Traditional start-of-school activities at the University of Illinois Springfield include a downtown offer this weekend.
A first-ever "UIS Day" scheduled for Saturday in downtown Springfield highlights the opportunities -- and challenges -- of closer ties between the historic-commercial district and the campus of more than 5,000 students at the south edge of the city.
Approximately 1,000 students live on campus.
It's a discussion that dates to the early years of then-Sangamon State University in the 1970s.
"We're trying to get students to embrace the community beyond the boundaries of campus," said Lisa McGuire, director of new student orientation and parent relations at UIS. Transportation remains the biggest challenge, said McGuire, as many on-campus students do not have their own vehicles.
As part of UIS Day, two 40-passenger shuttles will run every half-hour from 1 to 10 p.m. between campus and downtown.
Downtown Springfield Inc. executive director Lisa Clemmons Stott said UIS Day is a way to introduce students to downtown in hopes they will return on their own.
"We want them to get comfortable with it and what they might be interested in doing downtown," said Clemmons Stott. She added that the goal is to make UIS Day an annual event.
This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on August 25, 2016.
Read the entire article online.