Monday, April 24, 2017

Women's Golf: Hill leads UIS to victory

The University of Illinois Springfield women’s golf squad won its home Spring Invite Sunday.

Brooke Hill led the Prairie Stars with a second-place finish in the 46-player field, shooting a four-over-par 76 to gain one of only three scores under 80 for the day.

UIS shot a team-best 640 over the two-day event, beating Lewis by four strokes and easily outpacing five other Great Lakes Valley Conference teams in the field.

Jocelyn Matsen carded a 77 on Sunday and Maria Espinosa had a 78.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on April 23, 2017.

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Men's Baseball: Ramirez picks up 100th baseball win at UIS

The University of Illinois Springfield baseball team blew open a close game with five runs in their half of the seventh for a 6-2 win over visiting Truman State.

It marked the 100th victory of coach Chris Ramirez’s career.

UIS trailed the Bulldogs 2-1 in the bottom of the seventh before Cole Taylor doubled down the left field line and came home on a Trey Hannam RBI single.

Hannam later scored on a sacrifice fly by Kenny Hansen to give UIS its first lead at 3-2. Drew Harper followed with his fourth home run of the season and the Prairie Stars were on their way to their sixth consecutive home victory.

The Prairie Stars improved to 22-15 overall.

This game was recorded in The State Journal-Register on April 19, 2017.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Innocence Project director to speak in Decatur on Wednesday

John J. Hanlon, executive director and legal director of the Illinois Innocence Project, at the University of Illinois Springfield, is slated to speak at the Macon County Criminal Justice Group meeting Wednesday.

Hanlon's primary duty with the Innocence Project is to work on cases in which it is believed there is a reasonable possibility that DNA testing could lead to a wrongfully convicted prisoner's exoneration. 

He has served as adjunct faculty for the Legal Studies and/or Criminal Justice departments at the University of Illinois Springfield since 2004.

This story appeared in the Herald and Review on April 17, 2017.

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Monday, April 17, 2017

Union faculty at University of Illinois Springfield authorize strike

Professors at the University of Illinois Springfield have voted to authorize a strike.

The vote does not mean that the 168 tenured and tenure-tracked faculty will definitely be walking off the job, but it does give union leaders the ability to call a strike if a settlement can’t be reached.

“We remain hopeful that the university will show some meaningful progress at our next bargaining session,” said Kristi Barnwell, associate professor of history and vice president of University of Illinois Springfield United Faculty, the teachers’ union. “We are waiting to see where things are going and how much progress we can make before we commit to actually going on strike.”

The two sides are scheduled to resume negotiations on Monday.

Professors at UIS can’t strike immediately because Illinois law has a 10-day cooling off period. The last day of class at UIS is May 6, and finals will be held the following week.

The university released a statement Friday that said, “While negotiations have been underway for some time, the university received UIS United Faculty’s first proposal on salary and wages just this Wednesday via email. It is now under review, and everyone involved is committed to reaching a fair initial contract as soon as possible.”

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on April 15, 2017.

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Rochester's Collin Stallworth commits to UIS

Rochester High School senior forward Collin Stallworth committed to the University of Illinois Springfield men’s basketball program Friday, marking the first time in many years that the Prairie Stars landed a local player.

UIS pulled off a big-time score getting Stallworth. The 6-foot-6 forward was a star wide receiver on Rochester’s Class 4A state championship team last fall, but passed on the option to play NCAA Division I football to pursue his dream of playing college basketball.

“I’ve always grown up wanting to play basketball (in college),” he said. “It was my dream. But I had some pretty big football schools talk to me. I wanted to give that consideration because it was big football schools, but I wasn’t in love with football like I was in love with basketball. I knew I had to play basketball in college. If I were to play football, I don’t think I would have fun.”

So even though football programs such as Illinois, Michigan State, Penn State, Minnesota, Northwestern contacted him, Stallworth stayed with basketball.

He informed UIS of his decision to play basketball for the Stars Friday afternoon. He expects to sign a national letter of intent on Monday.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on April 16, 2017.

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Baseball: Muench’s clutch hit helps UIS gain split

Austin Muench drove in the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth inning and the University of Illinois Springfield won the first game of a doubleheader split with Bellarmine Saturday in Great Lakes Valley Conference play.

Muench finished 2-for-4 and his single gave UIS a 3-2 lead before the Prairie Stars tacked on one more run in the inning. Adam Gregory (7-2) pitched eight innings for the win, striking out eight.

Bellarmine scored a run in the bottom of the seventh inning to defeat UIS 9-8 in the nightcap.

Myles Hann went 3-for-3 with two RBIs. The Prairie Stars are 21-15 overall and 11-5 in the GLVC.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on April 16, 2017.

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Softball: Stars’ winning streak

Ali Haesele and Jaycee Craver each threw a complete game as the University of Illinois Springfield extended its winning streak to five games with 12-1 and 8-1 wins Saturday over Indianapolis in a Great Lakes Valley Conference doubleheader.

Crave (7-9) allowed seven hits and one earned run in Game 2. She struck out two and walked one. Erin Stroup (2-for-3) and BriAnna Edgar each hit home runs and Morgan Edwards finished 3-for-4 with an RBI for UIS.

The Prairie Stars (25-21 overall, 11-11 in the GLVC) won the opener in five innings. Haesele (14-6) struck out six, walked two and allowed four hits. Lakyn Wagoner went 3-for-4 and Edwards finished with a double and drove in three runs.

The story was featured by The State Journal-Register on April 17, 2017.

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Friday, April 14, 2017

UIS’ Ramirez closing in on 100 career wins

University of Illinois Springfield baseball coach Chris Ramirez is just three wins shy of 100 for his career.

He has 97 wins in four seasons. UIS had 20-plus win seasons in each of his first three years.

Ramirez has a chance to reach the milestone this weekend, with the Prairie Stars playing doubleheaders at Bellarmine today and Saturday. UIS plays Tuesday at home against Truman State.

UIS is tied with Southern Indiana for first in the Great Lakes Valley Conference East Division with a 9-3 conference record. The Stars are 19-13 overall.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on April 14, 2017.

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Close friendship brings Nelson to Prairie Stars

University of Illinois Springfield men’s basketball coach Bill Walker has signed Gilwan Nelson, a player who already has a strong connection to the program.

The 6-foot-5 wing from Mount Vernon is a close friend of UIS sophomore forward Bahari Amaya, who is from Harrisburg.

Nelson played the previous two seasons at Olney Central College. He averaged a team-high 14.5 points as a sophomore. He also averaged 3.9 rebounds and 1.8 assists.

“He is a good scorer and will be able to score at this level,” Walker said. “His best value for us is he is so versatile offensively and defensively. He can guard any position on the floor.” Nelson is expected to give the Prairie Stars different defensive options. He is interchangeable and really values defense. That’s really the kind of guy what we needed.”

UIS is expected to return everyone except senior forward Paxton Harmon from last season’s 9-18 team.

This story was reported in The State Journal-Register on April 12, 2017.

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UIS looks to recruit more child advocates

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. The University of Illinois Springfield is working to recruit more students to help the most vulnerable.

The Sangamon County Child Advocacy Center officials said they see around five to seven kids a week suffering from child abuse.

During a UIS panel, students from the UIS child advocacy studies certification program discussed their experiences in this field. There were about a dozen agencies on hand to allow students to seek internships and possible employment in their offices.

CAST's (Child Advocacy Studies) clinical assistant professor Betsy Goulet told the students be prepared to do more with less funding. "I hoped by the time when I was at this point in my life we would have made greater strides," said Goulet.

CAST is one of three child advocacy programs in the country to earn approval from the national training center.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on April 12, 2017.

Watch the story online.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

UIS child advocacy program, one of three in the country

The University of Illinois Springfield is now one of only three child advocacy programs in the country to earn approval from the national training center.

The Child Advocacy Studies Program began at UIS in 2015, but has quickly established itself as top contender in educating child protection professionals.

UIS said it's an important milestone for the program, but it also benefits the students.

“They know that they have completed a certificate that meets a national standard and I think that says something for our program that we have modeled our curriculum after a national program," said Betsy Goulet, professor and clinical assistant.

UIS uses a simulation lab and as well as a mock courtroom on campus to teach students how to help children-at-risk.

This story aired on FOX Illinois on April 11, 2017.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Slammers baseball: Roster gets boost from pitcher Ortiz

The Joliet Slammers’ 2017 roster is beginning to take shape.

The addition of Joseph Ortiz, a former Cubs prospect who pitched in 32 major-league games for the Texas Rangers in 2013, is being counted on to help the Slammers build on a 2016 campaign where they won the Frontier League East Division championship.

The Slammers also have some area products who will make their Frontier League debuts this season. Zach Jones, a Northwestern graduate from Glenview, will play the outfield and first base for Isom. Maxwell Biedrzycki, a University of Illinois Springfield graduate and Plainfield native, will add depth to the Slammers’ pitching staff.

The 2017 Frontier League Tryout Camp and Draft will be held April 24-25 at GCS Ballpark, home of the Gateway Grizzlies. All 12 teams will be present, along with scouts from multiple major-league franchises. The Slammers open at home on Tuesday, May 16, against the Traverse City Beach Bums.

This story appeared in The Herald-News on April 10, 2017.

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Monday, April 10, 2017

Women's Softball: UIS bounces back for split

The University of Illinois Springfield smoldered in a 6-3 loss to host Lewis University, then busted out in a big way for a 13-3 win in the second game of GLVC doubleheader.

The Prairie Stars fell behind early in the first game and rallied to within 3-2 in the fourth inning on a homer by Morgan Edwards and an RBI double by Ali Haesele, but stranded runners at second and third to end the threat.

But in game two, it was the Stars — and especially sophomore Amanda Gosbeth — who came out hot. UIS dropped four runs on the Flyers in the top of the first inning and never trailed in the 13-3 win. Gosbeth went 4 for 4 with two homers, five RBIs and three runs scored to lead the way for UIS. Haesele also homered in the game.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on April 9, 2017.

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Men's Baseball: Prairie Stars complete sweep of Lewis

The University of Illinois Springfield finished off its second four-game sweep of a Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) opponent this season, decking visiting Lewis University 7-2 and 9-4 in the home portion of the four-game series.

In game one, Myles Hann tripled in a pair of runs in the sixth to snap a 2-2 tie and Drew Harper soon followed with a three-run homer to give the Stars control. Adam Gregory improved his pitching record to 6-2 with a career-high nine strikeouts.

In game two, the Stars pounced in the first inning, with Trey Hannam doubling in the first run before Hann uncorked a three-run homer over center field. UIS led 6-0 before the Flyers could get on the board. Braden Jenson improved to 4-0 with six solid innings of work for UIS in the second game.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on April 9, 2017.

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UIS demonstrates ruck march for Central Illinois Food Bank

Saturday, the Military and Veterans Club at the University of Illinois Springfield held a military inspired ruck march to bring more awareness to student veterans.

Participants were asked to carry their donations in backpacks as they would in the military, then take on the UIS Cross Country Course, before dropping off their donations at the end for the Central Illinois Food Bank.

The club has plans to hold more food ruck drives down the road and want to make it bigger and better each year.

This story aired in WICS Newschannel 20 on April 8, 2017.

Watch the story online.

UIS students presenting their research at national conference

Eleven students from the University of Illinois Springfield are presenting their work this weekend at the 31st Annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research being held through Saturday at the University of Memphis in Tennessee.

Some of the students’ research is already being used to solve problems around the world. “I think the water quality in The Gambia will improve in the next few years,” said 29-year-old UIS student Shyleen Frost of Pleasant Plains. “They hadn’t measured water quality at some sites in 10 years, so we gave them the updated data from our samplings, and they are now implementing better structures for water-quality impact, and have issued directives for a lot of programs like trash disposal.”

“It’s really great to represent the university in a national conference like this,” added Frost, and although she would like to pursue a career in virology, she chose water quality in the west African nation as her undergraduate research topic because “water quality is important and applicable to the field, since it is pretty essential to life.”

Other UIS students taking part in this week’s conference -- which drew some 4,000 from across the country -- include Turner Clark of Swansea, Ebony Forslund, Amanda Monke and Gabriel Broughton of Springfield, Marquiera Harris, Chicago; Elizabeth Karras, Des Plaines; Alex Skarr, Naperville; Allie McIntire, Washington; and Nhan Khanh Le of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. They are accompanied by Tiffani Saunders, UIS sociology/anthropology lecturer, and Keenan Dungey, associate professor of chemistry and director of the Undergraduate Research Support Program. “For some students, this is their first time to present outside a classroom setting,” Dungey said. “It also gives them some professional connections and opportunities to look at graduate schools and what their future careers might be.”

Several of the students in Memphis this week will also present their research on the UIS campus at the annual Student Technology Arts and Research Symposium April 20-21.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on April 7, 2017.

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Susan Koch: STARS symposium to present sustainability theme

The following is an excerpt from a column by University of Illinois Springfield Chancellor Susan Koch. This column appeared in The State Journal-Register on April 9, 2017.

Less than a year ago, the University of Illinois board of trustees approved a new strategic framework for the three universities in the UI system with the goal to reaffirm the central role that higher education plays in promoting the public good in Illinois and beyond.

One of four strategic pillars of our framework is “Research and Scholarship with Global Impact.” 

Research and scholarship, including creative work in the humanities and the arts, not only generate new knowledge of great value to our state and to society but also provide students with valuable opportunities to enrich their educational experiences.

Providing opportunities for students to collaborate with faculty one-to-one is a particularly strong feature of the University of Illinois Springfield student experience, and the results of those opportunities will be “front and center” this month at the STARS Symposium.

STARS stands for Student Arts and Research Symposium, and this annual event offers a rich array of presentations and performances by UIS students, each of whom has worked closely throughout the year with a faculty mentor to complete an individual research or creative project.

With a special symposium theme of “Sustainability,” this year’s event, co-chaired by Mike Miller, associate professor of visual arts, and Carolee Rigsbee, assistant professor of management, promises to be especially intriguing.

The program includes student presentations of more than 80 projects representing the natural sciences, the social sciences, the arts, business, the humanities and technology.

A special addition to the symposium this year is a field trip (by charter bus) to the Emiquon Nature Preserve floodplain restoration project on the Illinois River near Havana, where participants will be hosted by Field Station Director Dr. Tom Rothfus for a tour of the preserve and opportunities to learn about research that faculty and their students are conducting at the UIS Therkildsen Field Station. 

“STARS represents so much of what we try to do and be as UIS faculty,” says Rigsbee. “It is a community of faculty, students and staff supporting student scholarship. Having the opportunity to help students strengthen their skills and abilities so they can be more successful in their careers while at the same time advancing work in your own area of study is a win-win proposition.”

Read the entire column online.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Illinois Innocence Project: Judge vacates conviction in Naperville murder case

A DuPage County judge on Thursday ordered a new trial for a man convicted 20 years ago and sentenced to 45 years in prison for arson and murder in his mother-in-law's death.

The ruling vacated the conviction of William Amor, 60, who is imprisoned at the Taylorville Correctional Facility in central Illinois.

The ruling follows a weeklong hearing in December when Amor's attorneys presented new arson-related scientific evidence. He is represented by the University of Illinois Springfield's Illinois Innocence Project. 

Amor's conviction was based on a false confession and arson findings that are no longer scientifically reliable, his attorneys said in statement.

His attorneys said the false confession to police came after 15 hours of questioning and Amor's being served divorce papers at the station.

Amor's attorneys said evidence points to the fire being accidental.

"It is undisputed by the experts in this case that fire science has evolved, and it has changed to such an extent that the original findings in this case are unreliable," said Amor's attorney Lauren Kaeseberg, legal director of the Illinois Innocence Project Chicago office.

A hearing is scheduled April 13 to determine if Amor will be released or if prosecutors will appeal, Amor's attorneys said.

This story appeared in the Daily Herald on April 6, 2017.

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Thursday, April 6, 2017

Loves Park resident receives journalism award

Jeff Burnett of Loves Park recently received an honorable mention at the annual Illinois College Press Association competition.

Burnett is a member of The Journal, a student newspaper at the University of Illinois Springfield. Burnett received the award for his story about the Sangamon County Drug Court, which was published in the fall 2016 Journal magazine, Beyond.

This story appeared in the Rockford Register Star on April 5, 2017.

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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

UIS softball splits with McKendree

Ali Haesele hit the game-winning RBI single in the fourth inning and the University of Illinois Springfield won 4-3 against McKendree in a Great Lakes Valley Conference doubleheader Tuesday. 

She also struck out seven and walked none to earn the pitching win. McKendree won the second game 5-2. The Prairie Stars are 20-18 and 6-8.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on April 4, 2017.

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UIS names new dean of College of Public Affairs

University of Illinois Springfield has named the new Dean of the College of Public Affairs.

Robert Smith previously served as the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Savannah State University, and Chair of the Political Science Department at Kennesaw State University.

He is scheduled to start on July 16 and said he's excited about his new position.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on April 3, 2017.

Watch the story online.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Women's Softball: Stars’ Wooldridge, Gosbeth hit back-to-back walk-off homers

Katie Wooldridge and Amanda Gosbeth hit walk-off home runs in each game of a Great Lakes Valley Conference doubleheader and the University of Illinois Springfield swept Bellarmine Saturday.

With two out, Wooldridge hit her first collegiate home run in the seventh inning and UIS won 1-0 in the first game.

Gosbeth led off the seventh inning of the second game with her homer, lifting UIS to a 3-2 victory. Teammate BriAnna Edgar was 2-for-3.

UIS’ Jaycee Craver struck out seven and walked one in 6 1/3 innings.

UIS hosts a doubleheader today against No. 10 Southern Indiana at noon.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on April 1, 2017.

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Men's Baseball: UIS baseball wins on walk-off

Cole Taylor hit a walk-off home run in the 10th inning and the University of Illinois Springfield won 4-3 against Southern Indiana in a Great Lakes Valley Conference doubleheader Saturday.

Southeast High School and Lincoln Land Community College graduate Mike Ringer was pitching for Southern Indiana when Taylor hit the home run.

Ringer took the loss after striking out two and walking one in 1 2/3 innings. He only gave up one hit and one run. The Stars and Screaming Eagles split their doubleheader.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on April 1, 2017.

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UIS announces deputy athletics director

Roy L. Brown III has joined the University of Illinois Springfield Department of Athletics as the deputy athletics director.

He will be responsible for leading the external affairs efforts. He is a native of New Orleans and graduated from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Brown was the senior associate director of athletics for external relations and oversaw marketing and communications at Towson University the past 3 ½ years.

Prior to Towson, Brown was the associate director of athletics for sports marketing and promotions for seven years at Fairfield University. At Southeastern Louisiana University, Brown was the assistant director of athletics for marketing and community relations.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on April 1, 2017.

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Friday, March 31, 2017

How to protect your information from being sold

If President Donald Trump signs the bill congress just passed, Internet service providers (ISPs) like AT&T or Comcast would be able to collect your search history or location data and sell it to the highest bidder.

Students at the University of Illinois Springfield are working on an app to protect yourself, and there are steps you can take to be safe.

Students and faculty at UIS say the thought of service providers selling your data is scary.

"Private companies can sell your data already, but the fact that ISPs have direct access to your data because you go through them when you use the internet, and now they can sell your data," Brian Rogers said. "That is worrisome for me."

Computer science professor Ronald Loui says it's not just a privacy issue, it's a national security issue.

He's worried criminals will buy data and use it to blackmail people working in high security government jobs.

"We know you do this," Loui said. "We know your sexual preference. We know your medical history. We know some of your browsing habits. Your employer would not like that. Maybe you're not embarrassed, but your employer would be. And all we ask is what time they lock the doors at night."

The story was reported by WICS-TV 20 on March 30, 2017.

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UIS alumni men's soccer game set for April 29

The University of Illinois Springfield men's soccer program is hosting an alumni game at noon April 29 at Kiwanis Field.

The game is open to all men's soccer alumni. To participate, contact assistant coach Nate Gaudreault to register at ngaud2@uis.edu.

A senior soccer banquet will take place at Piper Glen Golf Club after the game from 3-6 p.m. Tickets cost $30 and include a meal. A cocktail hour is from 3-4 p.m. A silent auction will be held. To register, log on to www.uisprairiestars.com.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on March 31, 2017.

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Thursday, March 30, 2017

U of I students ask lawmakers for education funding

Wednesday, more than 200 students from the University of Illinois system's three universities met with legislators during U of I Day at the state capitol.

Students had the chance to meet with their elected representatives to encourage funding support for the U of I schools and pose for a picture.

University of Illinois President Timothy Killeen said this is a great opportunity to put a face on their key role in moving Illinois forward.

"We're talking to our legislators and we're basically asking them to please come together, put aside the games, put aside the proxy war about education and come together and make decisions that their constituents would benefit from," said Marvin Slaughter with the Student Advocacy Coalition.

Slaughter said he was at the statehouse on Wednesday to make sure good professors, research opportunities, internships, and more don't leave Illinois.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on March 29, 2017.
Watch the story online.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Women's Softball: Stroup, Stars beat Lindenwood

Erin Stroup hit a three-run triple in the fifth inning and propelled the University of Illinois Springfield to a 8-2 win against Lindenwood Tuesday.

The Prairie Stars scored six runs in the fifth. UIS' Allison Rose finished 3-for-4.

Katie Wooldridge had three RBIs for UIS.

This game was written up in The State Journal-Register on March 28, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

UIS teachers stage “work-in” to try and get first contract negotiated

It’s been 18 months since a faculty union formed at the University of Illinois Springfield, and there’s still no agreement in place.

So a small group of faculty members staged a work-in outside Chancellor Susan Koch’s office on Tuesday.

“We keep asking the chancellor — just like we’ve been asking her today — why are you not talking to us? Why will you not meet with leadership at the union to talk about the slow pace of bargaining?” says Kristi Barnwell, vice president of UIS United Faculty. “We’ll just keep putting the pressure on until we get this contract. We want something by the end of this semester."

For its part, a UIS spokesman says it’s their practice to negotiate at the bargaining table not in the media.

Full Statement from Derek Schnapp, UIS Spokesperson:
“The university administration is anxious to get a contract agreement just as faculty members are. Any time you craft a first contract with a newly formed union, negotiations take considerable time. It is the university’s practice to negotiate with all unions at the bargaining table rather than through the media, as we believe this is most conducive to constructive, good faith collective bargaining.”

This story aired on WTAX on March 28, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Concert-goer dies after falling at Sangamon Auditorium show

A Petersburg man injured Sunday night after falling a total of 25 feet in an area beneath the stage at the University of Illinois Springfield's Sangamon Auditorium has died.

Audience member John Kremitzki, 51, was pronounced dead at 12:18 p.m. Monday at Memorial Medical Center, the Sangamon County coroner's office announced Tuesday. An autopsy conducted Tuesday indicated that Kremitzki died from "blunt force" injuries related to the fall, Coroner Cinda Edwards said. Foul play isn't suspected. "I think it was a pure accident," Edwards said.

During an intermission of a performance of Brit Floyd, a Pink Floyd tribute show, Kremitzki, who had been sitting in the pit area with other audience members in front of the stage, fell to his knees, UIS spokesman Derek Schnapp said.

According to witnesses, Kremitzki tried to stand up and stumbled forward toward the stage's front, then "rolled through an opening in front of the stage," Schnapp said. A male audience member who was sitting near Kremitzki tried to help and went through the opening after him, Schnapp said.

The State Journal-Register confirmed that the name of the man trying to help was Greg Hoffman, a Springfield resident. "The two dropped approximately five feet, onto a ledge area beneath the stage," Schnapp said. "A third audience member followed them onto the ledge area to assist."

Kremitzki, who "appeared to be in distress," rolled off the ledge and, with the first audience member who followed him, fell about 20 feet "into a deeper space beneath the stage," Schnapp said. Edwards said Kremitzki had "some underlying medical issues" that she didn't describe. But she said the autopsy showed that Kremitzki apparently wasn't having a heart attack or stroke at the time of the incident. The third audience member remained on the ledge and called for help, Schnapp said. 

Kremitzki and the audience member who fell with him were transported by ambulance to the hospital, Schnapp said.

The UIS Police Department is handling the investigation, Schnapp said. "The entire Sangamon Auditorium family was saddened by the tragic accident on Sunday night," Sangamon Auditorium director Bob Vaughn said in a statement Tuesday. "We extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of John Kremitzki," Vaughn said. "We also extend profound gratitude to the first responders and those in the audience who did all they could to help Mr. Kremitzki. Our staff is cooperating fully with medical and law enforcement professionals to determine what happened and to ensure a positive experience for all of our guests."

This story was published in The State-Journal Register on March 28, 2017.

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College students speaking out on P.E. requirements in Illinois

Dozens of students from Illinois State University and the University of Illinois Springfield made sure they're voices were heard throughout the capitol Tuesday.

Not only to voice their concerns with P.E. requirements in schools but also to support a tax on high-sugar drinks.

Students from the health education field met individually with state senators and representatives to make sure their voice was heard.

"All of us advocate for the health, especially of young students, elementary school, middle school, high school, because that's where the habits that people have later in life truly form,” said Alex Simko, a junior at ISU.

This story aired on Fox Illinois on March 28, 2017.

Watch the story online.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Papini to be University of Illinois provost, vice chancellor

Dennis Papini, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at South Dakota State University since 2012, has accepted the position of vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost at the University of Illinois at Springfield. 

UIS made the announcement Friday. “I want to thank Dean Papini for his leadership and vision during his time at South Dakota State University,” said Dennis Hedge, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “He has led an effort to revitalize liberal arts education at our university in a way that allows students in his college and throughout the entire university opportunities to grow and fulfill their academic potential. We are thankful for his many accomplishments at SDSU and wish him well in his new endeavor.”

Papini came to SDSU from Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where he chaired the Department of Psychology in the school’s College of Behavioral and Health Sciences. He has also served on the faculty at Western Illinois University, University of Arkansas-Fayetteville and Southeast Missouri University.

Papini’s new role at UIS will begin July 1.

This article appeared in the Brookings Register on March 28, 2017.

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Monday, March 27, 2017

Men's Baseball: UIS baseball sweeps McKendree

The University of Illinois Springfield busted out the lumber and finished off a four-game sweep of McKendree with a pair of victories Sunday afternoon.

Trey Hannam went 4-for-4 with two homers, four RBI and three runs scored in the Stars' 6-4 win in game one.

Michael Rothmund connected for his GLVC-leading 13th homer in the Stars' 9-3 victory in game two.

UIS scored three times in the first inning to take the lead in game one and pushed that lead to 4-0 on an RBI double by Hannam in the second.

In the second game, UIS actually trailed McKendree 1-0 before Austin Muench plated Cole Taylor with an RBI double in the third inning.

Later, Kenny Hansen belted a grand slam to give UIS a 5-1 lead.

Taylor leads the GLVC in runs scored (32) and hits (39) while Rothmund tops all league hitters in homers and RBIs (36).

This story appeared in The State Journal Register on March 26, 2017.

Read the article in its' entirety.


United Way: 30 minutes to improve our community

Four years ago, the University of Illinois Springfield Center for State Policy & Leadership, the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln, The Citizen's Club of Springfield and United Way announced we were conducting the first-ever Sangamon County Citizen Survey.

The initial survey was designed to focus on nine areas affecting quality of life, with subsequent surveys to focus on each of these areas. The survey is in an effort to help us better understand the issues affecting Sangamon County residents and provides a wealth of information concerning education, environment, social well-being, public safety, economy, infrastructure, culture and recreation plus government and civic participation.

Feedback and participation in these local surveys provide organizations with data and information needed to identify and address our community's greatest challenges. The survey also provided a benchmark from which we can measure changes within these areas and adjust strategies accordingly.

In a few weeks, the UIS Center for State Policy & Leadership will begin conducting the 2017 Sangamon County Citizen Survey. This year's survey will have a greater focus on economic and infrastructure issues, including employment, the local business environment, taxes, transportation and utilities.

This year's survey will be conducted by mail to allow participants more time to consider responses and complete at their convenience.

Results of the 2017 Sangamon County Community Survey will be available in late-July with a formal presentation of results at a Citizen's Club of Springfield meeting on July 28.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on March 25, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Friday, March 24, 2017

UIS adds assistant coach for men’s soccer

Nathan Gaudreault has joined the University of Illinois Springfield men's soccer program as an assistant coach.

He formerly coached with St. Louis Scott Gallagher.

He began his coaching career as an assistant at his alma mater, Truman State University.

He was a four-year starter for the Bulldogs and graduated in 2006.

Gaudreault has worked with the Wyoming Soccer Association as a technical adviser and Olympic Development Program coordinator. He is currently working toward a master's degree in public administration at the University of Colorado-Denver.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on March 23, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Arts residency in Enos Park

The University of Illinois Springfield Visual Arts Gallery is partnering with the Springfield Art Association and Enos Park Residency for Visual Artists to offer a funded residency and art exhibition for the summer of 2017.

The residency will last from four to eight weeks and is open to artists working in all media and at all stages of their career.

The Enos Park Residency for Visual Artists will provide studio facilities as well as living quarters and there will be a $1,000 stipend for expenses.

The residency will culminate with an exhibition at the UIS Visual Arts Gallery, opening June 30 and running through July 28.

“The idea is that the program will draw artists to Springfield, and ideally, over time, some of them will stay,” said Allison Lacher, manager of the UIS Visual Arts Gallery.

Applications for the residency and art exhibition are due by April 7 and need to include a detailed proposal, dates, artist statement, work samples, image list, resume and references. Artists from across the country are encouraged to apply.

This article appeared in the Illinois Times on March 23, 2017.

Read the full article online.

Illinois Innocence Project holds viewing party for award-winning film

The University of Illinois Springfield Illinois Innocence Project is devoted to proving innocence of the falsely accused. Now, the organization is holding a viewing party for one of the largest wrongly imprisoned scandals in history.

On April 12, the award-winning documentary "The Central Park Five" will play at the Hoogland Center for the Arts. The film is about five teens from Harlem who were wrongly convicted in 1989 of raping a 28-year-old woman in New York City's Central Park.

Intermission will include a question and answer session with local attorneys.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on March 22, 2017.

Read the article online.


Monday, March 20, 2017

UIS students spend spring break working on eco-restoration projects

Hailey Hawkins spent as much time around bleach as she did on a beach the past week while in Florida.

But the University of Illinois Springfield junior has no complaints.

"It was definitely a very different spring break," Hawkins said Sunday. "But I had a lot of fun." Hawkins was among 25 UIS students who traveled to Florida last week as part of the school's alternative spring break program.

The students helped with outdoor eco-restoration projects along the Florida panhandle Gulf Coast.

Past trips include building homes for Habitat for Humanity following Hurricane Katrina, cleaning up damage from Hurricane Ike in Texas and working with the homeless at soup kitchens in Washington, D.C., and New York City.

This year, the students assisted with shoreline restoration, native plant propagation, sea grass restoration, wildlife habitat improvement, dune restoration, storm water treatment, public land restoration and invasive species removal.

Hawkins said her favorite part of this year's trip was helping with an oyster-restoration project.

"It was cool because it was something that we couldn't possibly do in Illinois," she said.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on March 20, 2017.

Read the story online.

Baseball: UIS blanks Harris Stowe

University of Illinois Springfield pitcher Adam Gregory threw five innings of no-hit ball and struck out five Sunday as the Prairie Stars (10-8) earned a 9-0 win over visiting Harris Stowe.

Gregory (4-1) and Brayden Jensen and R.D. Lutze combined to hold Stowe to just one hit over nine innings. The Stars scored three runs in the bottom of the second inning and five more in the fourth to blow the contest open.

Drew Harper smacked a home run for UIS, his first of the season. Hje went 2-for-3 Sunday with four runs driven in.

The win was reported by The State Journal-Register on March 20, 2017.

Read the story online. 

UIS hitters set records in win over Robert Morris

Cole Taylor hit two home runs and two doubles in the University of Illinois Springfield's 31-4 non-conference win against Robert Morris University at Lenz Field Friday.

Thirty-one runs is a program record, erasing the mark of 21 set against Lindenwood last season. The 9-8 Stars set a record with 28 hits, six better than the previous mark.

Taylor and Ben Schanding both had five hits, which is a UIS record. Taylor's 13 total bases is also a new mark. The previous record was nine.

The win was reported by The State Journal-Register on March 18, 2017.

Read the story online. 

Friday, March 17, 2017

UI president aims to keep in-state students

Lawmakers rallied around UI President Tim Killeen Thursday to show support for keeping more students in-state for college.

Nearly half of Illinois' high school students pack their bags to head out of state. The university is on its way to getting help keeping them here.

The UI wants to provide $170 million in financial aid funding to students seeking higher education. They hope this will help them stay competitive with out-of-state universities.

Like never before, high school students are leaving Illinois for higher education. "This is the first time in our state's history where we have guidance counselors encouraging students to go out of state."

In 2015, 45% of high school students went out-of-state for college; a drastic jump from the 29% which left in 2009. "It's kind of sad knowing that we got a great university here and so many people are opting to leave just because they're unsure of the condition the state's going to be in when they graduate."

The state's budget crisis is why lawmakers and UI leaders ant more funding to keep students from fleeing. "We want to look at improving a world class education for as many qualified and talented Illinois' native students as we can." Killeen was at the Capitol Thursday trying to get support for his $170 million funding plan.

Senator Scott Bennett (D) says the state's support is key. "The best resources our state has is our people and, if the whole generation, or a lot of the generations of the best minds go out-of-state, they may never come back." The new funds would be accessible through scholarships and grants and would be separate from MAP Grant funds.

This story appeared on WCIA and illinoishomepage.net on March 16, 2017.

Watch the story online.

Women's Soccer: UIS signs three

Glenbard West High School's Izabel Pina and St. Louis area players Kayla Meyer and Amanda Meyer have signed to play for the University of Illinois Springfield women's soccer team.

Pina, a midfielder, appeared on the all-West Suburban Conference team. She also played for Chicago Magic and Team Chicago.

Sisters Kayla Meyer and Amanda Meyer play for Pattonville High School is suburban St. Louis. Both are four-year varsity players. Amanda plays midfield and forward. Kayla is a defender and became a starter as a sophomore. She's a two-time all-conference second team pick. Amanda received all-conference honorable mention honors as a sophomore. She had eight goals and six assists as a sophomore.

This article appeared in The State Journal Register on March 16, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Women's Softball: UIS softball wins pair

Freshman Lakyn Wagoner had a game-winning, two-run RBI in the seventh inning of the University of Illinois Springfield's 5-4 win over Millersville Wednesday morning.

UIS trailed 4-1 after three innings. Senior BriAnna Edgar scored on a wild pitch in the fourth inning that made it 4-2. Sophomore Madi Torry bunted in a run in the fifth as UIS pulled within 4-3. Wagoner hit the game-winning single to right field with two outs, scoring Edgar and freshman Erin Stroup.

Junior Rachel Goff was the winning pitcher.

In an afternoon contest, UIS scored six runs in the fourth inning and beat Hillsdale 7-3. Sophomore Alexa Brown's two-run single in the fourth put the Prairie Stars ahead 3-1. Torry then reached on an error and junior Katie Wooldridge scored. Stroup followed with a three-run home run and the Stars were up 7-1.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on March 15, 2017.

Read the entire article online.



U of Illinois aid amendment to be introduced in Springfield

The University of Illinois says a proposal will be introduced in the state Legislature that would provide at least $170 million in financial aid.

University of Illinois President Tim Killeen announced the Invest in Illinois, or Triple I, proposal on Wednesday. He says it would provide the money over five years with the goal of keeping Illinois high school graduates in state for college and stem a growing loss of students to out-of-state schools.

The university says the measure will be introduced as an amendment to a measure already pending in Springfield that involves university funding. The university says that in 2015, 45 percent of high school students who graduated in Illinois and were bound for college went to schools out of state.

This article appeared in The News Tribune on March 16, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

New proposal could make it easier to become a U of I student trustee

An Illinois lawmaker is sponsoring legislation that would change the residency requirements for students at the University of Illinois hoping to become student trustees.

The proposal comes after a student who was not registered to vote in Illinois was disqualified from running for the position.

Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) says this should not limit students wanting to participate in their university community. “If a student is enrolled in the university and wants to run for student trustee, there should not be barriers preventing them from doing so. We need to make sure all college students have opportunities to grow and participate in leadership opportunities while they’re on campus,” Martinez says.

The student who inspired this legislation was unable to run for the student trustee position, despite the fact that he was enrolled in the university and an Illinois resident.

The University of Illinois Trustee Act requires students to be residents of Illinois in order to be selected as a student trustee. Residency is currently demonstrated by three factors: Evidence of the student’s residence in Illinois for at least the previous six months, A valid Illinois driver’s license or Illinois identification card, Being registered to vote in Illinois.

Under Martinez’s proposal, Senate Bill 598, a student would have to provide proof of residence for the past six months and either a voter registration or driver’s license/identification to demonstrate Illinois residency.

The University of Illinois is a proponent of the initiative. Martinez passed similar legislation last year, but it was vetoed by Governor Bruce Rauner.

Senate Bill 598 was passed by the Illinois Senate’s Higher Education Committee yesterday and will now have to go before the full Illinois Senate for consideration.

This story aired on WAND TV on March 15, 2017.

Watch the story online.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Women's Softball: UIS wins twice

Ali Haesele struck out seven and allowed three hits over seven innings and the University of Illinois Springfield beat Ohio Dominican 6-1 Monday.

Lakyn Wagoner drove in three runs with a triple in the fifth inning. She was 2-for-3.

Rachel Goff threw a complete game one-hitter in the Prairie Stars' 2-0 victory against Ferris State in UIS' second game. Goff struck out two and walked one in seven innings. She retired the final 14 batters, not allowing a runner after an error with one out in the third inning. Goff hit a RBI double in the sixth and UIS took a 1-0 lead.

Alexa Brown's RBI single in the inning made it 2-0. Wagoner hit 2-for-3 with a triple. Wagoner, Goff and BriAnna Edgar all hit doubles for the Stars.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on March 13, 2017.

Read the entire story online.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Susan Koch: UIS’ wellness, recreation facility helps many

The following is an excerpt from a column by University of Illinois Springfield Chancellor Susan Koch. This column appeared in The State Journal-Register on March 12, 2017.

In 1948, the preamble of the new World Health Organization's constitution redefined "health" as "a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease." That unprecedented definition, conveying the more positive aspects of health, sparked the worldwide "wellness movement." 

Since then, wellness has become an important part of both community and university life across the U.S. 

The heart of campus wellness at the University of Illinois Springfield is the TRAC (The Recreation and Athletic Center), a 72,000 square-foot facility that opened in 2007 — thanks in part to a generous gift from the Hoogland Family Foundation of Springfield's own Charles and Kathleen Hoogland

A state-of-the-art wellness and recreation facility, TRAC houses multiple indoor sport and fitness venues, including basketball and volleyball courts, an elevated running track, cardio and weight training areas and a multipurpose exercise room. 

Led by director of Campus Recreation James Koeppe, TRAC staff provide a variety of wellness programs for students, faculty and staff, including group fitness classes (like strength and cardio training, Pilates, yoga, martial arts and dance), intramural sports programs and even personal training services. 

"TRAC is more than just a place to work out," says James. "It's a lively gathering place on campus. There's a real sense of belonging and community here; at the same time, the programs we offer encourage participants to develop healthy habits of exercise and good nutrition — habits that improve all aspects of their lives." 

TRAC is also home to UIS's Division II Prairie Stars athletics, and a valuable addition to the program this year is Chris Lowe, the new Strength and Conditioning coach. Thanks to a partnership with Springfield Clinic, Chris works with the 260 Prairie Stars student-athletes on all 15 athletic teams. "Though each team has their own strength and conditioning plan, I take an individualized approach," says Chris. "Teams with professional strength and conditioning programs are more competitive, and in addition to strength and conditioning workouts, I educate students about the importance of sleep, good nutrition and adequate hydration." 

Read the entire article column online.

Women's Softball: Haesele boosts Stars

Ali Haesele turned in a complete game three-hitter with eight strikeouts and hit 2-for-2 in the University of Illinois Springfield's 8-0 win against Cedarville Friday.

Haesele retired 11 of the first 12 batters, allowing just one walk through 3 2/3 innings.

She retired 10 of the last 11 batters. Her RBI single in the fifth inning put the Prairie Stars ahead 6-0. 

UIS' Erin Stroup doubled twice and drove in two runs. Lakyn Wagoner added two hits, two RBIs and a stolen base.

In the second game, Northwood edged UIS 5-4.

The Stars rallied from a 5-0 deficit. Morgan Edwards hit a RBI single in the sixth inning to get UIS within a run. Down a run going into the top of the seventh, Haley Inman led off with a single and advanced to second on Alexa McClaughry's sacrifice bunt. The Stars' rally fell short when the inning ended with a ground out and a strikeout. Madi Torry finished 2-for-4 for UIS.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on March 10, 2017.

Read the entire story online.


Women's Softball: Edwards’ clutch hit lifts UIS softball

Morgan Edwards had a two-RBI single in the top of the seventh inning Saturday to give the University of Illinois-Springfield softball team a 4-2 win over Findlay in Clermont, Fla.

BriAnna Edgar and Erin Stroup scored on the play for UIS, which had a second game in Florida on Saturday evening that ended too late for publication.

Edwards, Rachel Goff and Madi Torry had two hits apiece for the Prairie Stars, while Jaycee Craver pitched 1 1/3 innings in relief to earn the win.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on March 11, 2017.

Read the entire story online.

UIS students travel to Florida for Alternative Spring Break

Some University of Illinois Springfield students will be spending time giving back during spring break. 24 students are set to travel to the Florida panhandle gulf coast to volunteer with environmental restoration projects.

The annual trip is organized by the student-led Alternative Spring Break organization.

The organization's president says the trip offers more than just the chance to volunteer.

"It's just a different experience for college students to have on spring break and good to help others and it's a just a fun way," President of Alternative Spring Break, Haley Hawkins said. "It's a different group of people on campus and it's really diverse. We just all come together and spend spring break helping others and the environment in a different community."

Alternative Spring Break started back in 2009. Past trips included rebuilding homes in states hit by hurricanes and working in soup kitchens in Washington D.C and New York.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on March 9, 2017.

Watch the story online.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

UIS hosts panel discussion to dispel myths associated with immigration

Just this week President Trump signed a new executive order banning immigration from six Muslim-majority countries.

Faculty at UIS are addressing students' concerns about the executive order.

The university held a panel discussion Tuesday night to help clear up any misunderstandings. 

Students packed inside the auditorium to learn the facts about immigration and how they could be affected by the travel ban or deportation at University of Illinois Springfield.

The student body is a melting pot of people from around the globe. "17% of our population are international students and we have students who are first generation from Latin American countries," said Sophia Gehlhausen Anderson, coordinator of programs and outreach at UIS.

Students like Crystal Terrazes whose family immigrated to Chicago from Mexico. Terrazes attended the panel discussion on immigration at UIS hoping to learn more about the hot-button issue.

"People just have all these stereotypes about undocumented immigrants who are coming into this country and they don't know really why they're doing it. Or what the actually numbers or statistics are," said Terrazes.

"Many students are very worried about the situation. They don't know what the future is going to be or what the affects of this new policies.... The American policies are going to be," said Adriana Cocker, associate of political science at UIS.

Terrazes tells us there are many international students who live in her dorm and she hears their concerns first-hand. "They're definitely worried about everything that's happening. I've had a lot of them come up to me and ask what's going to happen with their visas...Are they going to be able to go back home? Are their families going to be able to come here for graduation?"

In addition to the large international student population at UIS, we're told there are a number of professors who are in the U.S. on visas. An estimated 15 students at the campus are undocumented.

This story aired in WICS Newschannel 20 on March 7, 2017.

Watch the story online.

UIS hosts free child safety seat check

Wednesday at the University of Illinois Springfield, the Department of Transportation hosted a free child seat safety check.

Certified safety seat technicians educated parents on proper installation procedures.

Statistics show nearly 80 percent of child safety seats are installed improperly.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on March 7, 2017.

Watch the story online.

Former Illini star Dee Brown hosting UIS softball fundraiser

Former Illinois basketball star Dee Brown is helping host a fundraiser for the University of Illinois Springfield softball program March 16 4:30-9 p.m. at Win, Lose or Draught in Piper Glen Plaza.

The proceeds will go toward the construction of a planned softball complex located south of The Recreation and Athletic Center on the UIS campus.

Several elected officials and local celebrities will participate or serve as bartenders.

A short program will take place at 8 p.m. with comments from Brown, UIS softball coach Shannon Nicholson Guthrie and other officials.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on March 8, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Local colleges in a bind again over unfunded MAP grants

Delayed state funding for higher education continues to plague local colleges and universities, forcing many again this spring to replace promised Illinois Monetary Award Program grant funds with institutional money.

The University of Illinois Springfield will continue to cover the unfunded MAP grants as it and the other U of I campuses have done in the past. That will total $2.4 million for 742 students this academic year.

"It's a tough time for students to worry and stress, so when it's time to register for classes, we told students to go ahead and register because we will cover that MAP grant," said UIS spokesman Derek Schnapp. "We've had to dip into reserves, we've done a lot of cost-cutting everywhere we can, and that's how we are continuing to move on.

"It would help the anxiety of many students and families if a state budget could come forward and higher education is fully funded. It would take a lot of pressure off of a lot of families in Illinois."

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on March 6, 2017.

Read the story online. 

Monday, March 6, 2017

College Report

Alexandria Quarton, of Litchfield, took fifth in the second heat of the 800-meter run at the Illinois College Alumni Classic, which was held at King Field House.

The University of Illinois Springfield freshman finished with a time of 2 minutes, 39.86 seconds.

UIS took sixth with 23 points. Washington University won the meet with 163 points.

This story appeared in The Journal-News on March 6, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

People in the News: Meagan Cass

Meagan Cass, assistant English professor at the University of Illinois Springfield, recently was awarded the Katherine Porter Prize for her short story collection "ActivAmerica."

Her work will be published by the University of North Texas Press in November.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on March 3, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Information on immigration

On Tuesday, March 7, the University of Illinois at Springfield will present a panel discussion designed to clear up myths associated with immigration and provide a clearer understanding of the hotly-contested subject.

Panelists Adriana Crocker, UIS Associate Professor of Political Science; Anette Sikka, UIS Assistant Professor in the Legal Studies Department; and Yona Stamatis, UIS Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology will discuss the history of United States immigration, the United States’ current immigration policy, the effects of immigrant populations on American culture, and how border patrol efforts fail to deter immigrants from coming to work in America.

This article appeared in the Illinois Times on March 2, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Men's Basketball: UIS finishes the season

The season ended February 23 for former Bloomfield standout Brandon Van Sant and the University of Illinois Springfield Prairie Stars, an NCAA Division II school. They defeated McKendree University 83-75 to finish the season 9-18, 4-14 in Great Lakes Valley Conference play.

In seven minutes of action against McKendree, Van Sant missed both of his shots, but stole the ball once. He played 19 games for the Prairie Stars, starting three.

Van Sant averaged 15.5 minutes of action per game. Van Sant shot 33-71 from the field, including 8-17 from three-point range, and 19-23 from the line to score 93 points.

The former Cardinal also grabbed 68 rebounds, dished out six assists, swiped the ball seven times, and blocked five shots.

This article appeared in the Greene County Daily World on March 2, 2017.

Read the entire story online.

34,000 Pillows casting a spotlight on immigration reform

“34,000 Pillows” at UIS are helping to cast a spotlight on immigration reform.

The new exhibit, featuring their latest project, "34,000 Pillows", opened at the University of Illinois Springfield Visual Arts Gallery Thursday.

It's titled, Safe Harbor, Work By Diaz Lewis, and was developed in response to the congressional mandate enforcing immigration and customs enforcement to detain at least 34,000 immigrants every day in over 250 private prisons and county jails across the country.

"Safe harbor; A harbor is a place where a ship can come into and be safe during a storm, and that's what we're hoping for the immigrant community as well," artist Cara Megan Lewis said.

The exhibit will run through Thursday, April 13. Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on March 2, 2017.

Watch the story online.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Men's Baseball: Stars' Howard wins weekly award

University of Illinois Springfield junior Ethan Howard has been named the Great Lakes Valley Conference Pitcher of the Week.

Howard, a transfer from Kirkwood Community College, earned his first career win last Saturday by throwing a complete game in a 9-0 win against Oakland City. He struck out seven, allowed three hits and walked one in seven innings.

The Prophetstown native retired eight of the first nine and 14 of the last 15 batters he faced. He allowed only one runner to reach second base. He has not given up an earned run in two appearances and nine innings.

Howard is the first UIS pitcher to receive the award since Barry Arnett earned the honor is March 2014.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on March 1, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Women's Basketball: Stars’ Cunningham, Ramsey receive all-GLVC honors

University of Illinois Springfield players Syerra Cunningham and Destiny Ramsey were named Wednesday to the Great Lakes Valley Conference third team.

Cunningham, a senior center from Beach Park, led the GLVC in rebounds and holds the UIS career record with 744. She averaged 11.7 points per game and 10.8 rebounds per game. She set three single-season rebounding program records, including 282 rebounds as a senior. She is the only GLVC player in the lead who averaged a double-double. She ranked fifth in the GLVC with 34 blocks.

Ramsey, a junior forward and Illinois Central College transfer, averaged a team-high 12.1 points per game and was first with 44 steals. She was second with 5.7 rebounds per game and 32 blocks. She averaged 1.8 assists per game. Ramsey was one of the GLVC players to rank in the top 10 in steals (1.7) and blocks (1.2). Ramsey also was nominated for the James R. Spalding Sportsmanship Award.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on March 1, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Visual Arts Gallery: Safe Harbor: Work by Diaz Lewis Opening Reception

The University of Illinois Springfield Visual Arts Gallery presents "Safe Harbor: Work by Diaz Lewis". Diaz Lewis - the collaborative duo comprised of Alejandro Figueredo Diaz-Perera and Cara Megan Lewis - creates art that address themes of immigration and prompts social change.

The exhibit, featuring their latest project, "34,000 Pillows", will open with a reception on Thursday, March 2 and run through Thursday, April 13.

In conjunction with their exhibition reception, Diaz Lewis will present a UIS Engaged Citizen Common Experience (ECCE) lecture titled "Diaz Lewis: Artivism and Immigration Reform" on March 2 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in Brookens Auditorium.

Their talk will center on "34,000 Pillows" which was developed in response to the Congressional "detention-bed mandate," a statutory quota that enforces Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to detain at least 34,000 immigrants every day in over 250 private prisons and county jails across the country.

To materialize the human impact of the mandate, Diaz Lewis is creating a pillow to represent every designated bed and each immigrant detained as a result of the mandate. The pillows are comprised of articles of clothing donated by undocumented immigrants, prior detainees, and their allies. In an attempt to symbolically "buy back" the 34,000 beds for one single day, 100% of the funds raised from sales of the pillows are going towards alternatives to the bed mandate, and organizations whose efforts restore human dignity such as Human Rights Watch and Interfaith Committee for Detained Immigrants.

"Safe Harbor: Work by Diaz Lewis" prompts participation from our campus community and beyond. "34,000 Pillows" is an open invitation to anyone who wants to contribute to the process by creating a pillow design, donating clothing, deconstructing clothing, or purchasing a pillow. Since the project's inception in early 2016, over 300 students and individuals have participated in the project by bringing donations of materials and participating in the creation of pillow designs. A design workstation will be located directly outside of the UIS Visual Arts Gallery throughout the exhibition run and is open to the public.

This story appeared in The Illinois Times on March 2, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

UIS Friday Night Star Parties resume March 17

The University of Illinois Springfield's popular Friday Night Star Parties will resume this month.

Those dates include: March 17, 24 and 31. Friday Night Star Parties are held from 8 to 10 p.m., weather permitting, at the UIS observatory on the roof of Brookens Library. Star Parties are hosted by John Martin, UIS associate professor of astronomy/physics.

The observatory's telescopes will be used to view a number of celestial objects including Mars, the moon, the Great Nebula in Orion and other double stars and star clusters when visible.

A typical Star Party begins with a presentation as visitors ascend the stairs to the observatory, learning about galaxies, the sun and stars along the way. On the roof observation deck, visitors are invited to view the skies through telescopes and ask questions.

The entrance to the campus observatory is outside Brookens Library on the southeast corner of the building. Star Parties may be canceled because of cloudy weather. Questions about whether the weather is suitable for viewing should be directed to 217-206-8342 at 7 p.m. on the evening of the Star Party.

Participants may also follow the UIS Observatory on Twitter (@UISObservatory) for updates.

For more information on Star Parties, email John Martin at jmart5@uis.edu.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on March 1, 2017.

Read the entire article online.



Wednesday, March 1, 2017

O’Fallon native wins award

O’Fallon native Megan Swett was a staff member of The Journal, the student newspaper at the University of Illinois Springfield, which won five awards in an annual Illinois College Press Association competition.

Awards were presented at the association’s annual convention, held Feb. 17 and 18 in Chicago. Entries, which were judged by professional journalists throughout the state, from spring and fall semesters last year were recognized.

Swett, Journal editor-in-chief, received honorable mention for the fall 2016 article, “Celebrating Queertober: AroAce student discusses her identity, her relationships, and the LGBT+ community.”

This story appeared in the Belleville News-Democrat on February 28, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Public affairs hall welcoming Springfield, Chicago, KC trio

Three journalists from Springfield, Chicago and Kansas City will be inducted into the Public Affairs Reporting Hall of Fame at the University of Illinois Springfield on March 6, the school announced recently.

Kansas City Star reporter Scott Canon, Chicago Tribune reporter Michael Hawthorne, and former State Journal-Register editor and reporter Mike Kienzler all graduated from UIS's public affairs program.

Canon, a 1982 alumnus, has covered local and international events and produced investigative pieces at the Star since 1989. He started his journalism career at the Champaign News-Gazette and the Santa Barbara News-Press.

Hawthorne, a 1989 graduate, is an investigative reporter at the Tribune. He and two colleagues were Pulitzer Prize finalists in 2013 for a series on the tobacco and chemical industries’ collusion to minimize safety standards in household furnishings. He has also worked at the Cincinnati Enquirer, Columbus Dispatch, Champaign News-Gazette and Daytona Beach News-Journal.

Kienzler, part of PAR’s first graduating class in 1973, spent close to 40 years with the Journal-Register, the state capital's daily newspaper, mostly overseeing government and election coverage as the metro editor. He retired in 2013, but continues to work on the Illinois State Historical Society Advisory Board.

This story appeared in the Sangamon Sun on February 27, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Monday, February 27, 2017

A look ahead at the UIS tennis, track and field and golf seasons

A fast look at the other UIS spring sports:

Women's Tennis: University of Illinois Springfield junior Jane Carter is enjoying another strong year.

The Prairie Stars' No. 1 player has an 8-2 singles record. Carter could very well earn All-Great Lakes Valley Conference honor for the third consecutive year. Carter, a native of New Zealand, was the GLVC Freshman of the Year in 2015.

Track and field:  2017 is the inaugural track and field season for the University of Illinois Springfield men's squad. The men's season kicks off with a road race March 11 in Florida.

It's year two for UIS women's team, which will compete in the Great Lakes Valley Conference Indoor Championships Feb.25-26 in Indianapolis. In their last outing, all seven UIS female athletes that competed in the Grand Valley State Big Meet set personal records. "We went from being the best of the slower teams to the back of the better teams with the good job that we did last weekend," UIS track and cross country coach Mike De Witt said.

Rochester High School graduate and UIS junior Krissy Finley ranks fourth in the 800 among GLVC runners.

Golf: Keep an eye out for University of Illinois Springfield senior men's golfers Talon Supak and Nathan Goecks.

Supak won a NCAA Division II Regional and became the first UIS golfer to qualify for the national championships last spring. He earned all-Great Lakes Valley Conference honors and was named to the Golf Coaches Association of America PING.

Goecks, was named Great Lakes Valley Conference Men's Golfer of the Week last October.

Three questions with UIS senior women's golfer Jocelyn Matsen. The Rochester High School graduate was named Great Lakes Valley Conference Women's Golfer of the Week in October 2016.

Five Key Dates To Catch The Stars:
March 17 – Baseball vs. Robert Morris University at UIS Field, 3 p.m.
April 1 – Tennis vs. Indianapolis at Washington Park, 2 p.m.
April 15 – Baseball vs. Quincy at UIS Field, 3 p.m.
April 22-23 – Women's golf hosts UIS Spring Invite at Panther Creek Country Club, all day
April 28 – Track and field in Illinois College Twilight Meet at Jacksonville, 5 p.m.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on February 25, 2017.

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Women's Softball: A look ahead at the UIS softball season

Here's a quick preview of the Prairie Stars' 2017 season.

UIS is coming off a 24-26 season last year. The Stars tied for eighth in the conference and missed receiving a spot in the GLVC tournament via a tiebreaker.

On the roster, Guthrie has added power to the lineup by bringing in sophomore first baseman/outfielder Morgan Edwards, junior utility player Makayla Walsh, junior pitcher/third baseman Ali Haesele.

In the polls The Stars were voted to finish eighth out of 16 teams in the GLVC preseason coaches poll released in January.

Staying aggressive Being aggressive on the bases is a priority for the University of Illinois Springfield softball team, resulting in the Prairie Stars being ranked first in stolen bases in the Great Lakes Valley Conference the past two seasons. They racked up 78 stolen bases in 93 attempts in 2016.

Sophomore infielder Haley Inman, who stole 21 bases, and senior catcher/outfielder Amanda Gosbeth, who had 19, return for the Stars. "We have some big power hitters, but we also have some kids that we recruited just because of their speed," UIS softball coach Shannon Nicholson Guthrie said.

The Stars lost 115 hits, 18 home runs and 46 runs due to graduation loss, but Guthrie is confident they can make up for it. "We have more left-handed batters so I think our hitting will be a little bit more dynamic," she said. "I think that'll really help our offense."

University of Illinois Springfield sophomore outfielder Madi Torry, a graduate of Glenwood High School, is one of only two returning softball players who appeared in all 50 games last year. Torry led the team in at-bats and hit .250 and stole 12 bases.

The senior second baseman and Chatham Glenwood High School graduate, BriAnna Edgar, is No. 3 on the team. "I'm always the person that has a smile on their face. I like to keep my teammates up and positive."

Sophomore pitcher, Jaycee Craver was named Great Lakes Valley Conference Pitcher of the Week several days before the 2016 season ended. Craver finished 10th in the conference in strikeouts with 121 in 164 innings. "You go from high school where it's just get strikeout after strikeout to this level where you have to realize you have to let your defense do work, and you have to trust your defense. The trust in team got a lot better because I realized I didn't have to do all the work."

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on February 25, 2017.

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Men's Baseball: A look ahead at the UIS baseball season

Here's a quick look at the Prairie Stars entering the 2017 season.

Last season, University of Illinois Springfield hit the fourth most home runs out of 16 baseball teams in the Great Lakes Valley Conference. The Prairie Stars hit 44 home runs en route to finishing 28-23 overall and 15-13 in the league.

There are three all-conference players on the roster: senior right fielder/left fielder Trey Hannam, sophomore catcher John Sechen and junior first baseman Michael Rothmund.

In the polls UIS was voted in the GLVC coaches preseason poll to finish sixth out of eight teams in the GLVC East Division.

The Stars went 0-2 at the conference tournament last May. What coach Chris Ramirez said "Looking back at the fall, I think we have the chance to once again have one of the better offenses in the GLVC. I think we have a chance to be even more powerful and more run producing offense. Our lineup has a lot more depth than it did last year."

A senior outfielder, Austin Muench is the Stars' leading returning hitter. He hit .350 in 2016, drove in 19 runs and led the team in stolen bases with 10. "Last year I started off terrible. I got benched early in the season. Then all of a sudden something clicked and I started hitting the ball like I should. Hopefully that keeps going this spring.

Aaron Kuper, a catcher last year, pointed something out. Midway through the season I really started getting in a rhythm."

A senior outfielder, Trey Hannam was a Great Lakes Valley Conference first-team pick last season.
He was among the conference leaders with 12 home runs and RBIs with 44. "(Last year) We split every (conference) series. We would show up to every conference weekend and win every first game, then we'd have a letdown the second game. I think this year we're going to have better leadership, and be able to keep the tempo and keep the foot on their throats."

Sophomore catcher John Sechen was voted to the Great Lakes Valley Conference second team as a freshman. He had a .462 on-base percentage and hit .346 for the third best batting average on the team. "Since I'm a catcher, it's highly recommended to do yoga. I'm more flexible than a lot of these guys. I went to a couple of free major league tryouts and I learned from major league tryouts that yoga is a huge deal when you catch because you have to be so flexible behind the plate."

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on February 25, 2017.

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Women's Softball: Stroup leads Stars

Erin Stroup had three hits, including two doubles, in the University of Illinois Springfield's 6-1 win against Findlay at the Lewis Flyers Dome Invitational Saturday.

The Prairie Stars' Morgan Edwards and Katie Wooldridge collected two hits apiece.

Teammate Amanda Gosbeth stole two bases and drove in a run in the first of two games for UIS. 

UIS' Jaycee Craver allowed one run and three hits in seven innings.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on February 25, 2017.

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UIS baseball players enjoy new class on national pastime

The University of Illinois Springfield is offering a course focused on America's pastime: baseball. 

Several UIS baseball players are enrolled this semester in Baseball: An Interdisciplinary Approach.

The class teaches baseball through economics, history, politics, technology and culture. "I said, 'Absolutely. Sign me up," explained UIS senior outfielder Trey Hannam. "We started off in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It really wasn't even baseball yet. Foul balls were hits back then, so it's really crazy to think about that. They even had an African-American playing back then in the 1800s."

The course counts for four credit hours. "We've talked about Babe Ruth and the Black Sox Scandal," Muench said. "Then it keeps going and makes it way up to modern day."

Sophomore catcher John Sechen is enjoying the historical perspective. "It is fascinating how the game of baseball has changed," he said. "If you look at the ball and what it used to be, it was nothing with laces. It looked kind of like a cricket ball. It didn't have any seams."

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on February 25, 2017.

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UIS student union about half done; January opening planned

Students at the University of Illinois Springfield voted 432-109 in April 2012 to raise fees toward the now $21.7 million estimated cost of a Student Union to be constructed south of the Main Quad and major academic buildings.

Opening is planned for January 2018.

Here are project highlights:

What will be included? -- The 50,000-square-foot center has two levels and a mezzanine. Features will include a lounge, game room, food-service operations, sports grill, convenience store, Welcome Desk, Student Leadership Center, meeting and conference rooms, and a ballroom; there also will be outdoor seating and fire pits. Starbucks plans a cafe on the mezzanine level.

Will it be open to the public? -- Yes. In addition to serving as a gathering place for students and faculty, the ballroom, conference areas and meeting rooms will be available for community events.

How is the building designed? -- Chief design firm Dewberry Architects of Peoria describes an "open" look with large, transparent spaces, outside terracing, multi-use areas, and a two-story open lounge. The center will have a "living roof" of vegetation -- likely wildflowers -- on a sloped membrane that also will provide insulation. The Student Union also will have a rainwater reclamation system.

Where does construction stand? -- The project is about 50 percent complete, with much of the exterior finished.

What will become of the existing Public Affairs Center? -- The university is considering new uses for the PAC, once the Student Union is completed.

The state of Illinois has no budget. Who is paying? -- An increase in student fees and other existing funds will cover approximately $13.7 million of the cost, with fundraising covering $8 million. Higher student fees take effect when the Student Union opens.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on February 26, 2017.

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Saturday, February 25, 2017

Dance Marathon helps benefit Children's Miracle Network

University of Illinois Springfield students got their groove on Friday night, to raise money for the Children's Miracle Network.

They took part in a dance marathon, as part of a fundraising campaign for St. John's Children's Hospital in Springfield.

The marathon features a number of different performances, and six families who benefited from the CMN also shared their stories throughout the night. "We do this because you know, we are trying to support our local children's hospital. We want to show that we're helping our community and show that we are here for these children," said Leanna Kehl, director of the dance marathon.

UIS Students have raised money for the campaign throughout the year.

This article appeared on Fox 55 on February 24, 2017.

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Friday, February 24, 2017

Women's Basketball: Balanced Stars win season finale

Syerra Cunningham led four University of Illinois Springfield scorers in double figures Thursday night as the Prairie Stars closed their season with a 62-45 win over McKendree in a Great Lakes Valley Conference game at The Recreation and Athletic Center.

It gave the Prairie Stars a 9-17 overall record, and they finished 3-15 in the GLVC.

Cunningham also grabbed 11 rebounds for UIS.

UIS built a 27-23 halftime lead, then stretched it to 45-33 after three quarters.

Caroline Kelty and Shelby Patterson added 13 points apiece for the Stars, with Kelty also getting six rebounds. Tehya Fortune hit three 3-point field goals and finished with 11 points for UIS.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on February 23, 2017.

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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Trockadero brings the laughs to classical ballet

For most people, ballet often evokes images of graceful women in large tutus flitting across a stage to tragically beautiful music.

But Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo is putting that image on its head. The dance company, colloquially known as Trockadero or Trock, is made up entirely of men. And in an attempt to not take itself too seriously, the troupe performs many of the classic ballets everyone knows and loves, but does so as a parody.

The Trockadero is bringing its brand of ballet fun to Sangamon Auditorium at the University of Illinois Springfield on Sunday.

The performance will include classical pieces that everyone knows, like Swan Lake and Don Quixote. There will also be another surprise element that will be announced the night of the performance.

Though nowadays, the Trockadero dance company is made up of very serious dancers, the origins of the troupe go back to the '70s with a group of amateurs who just loved dance. It used to be a group of men who loved dance and loved to get in drag, and they put on performances in a basement for a late night show. But the performances started to grow in popularity, so the men who were a part of it started taking on more traditional aspects of ballet, like hiring ballet mistresses and trainers.

"It started off as an amateur thing back in the '70s, but it's evolved so much that it's a very refined dance performance," said company dancer Alberto Pretto.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on Feburary 22, 2017.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

UIS women's golf team finishes 11th in Texas

Senior Jocelyn Matsen led the University of Illinois Springfield to an 11th-place finish in the 15-team St. Edwards Invitational that concluded Tuesday at Onion Creek Club.

It was the first event of the Prairie Stars' spring schedule.

Matsen, a Rochester High School graduate, shot a 77 Tuesday after carding a 76 in Monday's opening round. Her 153 total was good for a 27th-place tie among 85 golfers.

UIS had a 319 total Tuesday after a 318 on Monday, with the Stars' 637 total just one stroke behind 10th-place Texas A&M-Commerce.

Other UIS scores included Maria Espinosa's 79 on Tuesday for a 160 total, tying her for 44th place. Teammates Brooke Hill and Sara Posada tied for 61st at 160, and Taryn Pittman finished 68th with a 166.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on February 21, 2017.

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Monday, February 20, 2017

Making career connections at UIS

Thursday afternoon, hundreds came out to the University of Illinois Springfield for its Annual Career Connections Expo.

The expo is intended to bring students, alumni, community members and employers together to discuss career opportunities and build professional connections.

Organizers tell us this is the best chance for students to begin the process of landing a job.

"That opportunity to meet with someone face to face, to ask questions offline, to be able to get feedback about type of skills that employers are looking for, the type of experiences they are looking for, those conversations are truly valuable," Kristin Nisbet-White with the UIS Career Development Center said. "And we're hoping that students can come out and really gather that valuable information today."

The event is hosted by the career services office at UIS and Lincoln Land Community College.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on February 16, 2017.

Watch the story online.

UIS provides shuttle bus service to downtown

University of Illinois Springfield students have a new option to get to downtown nightlife on the weekends. Free rides between campus and the bars in the heart of Springfield on Friday and Saturday nights began in January.

A 16-person shuttle runs every hour between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., and riders must have a valid student ID. The plan is to have the shuttle run through the end of the semester in May.

The service gives students the chance to get off campus and enjoy downtown, said Student Government Association president Austin Mehmet.

The student organization is funding the service with $3,000, with Downtown Springfield Inc. and three local bars/nightclubs chipping in another $3,000, according to Mehmet.

In an emailed statement, a university administrator emphasized that the SGA is an independent organization that receives no state or university funds. "The University recognizes the Student Government Association's goal is to enhance the safety of their peers by arranging for safe and reliable transportation to and from downtown establishments during the weekends," wrote Clarice Ford, UIS interim vice chancellor for student affairs.

Mehmet said student reaction has been positive so far. "I think they're appreciative of the fact that we're trying to provide transposition to local bars without the risk of drunk driving or a $13 Uber ride both ways," Mehmet said.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on February 17, 2017.

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