FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                    Date: February 25, 2003

         Contact: Donna McCracken, 206-6716


UIS student to attend conference on peace activism

SPRINGFIELD Matthew Cunningham, a first-year student in the Capital Scholars program at the University of Illinois at Springfield, has received a scholarship to attend a conference of the Student Peace Action Network, a national organization of local peace groups, to be held February 28-March 2 in Raleigh, North Carolina.

SPAN was formed in 1995 to focus and consolidate efforts of student groups that were interested in organizing to work for peace and justice issues. Chapters are active on high school and college campuses across the country, and the informational and networking conferences include workshops on such topics as media skills, fundraising, strategic planning, and training in nonviolence and anti-racism.

Cunningham was told about the conference by Karin Cotterman, coordinator of UIS’ Office of Student Volunteers and Service Learning, who suggested he attend because of his interest in peace studies.

Said Cunningham, “I frequently visit Karin’s office to find out about various community-building, political, or other activities beneficial to society. I am mostly interested in nonviolent conflict resolution emphasizing peace. My intentions are to return with the resources, networks, and inspiration to start a SPAN chapter at UIS.”

Cunningham is a Liberal Studies major focusing on peace studies. He is involved with UIS student organizations including Campus Greens and the Springfield Community Network and took part in the recent Raise Your Voice campaign that gave UIS students an opportunity to


become involved in various community efforts.

“I hope that people will be impressed by this opportunity and be encouraged to seek out more activism in their own lives,” he observed. “This is not a one-time event I am attending. My goal is that everyone will see the importance of peaceful resolution as an alternative to aggression in all situations. It is, I hope, a jump-start -- a beginning on an amazing journey of activism at UIS.”

Capital Scholars is open to students entering their first year of college who have demonstrated high academic achievement and a potential for creativity and leadership. A four-year baccalaureate program, Capital Scholars combines an integrated core of general education courses with study of a foreign language and any of UIS’ 20 undergraduate majors.

More information about SPAN is available at More information about Capital Scholars is available at For more information about service learning opportunities at UIS, go to