Thursday, October 29, 2015

UIS opens theater season with 'Importance of Being Earnest'

The University of Illinois Springfield is experimenting with time travel in its first of two theater productions of the 2015-16 season. Its production of Oscar Wilde's 1895 comedy "The Importance of Being Earnest", which opens Friday, is set in contemporary London rather than in the Victorian era in which it was written.

Director Eric Thibodeaux-Thompson, UIS associate professor and director of theatre, noted that Wilde did not intend "Earnest" to be a period piece, but a commentary on British society as his audience would have experienced it.

"The play takes place in 'the present,’" Thibodeaux-Thompson said. "We reset it to 2015, and we're pretty convinced it holds up" without much change in the script.

The plot turns on the real and assumed identities of two men: Jack Worthing (Alessandro Vazquez), who pretends to be his prodigal, city-dwelling "brother" Earnest, and Algernon Moncrieff (Christopher Vemagiri Marbaniang), who pretends to have a chronically-ill "friend" named Bunbury who lives in the country.

The tangled relationships between the men, their alter egos and the women who love them — or more precisely love the persons they believe them to be — gradually unravel with humorous results. "This was Wilde's masterpiece, written when he was peaking in his career," Thibodeaux-Thompson said. "He is extremely witty and arguably the most quotable (British) author with the exception of Shakespeare. His quotes are on refrigerators all over America."

Cast members say the main characters are surprisingly easy to envision as milliennials rather than Victorians. Algernon "is a cool dude with an air of knowing everything" and could be described as a "metrosexual" with refined tastes, said Marbaniang. "He's a young guy who loves extravagant living, and believes in the 'you only live once' thing." Jack, meanwhile, represents "old money" as opposed to Algernon's "new money," Vazquez said. "He's not really uppity, but kind of stuffy, and likes things to be in order."

Thiboudeaux-Thompson believes "Earnest" has remained popular for more than a century because it has larger-than-life characters and involves timeless situations such as the generation gap, winning the approval of potential in-laws and divisions between social classes. "It portrays life in a classist society, which America pretends not to be but is," he said. "And it's also genuinely funny."

This article appeared online in The State Journal-Register on October 28, 2015.

Read the entire article here.

Monday, October 26, 2015

UIS Challenge Course teaches trust, teamwork

The "trust fall" typically comes near the end of the newly opened Challenge Course at University of Illinois Springfield. 

Challenges courses, also known as "ropes courses," have been around for decades as teamwork and personal development exercises for groups ranging from athletic teams to corporate human resources departments.

The UIS Challenge Course was built on the grounds of Spencer House, a university-owned home on West Lake Shore Drive. The UIS course is a "low rope," challenge, meaning the network of ropes, cables, platforms, pedestals and beams is low to the ground. A "high rope" course ranges from 25 to 50 feet in the air. While the course would seem to encourage competition, that is not the idea behind the concept, said James Koeppe, director of the UIS Department of Campus Recreation.

"A lot of people think it's like 'Survivor' or some kind of tough physical thing," Koeppe said during a course dedication Wednesday with The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce.

"Through a series of briefings and discussions afterwards, we relate back to how we to do things as a team or back at the office," Koeppe said. "Ideally, what are you going to do differently tomorrow than you did yesterday?"

The UIS course primarily has been targeted toward athletic, student and university groups, but Koeppe said one point of the chamber ribbon-cutting was to begin marketing the course to businesses and not-for-profits. Challenge course designers and vendors have their own professional association.

Participants typically navigate the course in groups of eight to 15. The UIS course has capacity for up to 150. Sessions usually are three to four hours, though all-day challenges are available. The cost is $8 to $50 per person, depending on the type and length of the challenge.

UIS Chancellor Susan Koch said she has completed portions of the course. "Someday we're going to have a high rope course as well as a low rope course," Koch said.

This story appeared online in The State Journal-Register on October 24, 2015.

Read the entire article here.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

UIS hosting ribbon cutting ceremony for new "Challenge Course"

University of Illinois Springfield officials say they will host a ribbon cutting ceremony for its new Challenge Course on October 21.

The new course will be available to athletic teams, local businesses, campus groups, and community groups, and is designed to encourage teamwork, communication, cooperation, trust, respect, and problem solving.

The course consists of several events, some of which happen on the ground, and others that utilize poles, wires, platforms, and ropes elevated a short distance from the ground.

The course requires a minimum of eight people, and has a maximum capacity of 150 people.

This story appeared online on WAND-TV on October 21, 2015.

Read the entire story here.

People in the News

Elizabeth Kosmetatou, associate professor of history at the University of Illinois Springfield, recently was named University Scholar for 2015.

The award, considered the university’s highest faculty honor, recognizes outstanding teaching and scholarship.

Only one faculty member receives the annual award. Kosmetatou will receive $15,000 a year for three years to support research and other scholarly activities.

This story appeared online in The State Journal-Register on October 21, 2015.

Read the article here.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Students urge lawmakers to fix budget

They ditched the lecture halls and computer labs for a different classroom setting.

Hundreds of university students made their way to the Capitol to lobby for funding.

Students from the state's nine public universities showed up to demand action. Since the start of the semester, many students have been without MAP Grants. Tuesday, they pleaded for answers.

"Sixty to seventy students that are here from the campus." Mitch Dickey stepped out from his role in the student government to handle state government. "Students are known for exactly not engaging, not voting, not doing all these things. But, what we have here today, 250 students. That speaks volumes." 

For the first time in history, the state has failed to appropriate funds to the colleges. "Students are on the line right now. Time is of the essence. We're looking at 130,000 students across the state that receive MAP Grants." Now, students are relying on the universities to help pay for their educations, so they asked lawmakers what they're going to do.

"I really just want to get across to our legislators how important higher education is to us, to our community, to the people of Illinois." Senators stepped out from the session doors to meet with students like DeJa' Willingham, from UIS. She's worried about completing school. "We can post on Facebook and take pictures, but really, showing up shows we care and we're here."

This story appeared online on WCIA on October 20, 2015.

Watch the story here.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Civil-rights icon John Lewis discusses graphic memoir during UIS appearance

U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a leader in the American civil rights movement of the 1960s, said the story of the struggle is not being passed down to today’s high school and college students.

Lewis, D-Georgia, was at the University of Illinois Springfield Monday to talk to a crowd of more than 1,700 in Sangamon Auditorium about his memoir series “March,” which chronicles his work in the civil rights movement.

The books are "graphic" memoirs, which means the stories are told with illustrations similar to the style of a comic book. “In so many places in America today, people have not been taught anything, or very little about the American civil rights movement,” Lewis, 75, said in an interview with The State Journal-Register before his presentation. “My generation was deeply inspired by Rosa Parks and the leadership of Dr. (Martin Luther) King (Jr.). We studied the philosophy and discipline of non-violence. We were inspired to move, to act, to stand up, to speak out and speak up.”

"March" was written by Lewis and Andrew Aydin and illustrated by Nate Powell. Aydin and Powell were on stage with Lewis as he talked about the book Monday evening. Aydin, who also serves on Lewis’ staff, said the idea for “March” came about in 2008 when the congressman told him about a comic book that came out in 1957 about King. The comic book helped educate a generation about the principles of nonviolent protests and inspired some of the earliest acts of civil disobedience. “When we looked at that comic book ... it became self-evident. If this worked once before, why can’t it work again,”

This story appeared online in The State Journal-Register on October 19, 2015.

Read the entire article here.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

UIS' Auble scores winning goal

Nikki Auble’s first-half free kick goal gave the University of Illinois Springfield a 1-0 win against Maryville in a Great Lakes Valley Conference match Friday at Kiwanis Stadium.

The victory was UIS’ fifth and set the record for most wins in a season. Its four GLVC wins are also a program record. All five of the Prairie Stars’ wins have been by 1-0 scores. UIS is 5-8-1 overall and 4-6-1 in the conference.

This story appeared online in The State Journal-Register on October 16, 2015.

Read the entire article here.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Plans for UIS Student Union going forward with private funds

Buoyed by support from the university president and a continuing upswing in private donations, the University of Illinois Springfield has decided to go ahead with plans for a Student Union building on campus.

Solicitations for bids were posted about 10 days ago and are due in early December, said Chuck Coderko, director of construction for UIS.

"This is a very important project for the university, and President Tim Killeen believes deeply in this project," UIS Chancellor Susan Koch said. "It is central to the growth priorities of the university, and he has encouraged us to move on."

Koch said having a Student Union will help attract new students and improve the quality of campus life for existing ones.

The $20 million Student Union project, approved by a vote of the student body in 2012, isn't a state-funded project, although uncertainty over state funding for the university caused a construction timetable to be delayed earlier this year.

Groundbreaking originally had been scheduled for May but instead is now likely for May 2016, Coderko said. Completion is anticipated in January 2018.

This story appeared online in The State Journal-Register on October 15, 2015.

Read the entire article here.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Supak helps UIS finish fifth

Junior Talen Supak shot a 4-over-par 148 to lead the University of Illinois Springfield to a fifth-place finish Tuesday at the Fox Run Midwest Regional men’s golf tournament at Fox Run Golf Club.

Supak carded a 74 in each of the two rounds and placed third individually. Nathan Goecks placed ninth for UIS with a 151. Sophomore Erik Thulien finished with a 156, while junior Trevor Flota and freshman Tanner Stewart shot 163 and 166, respectively, to complete the scoring for the Prairie Stars. UIS finished with a team score of 617.

This article appeared online in The State Journal-Register on October 14, 2015.

Read the entire article here.

Walker, UIS basketball team have new rules to learn

Dunking in pregame and halftime warm-ups is now allowed by the NCAA, but University of Illinois Springfield coach Bill Walker doesn’t know if his players have the green light to go above the rim while loosening up.

“I don’t want to take the joy out of the game,” Walker said. “But any coach would get mad if one of the assistants says, ‘Hey, coach, so and so can’t play tonight because he is in the training room and he got hurt when he was trying to dunk.”

Walker has until the Prairie Stars’ exhibition game Nov. 8 against the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign at the Prairie Capital Convention Center to decide.

Dunking in warm-ups is not an earth-shattering rule change, but it is one of many set forth by the NCAA in the offseason.

First day of practice Thursday is the first official day of basketball practice at UIS. After facing Illinois, UIS heads to the Division II Las Vegas Showdown Nov. 13-14 against Lake Superior State and Findlay. The trip west is a notable addition. “I think as you go through your career it’s nice to get on an airplane once in a while and go play a game,” Walker said. “We’d like to do something every year or every other year when we can afford it to take advantage of it.”

The Stars have a monster schedule out of the gate with road games in December against Bellarmine, Southern Indiana, Kentucky Wesleyan and NCAA Division I Indiana State. Lake Superior State and Bellarmine were ranked in last season’s final national poll.

Improved talent UIS will attack the schedule with a mix of seven returning players and six newcomers. “We took a baby step last year,” Walker said. “We made the playoffs. We finished strong. "We were playing well at the end, but it’s time for us as a program to take the next step. It’s hard to gain ground in this league, but that’s our challenge.”

This story appeared online in The State Journal-Register on October 13, 2015.

Read the entire article here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

UIS Students Working To Change Columbus Day To Indigenous People's Day

Monday, October 12th is Columbus Day, the day when Americans remember the life of the man who helped discover North America.

But on the UIS campus, the student government association is trying to pass a resolution to change the October holiday. The resolution would rename the second Monday in October to Indigenous People's Day as a way to recognize certain ethnic groups that have been ignored by history. If the resolution passes, the SGA will form a committee to find ways to celebrate the holiday.

Duane Malany says many students and faculty at UIS support the resolution.

Columbus day is recognized as a federal holiday and observed as a state holiday in Illinois, but UIS students do not get the day off.

This story appeared online on WICS Newschannel 20 on Monday, October 12, 2015.

Watch the story here.

Carter, Danquah lead Stars

University of Illinois Springfield’s Jane Carter won a No.1 singles match 6-0, 6-4 against Lindenwood’s Anna Barbasheva and teamed with Sharon Danquah to win in No. 1 doubles at
Washington Park Friday.

UIS plays its first on-campus match in a decade today against Oakland City.

This story appeared online in The State Journal-Register on October 10, 2015.

Read the entire article here.

UIS Celebrates Historical Restoration With Harvestfest

Historical restoration was in full celebration mode for the autumn season.

Saturday people came together on the University of Illinois Springfield campus to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Elijah Iles Foundation restoring the namesake house in Springfield.

The party took place at the Strawbridge-Shepherd House on the campus, which the foundation also helped to restore.

A volunteer says Saturday's event showed the power of community spirit in making something happen. "It's a chance to reinforce those bonds, and celebrate a wonderful that's happened of the cooperation of many individuals and organizations in the city," said volunteer, Sue Massie.

This story appeared online on WICS Newschannel 20 on Saturday, October 10, 2015.

Watch the story here.

International Students Visit UIS Campus

Dozens of people from Europe stopped by the University of Illinois Springfield campus Friday to learn more about the United States and democracy.

The visit is hosted by the Open World Program which was created in 1999 to help create democracies after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Young managers and legislators visit the United States to gain knowledge on how to govern their cities and countries. Officials say the program gives many people the opportunity to travel the world. 

"The experience that we saw here and it’s not only professional experience which we gain on all the meetings, but it’s also the relationship between people and I think that’s what reaches deep down into our soul and this is something that we will bring home," said Krystyna Dobrovolska, Open World Program Facilitator.

This article appeared online on WICS Newschannel 20 on Friday, October 9, 2015.

Watch the story here.

Friday, October 9, 2015

UIS Disability Programs Offer Students Resources, New Outlook

Close your eyes and imagine a world where all you see is darkness and you had to rely on your other senses.

It's a tough task, but every day 285 million people in the world live their lives this way.

University of Illinois Springfield student Raven Wilson is one of those people. She's a sophomore majoring in English. "I love to read and write. I can spend hours and hours just reading. I love it."

She also loves learning. In chemistry class, Wilson listens carefully and processes everything the professor says.

Being blind doesn't stop her from having tunnel vision when it comes to accomplishing her goals. "My professor has a lot of physical models that I can feel and examine so I can understand what he's going over," said Wilson.

Raven is legally blind. She can only see light and shadows; she uses her dog Dana as her eyes. "Let's say if I'm going somewhere and I go there often, she knows where I want to go. So that's helpful. She keeps me safe. She protects me," said Wilson.

Raven is one of three blind students on the UIS campus. Her friend Jhaliyah is also blind. "We both relate in different ways. If we both have problems with homework assignments sometimes she knows things and I'll say, 'Raven how do you do this?'"

Both women say the university has a helpful staff accommodating, them every step of the way. "Extended times on exams, quiet distraction free environment and a reader and scribe for tests and quizzes," said Sarah Colby Weaver who is director of disability services at the university.

This story appeared online on WICS Newschannel 20 on October 8, 2015.

Read the entire story here.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Lincoln and voting rights topic of lectures Oct. 15 at UIS

Lincoln and voting rights is the topic at the 13th annual Lincoln Legacy Lectures, which will be Oct. 15 at the University of Illinois Springfield.

The event, from 7 to 9 p.m. at Brookens Auditorium at UIS, is free and open to the public, with no reservation required.

Featured speakers are Michael Vorenberg, associate professor of history at Brown University, and Ronald Keith Gaddie, chair of the political science department at the University of Oklahoma. Vorenberg’s talk will involve a view of voting rights from the Civil War era. He is author of “Final Freedom: The Civil War, The Abolition of Slavery, and the Thirteenth Amendment,” which was published in 2004. Gaddie will discusss citizenship and voting rights in the modern era. He is co-author of “The Triumph of Voting Rights in the South,” published in 2009, and another University of Oklahoma Press book, to be released in 2016: “The Rise and Fall of the Voting Rights Act.”

The lecture series is designed to bring nationally known scholars to Springfield to discuss topics that engaged Abraham Lincoln and the citizens of his era and are still timely today. A lead sponsor of the series is the UIS Center for State Policy and Leadership.

This article appeared online in The State Journal-Register on October 6, 2015.

Read the entire article here.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

UIS hosting 13th annual Lincoln Legacy Series

The University of Illinois Springfield has announced that its 13th annual Lincoln Legacy Lectures will be held on October 15.

This year's event will take place from 7:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. at Brookens Auditorium on the UIS campus.

Officials say this series brings in scholars from across the country to present lectures, and that this year's topic is "Lincoln and Voting Rights." Officials also say doors will open at 6:00 p.m., and that while seating in the auditorium is limited, additional seating will be available in the Public Affairs Center.

Additionally, those who are unable to visit the campus to attend this event will be able to watch online.

This article appeared online on WAND-TV on October 5, 2015.

Read the entire article here.

UIS makes big jump at Dan Salisbury

Senior Becca Ramirez and freshman Kayla Yn each fired 78s on Sunday to propel the University of Illinois Springfield to second place at the Dan Salisbury Memorial Collegiate Invitational at Panther Creek Country Club.

The Prairie Stars had begun the day in eight place out of 15 teams, but shot a collective 317 on Sunday (14 strokes better than Saturday) to leapfrog into a three-way tie for second place.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on October 4, 2015.

Read the entire article here.

Stars’ Allevi nets three goals in win

Zachary Allevi scored a hat trick Friday in the University of Illinois Springfield’s 3-1 win over Lewis in a Great Lakes Valley Conference game at Kiwanis Stadium.

He scored twice in the first half of the Prairie Stars’ first conference win.

It is the first win for the Stars in seven games. UIS improves to 3-5-1 overall and 1-5-1 in the GLVC.

This article appeared online in The State Journal-Register on October 2, 2015.

Read the entire article here.

UIS lands two men's basketball commitments

Bloomington High School 6-foot-3 senior point guard Ilijah Donnelly and Bloomfield (Indiana) 6-7 senior forward Brandon Van Sant have made verbal commitments to play basketball at the University of Illinois Springfield.

Donnelly averaged 11.6 points, 3.9 assists and 3.8 rebounds last year. Van Sant averaged 12 points, 7.5 rebounds and shot 74 percent from the free throw line as a junior. He had 44 assists, 16 steals and 11 3-pointers.

The early signing period begins Nov. 11.

This article appeared online in The State Journal-Register on October 2, 2015.

Read the entire article here.

Friday, October 2, 2015

UIS announced Homecoming activities

University of Illinois - Springfield officials are inviting citizens to come celebrate the 19th annual Homecoming Weekend on October 16 and 17.

Officials say the festivities will kick off with a Homecoming Parade at 4:30 p.m. on October 16.

In addition to the parade, the UIS Prairie Stars Women's and Men's Soccer teams will be playing their annual homecoming games at 5:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., respectively. Following the game, a free fireworks display will be shown.

This article appeared online on on October 1, 2016.

Read the entire article here.