After Riley's husband became eligible to receive social security disability income, the family is now "OK," Riley said.

"Our three basic things that we lacked were water, food and heat," Riley said. "Water was a desperate necessity; you can't cook anything without water, so you might have food, but you can't cook it without water. And we couldn't buy food; we had no money."

"Four years later, we've never slid back, but we found we don't need what we thought we needed to live," she added.

During a Hunger Banquet, guests are randomly assigned high-, middle-, or low-income rankings and are served meals that range from gourmet fare to small portions of rice and water, depending on the guest’s designation. Instead of rice this year, however, guests were served peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, to keep with the theme of the event.

Donations of non-perishable food and canned goods were accepted for the 2008 Holidays Stars Project, a campus-wide holiday service initiative benefiting the Central Illinois Foodbank.

Oxfam America, an affiliate of Oxfam International, is a relief and development organization that works to create lasting solutions to poverty, hunger and injustice. "Oxfam" was the original postal abbreviation for the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief, which was started in England during World War II to provide relief to war victims in Europe.

The purpose is of the Oxfam Hunger Banquet is to heighten participants’ awareness of hunger in the U.S. and internationally.

"We are here today because more than one billion Americans and other people around the world suffer from hunger every day," said Lenore Cole, who helped to organize the event. "Almost 37 million Americans live in poverty. Equality and balance do not exist; stark inequalities prevail everywhere."

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Monday, November 03, 2008

Holiday Stars Project original goal surpassed

The 10 teams that took part in the campus' first Trick or Treat for Canned Goods competition on Halloween collected 2049 pounds of food, surpassing the original Holiday Stars Project goal of 2008 pounds of food for the Central Illinois Foodbank.

Sponsored by Volunteer and Civic Engagement Center, the Holiday Stars Project is a campus-wide service initiative giving focus to UIS' efforts to make a difference in the local community during the upcoming holiday season.

Kelly Thompson, director of the Volunteer and Civic Engagement Center, said, "Given the students' enthusiasm and energy for this project and the wonderful response they received, the Project Committee challenges the campus community to help us double our first goal and collect 4016 pounds of food by December 4."

Members of the campus community can place donations of non-perishable food items in specially marked bins around campus, now through December 3. Everything collected during the project will be presented to the Foodbank on December 4.

For more information, contact the Volunteer and Civic Engagement Center at 6-7716.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

AmeriCorps volunteers participate in Opening Day Ceremonies

By Courtney Westlake

A group of sixteen UIS students joined dozens of people from around the state at the Prairie Capital Convention Center in downtown Springfield to participate in the Illinois AmeriCorps Opening Day Ceremonies at the Capitol and celebrate the opportunity to make a difference.

"Today has been really amazing," said UIS sophomore Josephine Marquez, an AmeriCorps member. "I have seen people from all the way back home in the Chicago area."

The 2008-2009 Midwest Campus Compact Citizen-Scholar Fellows AmeriCorps Program is an initiative that creates opportunities for students to work together as agents of civic change in their local communities and on their campuses. UIS is one of only seven universities in the state that participates in this AmeriCorps Education Award program.

Students selected to be in the AmeriCorps program have demonstrated academic potential as well as an interest in service and civic engagement activities.

"I love volunteering; I started in high school," said Jackson Kern, a freshman. "When I got to UIS, I found out I could get a grant for $1,000 for being in AmeriCorps and doing 300 hours of service. It's well worth it; you get to meet a lot of new people."

Marquez said she has been volunteering for years as well and jumped at the chance to live in the Leadership for Life wing in Lincoln Residence Hall and volunteer through AmeriCorps.

"When applying for college, UIS had a service wing, and to me, I thought it was a great idea to be living with people who did service," she said. "This year, Kelly Thompson (director of the Volunteer and Civic Engagement Center) has come in and revamped everything. I figured it'd be great to be with people who love to do service."

The UIS students who participated in Thursday's events were thrilled with the opportunity to meet others in the AmeriCorps program and participate in the Opening Day Ceremonies.

"I find it amazing that you can find so many people who are also interested in service and are doing something to impact their community," Marquez said.

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Monday, October 06, 2008

Flag raised for National Coming Out Week

By Courtney Westlake

In celebration of National Coming Out Week, a group of students, staff and faculty gathered in front of the Public Affairs Center to raise a rainbow-colored flag that will hang directly under the UIS flag for the entire week.

"Flags are critical symbols," said Jim Korte, assistant dean of students at UIS. "People fight and die over flags; people live for flags. We salute them, we put our hands over our hearts, and we respect what they symbolize. For those of us at the university, having it fly on the staff with our UIS flag is very important. It is a symbol of how far we have come institutionally and as a university in our acceptance, tolerance, respect and celebration of who we are as a community."

Universities are important communities, Korte said, UIS boasts a "great multitude" of diverse students.

"We've come a long way," he said. "We now have a Diversity Center existing on this campus that was barely a dream a year ago. We have a resource office that is in a very public area on our campus, and we have students stopping by on a daily basis."

Through celebrating diversity and respect of different races, sexual orientations, ethnicities and backgrounds, the university and community are beginning to "layer" their resources and ensure the services provided today will be available tomorrow, Korte said.

"We have come to the point of tolerance, the point of acceptance and the point of respect, and hopefully today it is the beginning of a celebration of our future," he said.

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Potato sculpting held as part of homecoming activities

By Courtney Westlake

Castles, construction hammers and flowers filled the tables of the Public Affairs Center Food Emporium Patio on Wednesday afternoon.

Students and other campus community members stopped by the patio area on Wednesday to create mashed potato sculptures as part of the Homecoming Week activities.

"It's just a fun activity to add into the Homecoming schedule," said Beth Hoag, assistant director of Student Life. "Our theme for Homecoming this year is 'Pardon our Dust' so we're 'constructing' out of mashed potatoes."

The idea for the event came out of nowhere, Hoag laughed.

"I just thought it would be fun, and who doesn't love playing with their food?" she said.

Campus members were recruited from the Food Emporium to join in the activity during lunchtime.

"We've had pretty good showing," Hoag said. "We have feathers and wobbly eyes and food coloring, and you can just make whatever you want. We try to make it around the theme of 'Pardon our Dust' or UIS-related, but we're flexible. You can make whatever you want."

Participants constructed a wide variety of creations, from a pretty rose to a pumpkin to funny-looking characters to a Colonnade.

"It's something completely different that helps to make people aware of Homecoming," Hoag said. "It's a fun things to do in between classes."

For more information on Homecoming, go here.

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Friday, September 19, 2008

SGA election results

The Fall 2008 Student Government Association Elections were certified on September 19.


  • Senator – Capital Scholars Program: Kendra Chislom
  • Senator – Transfer Students: Whitney Kampwerth
  • Senator – Graduate Students: Sista Gautham
  • Senators at Large: Kalpesh Patel and Vanessa Sekardi

Many other leadership opportunities exist on SGA committees and all interested student are encouraged to become involved.

For information about election results or about student government, contact Cynthia Thompson, director of Student Life, at 6-6665.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

UIS receives grant from Women for Women Giving Circle

On September 10 the Women for Women initiative of the Sangamon County Community Foundation awarded its first-ever grant of $10,000 to a joint mentoring program of the UIS Volunteer and Civic Engagement Center and UIS Athletics.

In the Girl to Girl DreamSpeakers Program, UIS female athletes will serve as mentors to approximately 120 female students in grades 8 through 10 in Springfield public schools.

Download a pdf file of a news release announcing the award.


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Monday, September 08, 2008

UIS students selected for AmeriCorps program

Will complete nearly 5,000 hours of community service

A cohort of 16 University of Illinois at Springfield students -- 12 first-year students and four upperclassmen -- have been selected to participate in the 2008-2009 Midwest Campus Compact Citizen-Scholar (M3C) Fellows AmeriCorps Program, an initiative that creates opportunities for students to work together as agents of civic change in their local communities and on their campuses. UIS is one of only seven universities in the state (and the only U of I campus) that participates in this AmeriCorps Education Award program.

Students chosen for the program receive a $1,000 award to use toward educational expenses in return for 300 hours of community service. Selected students have demonstrated academic potential as well as an interest in service and civic engagement activities.

Kelly Thompson, director of UIS' Volunteer and Civic Engagement Center, noted, "We will be working with several local not-for-profit agencies that have agreed to be host sites for the students. When it's all said and done, this UIS group alone will have completed almost 5,000 hours of community service." Thompson said that UIS received a grant through Midwest Campus Compact and the Corporation for National and Community Service to fund the student awards.

"It's a wonderful way for UIS to be able to provide financial support to our students while also assisting the community," she added.

First-year students are required to meet with upperclassmen peer mentors once a week and with the entire cohort once a month. Each upperclassman mentors three first-year students.

Typical activities for AmeriCorps students include tutoring younger students; working with Habitat for Humanity; volunteering at Boys and Girls Clubs or Big Brothers/Big Sisters; working at animal humane societies; and serving at hospitals and healthcare centers. In addition to community service activities, the UIS group will participate in the Illinois AmeriCorps service day at the Capitol in October.

This year's group of first-year students, their hometowns and majors, are: Cierra Davis, Chicago, Business Administration; Monique Johnson, Chicago, Psychology; Erin Jones, Morton Grove, Liberal Studies; Jackson Kern, Kansas, Business Administration; Tia King, Windsor, Social Work/Criminal Justice; Xuan Pham, Chicago, Biology; Vanessa Pulido, Chicago, Social Work; Lawrence Salley, Belleville, Legal Studies; Denise Scott, Chicago, Criminal Justice; Whitley Simmons, Moro, Legal Studies; Shelva Stinson, Chicago, Legal Studies; and Rashonda Williams, Chicago, Business Administration.

Peer mentors are: Jaleesa Earthely, Chicago, Psychology (sophomore); Amy Hargis, Sparta, Biology (sophomore); Brittane Maddox, Calumet City, Psychology (junior); and Josephine Marquez, Round Lake Beach, Political Studies (sophomore).

Others Illinois campuses that participate in M3C Fellows AmeriCorps Program are Rend Lake College, DePaul University, Loyola University of Chicago, Rockford College, Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, and Trinity Christian College.

The Midwest Campus Compact Citizen-Scholar Fellows Program is a 10-state initiative led by the Wisconsin Campus Compact and committed to integrating education with a lifelong commitment to active community and civic engagement.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Freshmen move-in at UIS goes smoothly

By Courtney Westlake

It's been a flurry of activity as construction has been wrapping up on Founders Hall that all culminated in a day of frenzy during freshmen move-in at UIS on Wednesday, August 20. But despite so much activity, everything progressed smoothly as the campus came back to life after the summer months.

"If there are relatively few problems, to me it's a great move in day," laughed John Ringle, director of housing.

This year brings an all-time record size class of about 312 freshmen, with 170 moving in to both Lincoln Residence Hall and Founders Hall. The construction on Founders is still finishing up, but freshmen were able to move right in and make it home on Wednesday.

"It's ready in the sense that there's work going to be going on around people after they move in, so it's still a work in progress. But it's the type of work they can do with students in building, and it won't compromise their safety and security," Ringle said. "It was touch and go for while in terms of finding out whether or not we were going to have the building in a state where people could move in, but all came together. It's good that we've got good builders and contractors who have been putting in extra hours to make sure our students were accommodated today."

This year is the first time in two years that the honors community - freshmen and upperclassmen alike - is able to be housed together in LRH thanks to the opening of Founders Hall, Ringle said. While Wednesday was move-in day for freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors will move back to campus on Friday to either the residence halls, apartments or townhouses.

Ringle said he and the rest of the housing office is optimistic about the upcoming school year.

"It snuck up on us, even though we've been planning for it all summer and anticipating that students were arriving today," he said. "We're looking forward to great year. It's going to be very key to see how all of new residents coming into Founders are going to set tone and history for Founders. After all, you only get to move in to a new building once."

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Campus members attend NWSA conference

By Courtney Westlake

After attending the National Women's Studies Association conference last year in Chicago, Amanda Looney knew she couldn’t pass up the chance to go again, even though she had already graduated with her master’s from UIS and moved away from Springfield.

“I went last year, which is why I really wanted to go this year. It was a great experience, and I met a lot of people I really wanted to see again,” Looney said. “I'll definitely go next year.”

Six members of the campus community attended the 29th annual National Women's Studies Association conference from June 19 to 22 in Cincinnati. One of the highlights of the conference this year was its keynote speaker, sociologist Patricia Hill Collins, said Lynn Otterson, director of the Women's Center at UIS, who attends the conference almost every year.

"She talked in very creative ways using the Miss Universe Pageant, and its history over the years, and who wins, and what happens to who wins, to talk about race and gender in a neo-empire framework," Otterson said. "So it was important and interesting ideas she was talking about, and she was also a very good speaker."
In addition to the keynote speaker, the conference featured workshops, films, a book fair, and more. Otterson and Looney also both attended an extra day called "Women's Center Day" that took place before the actual conference began.

"My favorite part was the Women's Center Day; it was a separate day for women who work in women's centers," Looney said. "We break out in different sessions and network. I went to seminar entitled 'Building a Women's Center from the Ground Up.' It was really helpful for me because I'm starting out in my career, and I really like working in women's centers, so if I work in a new center somewhere, it would be beneficial to have that information."

Because the conference took place in the Midwest both last year and this year, UIS was able to take bigger groups than when the conference is held beyond a reasonable driving distance.

"When it’s nearby in the Midwest, we can take a university van and get lot more people there, so I really enjoyed this conference because we had six UIS people with us," Otterson said. "One of the most enjoyable parts was to travel in company and share experiences with people I already know well and to get to know a few others."
Renee Rathjen, a junior at UIS, said she was impressed with being able to see the various generations of women activists join together in one place.
"It was very neat to see the huge variety of generational experiences that led people into activism," she said. "You have the millennial generation, who has sense of entitlement, and then you have people who were there from the beginning, working on voting rights and those sort of things. We saw whole gamut of gender equity movement."
Participating in the conference is a great way to build relationships with other attendees in addition to your own group, Otterson said.
"I'm the only women's center director in town so this is my one chance a year to be in a room of up to 140 people who do my work," she said. "It's very useful, and I get a lot of great ideas. As you go over time, you make friends, so you can call or email these friends throughout the year to get advice or get best practices. It's so much easier to do if you have those relationships."

“It was so nice to get to know the women outside of school,” Looney agreed, “and really get a chance to talk to them on a personal level and talk to them about different women's issues. And one of my favorite feminist authors was there, Jessica Valenti, and I got to buy one of her books and we got it signed, which was cool.”

Rathjen, who is majoring in political science with a minor in economics, said she recently decided to add women and gender studies as another minor and enjoys tying all three fields together.

"I went to a lot of feminist economist workshops, which were really cool," she said. "I picked up a lot of books and journal articles that will assist me in analyzing some of the work and some of the information I brought back from Mexico, where I went with the 'Mexico and Globalization' class over spring break."

This conference, and many others in different fields, allows participants to learn about the latest research and new information, Otterson said. To have campus community members attend conferences and further their education is essential not only for networking purposes but because it offers an opportunity to learn a lot about the specific field and new topics within the field, Looney said.

“I went to a really heavy seminar about race and sex, and how those two things intersect and what that means to women's studies, and it was something I hadn't thought about before in-depth,” Looney said. “There were a lot of issues that I think about more or seek out more information on, and I want to read more books about certain topics now.”

“I think anyone that wants to should definitely go to conference because it's a really wonderful experience to have, not only with women on your campus but to learn more about other issues and yourself, and to meet new people,” she added.

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Monday, May 05, 2008

UIS holds first Lavender Graduation

The University of Illinois at Springfield hosted its first Lavender Graduation ceremony for graduating LGBTQ students, their families, friends, and allies, on Sunday, May 4, in the Public Affairs Center restaurant on the UIS campus.

Lavender Graduation is a cultural celebration that recognizes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and questioning students and their allies and acknowledges their achievements and contributions. The event was organized by UIS' LGBTQ Resource Office Student Advisory Board and was sponsored by the LGBTQ Resource Office, Student Life, Division of Student Affairs. Beth Hoag, UIS assistant director of Student Life, noted, "We hope this is a start of a great tradition."

Graduating students recognized for their leadership and achievements were (pictured above) Rich Sullivan, Ben Owen, Jimmy Brower, Chad Eversgerd, Heidi Fisher, and Daniel McCarthy. Online student Lucy Silva is not pictured.

Three awards were also presented. The LGBTQ Faculty/Staff Advocate of the Year award was presented to Ryan Prosser, resident director of east campus apartments. Rich Sullivan was named Ally of the Year, and Jimmy Brower received the LGBTQ Student Leader Award.

Lynne Price, director of the UIS Campus Health Service, was the keynote speaker. "I am pleased and very honored to be the inaugural speaker for Lavender Graduation," said Price. "This graduating class is reminiscent of the energy and enthusiasm for social justice that was present at the formation of our university. Those graduates we honor today have brought LGBTQ issues to the forefront. From your commitment and dedication, a new and positive climate emerges for those who follow."

Price observed that some recent campus initiatives achieved through student efforts, most notably by the student organization Queer Straight Alliance, include creation of the Safe Zone Program, which in the past two years has trained more than 200 people to become allies for LGBTQ students, staff, and faculty; the opening of the LGBTQ Resource Office; campuswide observances of National Coming out Day, National Day of Silence, and Day of Dialogue; campus display of the national AIDS Quilt project; an LGBTQ presence at campus Preview Days and Orientation; hosting such events as the annual Alternative Prom and Wig Out!, a festival that showcased nationally known drag performers, allied musical groups, and community organizations; and the installation of gender neutral bathrooms on campus.

The lavender triangle as a symbol of LGBTQ pride grew from two separate symbols used in Nazi Germany: pink triangles marked gay men in concentration camps and black triangles identified lesbian political prisoners. During the LGBTQ Civil Rights Movement, these symbols of hatred were combined to produce a symbol of pride and community.

Related links: Queer Straight Alliance, more info about Lavender Graduations

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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Media Advisory: UIS Cares project

In observance of UIS Cares Day, the Office of Student Volunteer Services & Civic Engagement will complete a beautification project on Wednesday, April 30, at Jefferson Middle School.

The event is part of UIS' participation in National Volunteer Week. UIS selected Jefferson Middle School as the project site this year because of a strong mentoring partnership between the university and the school. Read more>>

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Commencement will be May 10 at The Center

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne M. Burke will be the speaker at UIS commencement ceremonies, which will begin at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 10, at the Prairie Capital Convention Center, Ninth and Adams streets in downtown Springfield. Of the 1,292 students eligible to graduate, 715 will participate in the ceremony. Read more, including a list of related events and the names of program marshals>>

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