Wednesday, January 29, 2014

UIS sticks with "Prairie Stars"

After spending months on data and discussions and nearly $20,000 on a consultant the University of Illinois Springfield is keeping things the same.

UIS will remain the Prairie Stars, despite many students not even knowing what the school nickname means.

"You'll ask people what a Prairie Star is they'll be like, 'Our name?' [...] They have no idea," UIS student Evan Barber said.

For some "Prairie Stars" is a nickname about placement. UIS is on a prairie and some would say its students are stars. But officially a prairie star is a flower. And that, some students say, is the problem.

"All these other teams have, you know, animals. Something fearsome. Something, you know, to be scared of," Barber said.

So UIS hired a consultant, formed a task force and held three public forums. Based on a survey compiled at those public forums "Prairie Stars" did not win. But the alternatives were not so popular either.

"Let's just not be the Mammoths. I don't want to be the Mammoths," UIS student Asia Jackson said.

Meanwhile, UIS alumni turned in more than 500 signatures supporting the name they love. The Prairie Stars.

"There's a lot of memories, there's a lot of heritage, there's just a lot of pride that comes with that name," UIS Alum Dana Goodrum said.

Chancellor Susan Koch says the Prairie Stars name is name you can identify with even if you went to UIS back when it was Sangamon State University.

"It transcends that institutional name. Whether you attended here in 1977 or you're attending school here now you're still a Prairie Star," Koch said.

The story was reported by WICS-TV 20 on January 28, 2014.

Watch the story online