Thursday, April 19, 2018

Springfest underway at UIS

Happening this week is the 26th annual Springfest at the University of Illinois Springfield.

Springfest is a way for students and even teachers to get their mind off all the work and have some fun.

Most of these activities take place after 9 p.m., giving students a chance to get all their class work done first.

Some of the activities include scavenger hunts and sports and games.

Aside from this being a stress buster, students say this also gives them a chance to work on some team building skills. "It's everyday from 9 to 11 at night so it's not like it clashes with your classes, so you can do your classes and come back and spend time with your friends ans just have fun," said Suparna Banerjee, UIS traditions coordinator for UIS Student Activity Committee.

This story aired on Fox 55 on April 18, 2018.

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Men's Baseball: Stars ranked fifth in national poll

The University of Illinois Springfield baseball team jumped one spot to No.5 in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association NCAA Division II national poll released Wednesday.

UIS is 31-4 and has won 23 consecutive games.

The Prairie Stars are 12-0 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference.

They are in first place in the seven-team GLVC East Division.

The Stars are No. 1 in the Midwest Region rankings, No. 8 in Collegiate Baseball poll and No. 11 in Perfect Game poll.

According to Division II statistics, UIS is fourth in the nation in earned run average (2.62) and ninth in batting average (.331).

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on April 18, 2018.

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Women's Softball: UIS earns No. 18 NFCA ranking

University of Illinois Springfield’s softball team is ranked 18th in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division II national poll.

The Prairie Stars made their first-ever appearance in the polls last week at 25th.

UIS is in first place in the 15-team Great Lakes Valley Conference standings with a 17-3 conference record.

The Stars are 30-11.

Rankings in the Midwest Region were released for the first time this season on Wednesday. UIS is No. 2 behind first-place Grand Valley State.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on April 18, 2018.

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Monday, April 16, 2018

UIS students to clean-up litter around Lake Springfield

University of Illinois Springfield students are surveying and cleaning along the shoreline of Lake Springfield.

Students from Environmental Studies classes will spend Thursday picking up litter along the shoreline as part of a class project.

They plan to study the trash to determine how contaminants could impact the lake's ecosystem. 

Students will also be conducting the same survey at Thompson Lake in May along the Illinois River in Fulton County.

They will be using the UIS Therkildsen Field Station at Emiquon to conduct their research.

This story aired on WAND TV on April 12, 2018.

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Men's Golf: Host UIS wins 11-team tourney

The University of Illinois Springfield’s Jaime Kreisler finished fifth and teammate James Scagell tied for sixth at the UIS Spring Invitational at Panther Creek Country Club.

UIS placed first out of 11 teams and won the team title with 599 strokes. It shot 293 and 306 for the two days.

Kreisler had rounds of 69 and 80 for a 149. Scagell shot 76 and 74 for 150.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on April 15, 2018.

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Women's Softball: No. 25 UIS softball beats Rangers

Ali Haesele struck out 12 batters and allowed five hits in a 11-1 six inning win for No. 25 University of Illinois Springfield against Wisconsin-Parkside in a Great Lakes Valley Conference doubleheader Sunday.  She also hit 2-for-4 and drove in two runs.

Lakyn Wagoner was 3-for-4 with a RBI.

In the second game, UIS got past the Rangers 10-8.

Haesele was 3-for-5 with a RBI. Bree Derhake had three hits and three RBIs for the Prairie Stars.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on April 15, 2018.

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Men's Baseball: UIS baseball picks up 21st straight victory

No. 6 University of Illinois Springfield posted its 21st consecutive win as it defeated McKendree 15-4 in a Great Lakes Valley Conference baseball doubleheader Friday.

The Prairie Stars escaped with a 11-10 victory in the first game.

UIS has a 29-4 overall record and is 10-0 in the GLVC.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on April 13, 2018.

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Friday, April 13, 2018

Women's Softball: UIS softball ranked for first time in school history

The University of Illinois Springfield softball team has earned the program a national ranking for the first time, a feat not even accomplished by the 2012 squad that reached the championship round of the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional.

UIS debuted at No. 25 in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division II national poll Wednesday.

It received votes in last week’s poll.

A 14-2 record has the Prairie Stars at the top of the 15-team Great Lakes Valley Conference standings. UIS is 27-10 overall with a seven-game win streak. It has posted 14 victories in the last 15 games.

“They’re doing a lot of things well,” UIS coach Shannon Nicholson Guthrie said. “The main two things are pitching and hitting. With our hitters, it’s somebody different every week that’s stepping up. We have nice offense one through nine and a couple off the bench.”

UIS is leading the GLVC in team batting average, hitting .319 as at team. It has the fifth best team earned run average with a 3.04 average.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on April 12, 2018.

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Thursday, April 12, 2018

UIS holds active shooter drill

At the University of Illinois in Springfield Wednesday, students, and faculty received the following text message: "UIS alert! This is an active shooter drill. Shelter-in-place immediately. This is only a drill." 

UIS warned the drill would come a few months ago but didn't give an exact date. 

Alerts were also sent via email, social media, and other various ways to make sure as many people on campus were reached.

Students say given recent school shootings these drills couldn't be more important than right now.

"I think if we practice with these drills and we do it more often then we'll get people to actually think about it so if it actually happens we'll be prepared," said UIS freshman Andrew Cunningham.

Now that the drill is complete, evaluators will sit down with school officials to see what other improvements could be made to their safety plan.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on April 11, 2018.

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Men's Tennis: Stars’ Clarke, Martinez ranked in doubles

University of Illinois Springfield duo Sam Clarke and Tommy Martinez is ranked No. 32 in the Oracle/Intercollegiate Tennis Association Division II men’s national doubles rankings released Wednesday.

Clarke, a junior, and Martinez, a freshman, were previously ranked 23rd. They’ve teamed up for a 14-6 record.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on April 11, 2018.

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Men's Baseball: UIS ranked sixth in nation

The University of Illinois Springfield continues its climb through the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association NCAA Division II national poll and is ranked sixth.

UIS (27-4 overall, 8-0 Great Lakes Valley Conference) was ranked 10th last week.

It is in the poll for the fourth straight week after debuting at No. 25.

In other polls, UIS is ranked 11th by Collegiate Baseball and Perfect Game.

The Prairies Stars are No. 1 in the NCBWA Midwest Region rankings.

UIS is on a 19-game win streak and is in first place in the seven-team GLVC East Division standings. The Stars have won 27 of their last 28 games.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on April 11, 2018.

Read the entire article online.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Men's Golf: UIS places 3rd at invite

University of Illinois Springfield’s Louis Bagur and Jaime Kreisler tied for eighth and shot 225 at the 58-player Kentucky Wesleyan College Panther Invite.

Bagur had rounds of 76, 75 and 74 at the Pearl Club. Kreisler shot 75, 73 and 77.

UIS was third at 909.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on April 10, 2018.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Volunteers make bookmarks to encourage kids to read

The United Way of Central Illinois has partnered with the University of Illinois Springfield, Springfield Southeast High School Key Club, Wells Fargo Home Lending, Illinois National Bank, and U.S. Bank to provide handmade bookmarks to Springfield Public Schools.

Children through fifth grade will receive bookmarks.

More than 200 volunteers spent more than 388 hours making monster-themed bookmarks to encourage students to read.

Volunteers were on hand Monday morning to welcome students back from Spring Break and distribute bookmarks.

This story aired on WAND TV on April 9, 2018.

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Monday, April 9, 2018

UIS baseball, softball firing on all cylinders

The University of Illinois Springfield baseball and softball teams are red hot.

UIS is No. 10 in the NCAA Division II baseball poll, has posted 19 straight wins and is first in the Great Lakes Valley Conference East Division.

The Prairie Stars’ record of 27-4 and 8-0 are the best in the conference. They’ve also won 27 out of their last 28 games.

UIS’ softball team received votes in last week’s national poll and have a strong shot at breaking into the Top 25 this week.

UIS is in first place in the 15-team GLVC standings with a 14-2 conference record. The Stars are 27-10 overall and are riding a seven-game win streak. They’ve won 14 of their last 15.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on April 8, 2018.

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‘Rent,’ ‘Spamalot’ and ‘Sound of Music’ coming to Sangamon Auditorium

If there’s one overarching theme for the next year at Sangamon Auditorium at the University of Illinois Springfield, it’s that of change.

Perhaps the biggest change is one in leadership — Sangamon Auditorium has a new director, Bryan Rives. He started six months ago after the previous director, Bob Vaughn, announced his retirement. 

“Now I’m at a point where ... we really have a direction of where we want to go in the future and take the auditorium,” he said.

But some traditions — especially around the Broadway series — will endure.

The 2018-19 Broadway season for Sangamon Auditorium starts in November and includes “Spamalot,” the 20th anniversary touring show of “Rent,” “Rock of Ages,” “The Sound of Music,” “The King and I” and “Finding Neverland.”

Another change is one of pricing. In the past, the tickets for the Broadway shows would sometimes start at $77, but the range this year goes from balcony seats at $49 to closer seats of up to $89.

Given the budget constraints of UIS, Rives wants to bring shows with wide appeal to the audience in central Illinois. “If we were to bring in some fringe arts groups or unknown artists into a 2,000-seat auditorium that only attracts 200 people, that’s essentially the community voting and saying that’s not really what we’re looking for,” Rives said.

The new approach also means more flexibility. In the past, Sangamon Auditorium would announce a season of about 20 shows spanning three different categories: Broadway, Visiting Artists and Kitchen Sink. This year, Rives and his staff wanted to approach programming by stepping away from a season that has a set beginning and end to move toward a model that goes all year long.

This flexibility means there are more options for bigger shows. “We’re able to be open to any show at any time,” Rives said.

Some of the other changes at Sangamon Auditorium will include transformations to the auditorium itself. During the summer, it will shut down to do some routine maintenance and renovations to some of the backstage areas. There are tentative plans to give the lobby a facelift and other plans to make the evening’s entertainment start long before the audience even gets to the UIS campus.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on April 6, 2018.

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U of Illinois Begins public awareness advertising campaign

The University of Illinois System is launching a statewide marketing campaign to increase public awareness of its three universities as part of a multi-billion dollar fundraising campaign.

University officials say the campaign responds to public opinion surveys that show only half of Illinois residents believed the system significantly contributes to the state's economy.

Many respondents were also unable to identify the system's three main university locations in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield.

The initiative also comes as the public university system is in the midst of a 5 year campaign to raise $3.1 billion.

Jim Moore is president of the University of Illinois Foundation. He says broadcasting the university system's achievements and impact will attract donors.

This story appeared in U.S. News and World Report on April 9, 2018.

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Second annual Food Ruck 3K benefits charities

The 2nd Annual Food Ruck 3K is a fun run but also benefits two charity organizations in Springfield.
Both veterans and students at the University of Illinois Springfield took on a cross county course while carrying a backpack full of canned goods and toiletries.

The event is put on by the military and veterans club at UIS. Organizers said at the end of the day it's about one thing, bringing people together.

UIS Military and Veterans Club leader Ashti Dawson said. “It's just a really great opportunity to support the community."

The money raised and donated items will go to the Central Illinois Foodbank and the Fifth Street Renaissance.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on April 7, 2018.

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Friday, April 6, 2018

U of I officials seek increased state funding

The university system — which includes campuses in Chicago, Urbana and Springfield — is seeking $681 million in appropriations from the state. This is an increase from $583 million in the budget year that ended last June and $650 million in the year that ends this June. And it is much more than the $588 million Gov. Rauner proposed in his budget.

“Because of the budget impasse, we’ve taken a bit of a reputational hit in the last couple of years and we need to go back on the offense in terms of recruiting and retaining world-class scholars and talented researchers, so we’re seeking some support to do that,” President Timothy Killeen said.

UIS Chancellor Susan Koch called the request “very reasonable.”

“It has set high goals to grow all three of our campuses, including UIS, with the intent to make a University of Illinois degree even more accessible to Illinois residents,” Koch said. “And the appropriation is key to doing that.”

Though enrollment numbers at Springfield were down slightly this school year, Koch said she is encouraged by a 35 percent uptick in applications. She said the goal is to grow UIS by 1,000 students in the next few years.

“Solid financial support from the state is key to doing that,” Koch said.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on April 6, 2018.

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D2 Baseball: Illinois-Springfield Finding Success Through A Simple Message

The Prairie Stars from Illinois-Springfield have never been nationally ranked, won their conference championship, or made it into the NCAA Tournament.

But so far this season, it seems all that is bound to change with UIS currently 23-4 through April 4, following an 0-3 start to their season. That's 23 wins in their last 24 games to put themselves firmly in the conversation as one of the best teams in D2 Baseball right now.

What has been the secret to the huge run of success that has seen the team build separate winning streaks of eight and fifteen games? A simple message from head coach Chris Ramirez: "Do what it takes to win now, then do what it takes to win later."

The story was reported by HERO Sports on April 6, 2018.

Read the full story online.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

New director plans changes for Sangamon Auditorium

Bryan Rives took over as director of Sangamon Auditorium in October 2017 and has been busy for the past six months reimagining the 40-year-old, 2,005-seat venue both physically and conceptually. His plans include a revamped approach to booking and some long-overdue renovations as well as an upcoming overall rebranding.

“It’s been going fantastic,” said Rives during a recent conversation in his office in the Public Affairs Center on the campus of University of Illinois Springfield, which also houses the auditorium. “The staff here is wonderful, the university administration is very supportive. They are definitely looking for us to build on the past success and to present a wide range of shows.”

Increased attendance and more fiscal responsibility are high on his list of priorities. “We need to focus on presenting shows that will attract a large audience – at our capacity, it’s not a good feeling for the performing artists, or for the audience, when only 300 people come for the show.” He explained that there is a large amount of financial risk every time the auditorium presents a show. “Jazz at Lincoln Center and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater were both incredible performances with high artistic quality,” he said, “and I’m glad they were presented here. But each of them came at a financial loss of about $25,000. That’s two shows, a total of maybe four hours of entertainment, that ended up costing the university $50,000.”

The story was reported by the Illinois Times on April 5, 2018.

Read the full story online. 

Baseball: UIS ranked 10th in NCBWA Division II

The University of Illinois Springfield baseball team is ranked 10th in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association NCAA Division II poll and No. 1 in the Midwest Region rankings.

UIS was ranked 21st in last week’s NCBWA poll.

The Prairie Stars (23-4 overall, 4-0 Great Lakes Valley Conference) are ranked in other polls. They are No. 15 in the Collegiate Baseball poll. UIS is ranked 14th by Perfect Game.

UIS has a 15-game win streak. It has 23 wins in the last 24 games. The Stars have an important four-game GLVC series this weekend against Indianapolis at UIS Field. The Greyhounds (17-8, 3-5) were ranked No. 7 in last week’s NCBWA poll, but dropped out of the poll Wednesday.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on April 5, 2018.

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Softball: Stars receive votes in national poll

The University of Illinois Springfield received votes in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association NCAA Division II national poll released Wednesday.

UIS swept then No. 25 McKendree with a pair of Great Lakes Valley Conference wins Saturday.

The Stars are 23-10 overall and 10-2 in the conference, and are at the top of the GLVC standings with Indianapolis. UIS hosts No. 11 Indianapolis (26-6, 10-2) Saturday at the Land of Lincoln Complex.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on April 5, 2018.

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Monday, April 2, 2018

Prairie Stars shine on the playing field and in the classroom

The following is a portion of a guest opinion column written by University of Illinois Springfield Chancellor Susan Koch. It was published in the April 1, 2018, edition of The State Journal-Register.

"Spring’s arrival at the University of Illinois Springfield brings a collective sense of anticipation — trees and flowers coming to life across a beautiful campus, the countdown steadily ticking toward commencement, and (this year for the first time) Starbucks aficionados of all sorts enjoying their favorite beverage on the outdoor plaza at the new Student Union.

On this first day of April 2018 there may be nowhere on campus where that sense of anticipation is more evident (or more intense) than at The Recreation and Athletics Center. TRAC is home to the Prairie Stars, one of about 300 NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletic programs. The program provides more than 250 UIS student-athletes the opportunity to compete at a high level of scholarship athletics at the same time they can earn a University of Illinois degree and contribute in a variety of ways to campus and community life.

At the helm of the Prairie Stars is Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Jim Sarra who, along with talented coaches and staff, has implemented a “BLUEprint for excellence” to advance the young Prairie Stars program. Their mission is to center the student-athlete experience on academic achievement, competitive excellence and community engagement."

Read the full article online.

Baseball: No. 21 Stars hit seven home runs

Kenny Hansen hit two home runs in No. 21 University of Illinois Springfield’s 19-1 win against Robert Morris University at UIS Field.

Hansen hit a homer in the second inning. In the fourth inning, he added a two-run home run. The Prairie Stars finished with seven homers.

UIS has 15 straight wins and a 23-4 overall record.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on March 31, 2018.

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Area colleges: UIS softball sweeps No. 25 McKendree

Ali Haesele struck out 10 batters to lead the University of Illinois Springfield to a 9-5 win against No. 25 McKendree in the first game of a Great Lakes Valley Conference Doubleheader at Chatham Glenwood High School Saturday.

Haesele walked two and allowed 11 hits in seven innings.

Lakyn Wagoner logged three hits, including a two-run home run in the third inning. Morgan Edwards also hit a homer in the inning and UIS led 4-1.

UIS won the second game 5-1. Wickenhauser’s three-run homer put the Stars ahead 3-0 in the fourth.

The Prairie Stars are 23-10 overall and 10-2 in the GLVC.

The win was reported by The State Journal-Register on March 31, 2018.

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UIS annual egg hunt after baseball game

Dozens of kids searched for eggs at the University of Illinois Springfield on Saturday.

The baseball team hosted the annual hunt after their game vs Robert Morris University.

Baseball members helped kids find eggs on the field.

Players said spending time with the kids is the best part of the event. “I hope for some fun after a great win with the boys,” First Baseman Michael Rothmund, “[and] hope for some great fun and interacting with the kids and having a good time.

U.I.S. won 19 to 1 against Robert Morris.

The story was reported by WICS-TV 20 on March 31, 2018.

Watch the story online.