Monday, August 29, 2016

UIS Students Volunteer For Service-A-Thon

The University of Illinois Springfield hosted its annual welcome week Service-A-Thon Friday.

Students signed up to volunteer in different shifts throughout the day on campus and in Springfield. 

The event worked with different organizations like Habitat for Humanity, Mercy Communities Incorporated, and Central Illinois Food Bank.

Nearly 130 students participated.

Volunteering started at 9 a.m. Friday and went until 4:30 in the afternoon.

This story appeared on WRSP Fox 55 on Friday, August 26, 2016.

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Friday, August 26, 2016

'UIS Day' aims to acquaint students with downtown Springfield

Traditional start-of-school activities at the University of Illinois Springfield include a downtown offer this weekend.

A first-ever "UIS Day" scheduled for Saturday in downtown Springfield highlights the opportunities -- and challenges -- of closer ties between the historic-commercial district and the campus of more than 5,000 students at the south edge of the city.

Approximately 1,000 students live on campus. It's a discussion that dates to the early years of then-Sangamon State University in the 1970s. "We're trying to get students to embrace the community beyond the boundaries of campus," said Lisa McGuire, director of new student orientation and parent relations at UIS. Transportation remains the biggest challenge, said McGuire, as many on-campus students do not have their own vehicles.

As part of UIS Day, two 40-passenger shuttles will run every half-hour from 1 to 10 p.m. between campus and downtown.

Downtown Springfield Inc. executive director Lisa Clemmons Stott said UIS Day is a way to introduce students to downtown in hopes they will return on their own.

 "We want them to get comfortable with it and what they might be interested in doing downtown," said Clemmons Stott. She added that the goal is to make UIS Day an annual event.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on August 25, 2016.

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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Prairie Stars soccer out to score more goals in 2016

With 15 goals in 18 games, the University of Illinois Springfield men's soccer squad was the second-lowest scoring team in the Great Lakes Valley Conference in 2015. That was last year.

“Once we can possess the ball in the final third and be able to be creative with it, we’ll be able to have more shots on goal and more opportunities to score,” UIS senior midfielder Mac Leverenz. “With the quality of players that (UIS coach Adam Hall) has brought in hopefully we can capitalize.”

In the offseason, UIS hired Hall as head coach. The Scotland native previously coached in the GLVC at Saint Joseph’s. He brings a fresh attitude and new style. He has assembled a large roster with lots of new players, including several from the United Kingdom and South America.

“There’s a good buzz around the team,” said UIS junior defender Jack Coombes. “We have healthy competition. The last few years you sort of could pick the starting 11, then not know what you’re going to get from the rest.”

Hall is excited about the depth.

“We have some problems in determining who would be the starting back four,” he said. “There’s at least seven guys who have held their own and shown something we’re excited about. And there are four positions up for grabs.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on August 25, 2016.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

UIS holds welcome activities for first day

Monday, August 22 marked the first day of classes at the University of Illinois Springfield.

All week long, the school is holding events as part of "Welcome Week," encouraging new and returning students to get involved in student organizations and athletics.

A number of departments are holding open houses for students still trying to pick a major.

More than 5,000 students are enrolled at UIS this fall.

This story was reported by WISC Newschannel 20 on August 22, 2016.

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17 new faculty members greet UIS students on first day of classes

Classes started Monday for University of Illinois Springfield students, who found 17 new faculty members and a rapidly progressing Student Union Building when they arrived on campus.

UIS Chancellor Susan Koch was on the quad Monday morning, shaking hands with students and welcoming them to the university.

Of the 17 new full-time faculty members, six will teach in programs within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, four in the College of Business and Management, one in the College of Education and Human Services, four in the College of Public Affairs and Administration and two in Library Instructional Services.

UIS has about 220 full-time faculty members, approximately the same number as last year.

Student enrollment figures won’t be available until after the 10th day of classes on Sept. 6, Schnapp said. Some state universities, such as Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Eastern Illinois University and Chicago State University, are expecting sharp declines in enrollment when figures are announced.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on August 22, 2016.

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Monday, August 22, 2016

City surveying residents on how Springfield should grow

Community leaders, city officials and residents often talk about one-way streets and downtown parking, a proposed second lake and westward expansion. The city this week is mailing short surveys to about 5,000 randomly selected residents on these and other issues facing Springfield.

The city and the Springfield-Sangamon County Regional Planning Commission will use the survey results to help guide a 20-year comprehensive plan. The plan, which was last completed in 2000, will focus on how land in Springfield should be used and developed.

The University of Illinois Springfield’s Survey Research Office helped design the survey and will gather the responses for the steering committee.

“We are hoping for about 500 responses, a 10 percent response rate,” said Juan Carlos Donoso, director of the research office. But he noted that it could be more, as others can access the survey online.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on August 22, 2016.

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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Freshman Move-In Day at UIS

The class of 2020 moved into their dorms at the University of Illinois Springfield.

Wednesday was UIS freshman move in day. Dozens of volunteers helped the new college students get settled in for what will be a life-changing experience.

Returning UIS students will move into their dorms on Friday.

Classes start this coming Monday.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on August 17, 2016.

Watch the video here.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

First students, young professionals take residence in downtown Bluffstone development

Charlene Poindexter, a graduate student at the University Illinois Springfield, decided to experiment Monday night with a new recipe -- baked chicken and mashed potatoes -- to break in the kitchen at her new studio apartment in downtown Springfield.

She and a couple dozen others moved in over the weekend at The Villas Downtown, a 79-unit complex at Fourth and Madison streets.

Iowa-based Bluffstone LLC built the apartments geared toward graduate students and young professionals working downtown. That demographic has long been cited as one of the keys to revitalizing the downtown area.

“We have 300 graduate interns, most in state government, and they come to us and say we can’t find affordable housing downtown,” said Van Vieregge, assistant vice chancellor for student services at UIS.

He sees the apartments as a solution to that.

This story was reported in The State Journal-Register on August 15, 2016.

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Monday, August 15, 2016

Former SHS track, cross country star Pence named UIS assistant

Former Springfield High School runner and University of Southern Indiana standout Tyler Pence has decided to give coaching a try.

The 23-year-old has been hired as an assistant cross country and track and field coach at the University of Illinois Springfield.

UIS is in its second year of men’s and women’s cross country and women’s track. This year is the inaugural season for men’s track. “I love running,” Pence said. “I love Springfield. When I heard about this job that was my first thought questioning if I wanted to coach, so I talked to coach De Witt.”

Pence received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, also in May. He will soon start graduate school. He is pursuing a master’s degree in education at UIS. He will also serve as substitute teacher for the Springfield school district.

UIS opens the season Sept. 2 at home with Orion’s Mini Meet.

Pence was featured in The State Journal Register on August 12, 2016.

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UIS Hires Strength Coach

Chris Lowe has been hired as the University of Illinois Springfield’s first director of strength and conditioning.

He was previously the strength and conditioning coach at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. He was the Olympic Strength and Conditioning intern for eight months at the University of Iowa.

Lowe is a native of Monrovia, Maryland. He holds a bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Towson University. He received his master’s degree in kinesiology from Texas A&M-Kinsgville.

This story was reported by The State Journal Register on August 12, 2016.

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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

UIS' Hannam plays role in Sliders' rise

Trey Hannam says he’s a lot stronger and a lot smarter now than he was a couple of years ago. The baseball team he plays for can say the same thing.

Hannam, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound outfielder from Kewanee, hasn’t produced the same eye-popping numbers with the Springfield Sliders this summer that he did last spring for the University of Illinois Springfield.

Still, he’s helped solidify the middle of the lineup as Springfield’s Prospect League squad closes in on its first playoff berth since 2010. The Sliders (37-20 overall) lead the second-half standings in the West Division with a 20-7 record, two games ahead of DuPage (33-23, 17-8), after Springfield beat Hannibal 15-0 Thursday night at Robin Roberts Stadium.

Hannam joined the Sliders after a rip-roaring junior season at UIS. In the spring, Hannam led the Prairie Stars in home runs (12), RBIs (44) and slugging percentage (.618). A lot of teams in a lot of leagues would have been happy to have him, but he picked the Sliders.

“I wanted to stay in town,” Hannam said. “This is close to where I grew up and my family is able to come to some of the games. I wanted to be close to where I’m going to college, plus, this is a really good league, so I wanted to stay here.”

Hannam was featured by The State Journal-Register on August 5, 2016.

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Thursday, August 4, 2016

New UIS athletic director lays out his vision

The University of Illinois Springfield introduced its new athletic director to the public Wednesday afternoon during a press conference in the atrium of The Recreation and Athletic Center, and Jim Sarra mapped out his vision for the university in front of a crowd of 200 or so that included Sarra’s family as well as UIS coaches, athletes, boosters and media members.

Sarra was named June 22 to succeed Kim Pate, who left UIS to become athletic director at Lenoir-Rhyne in Hickory, North Carolina. His first day on the job was Monday. His parents were on hand along with his wife, Heather, son J.T., and daughter Jordin.

“Our top priority is being student-athletes,” Sarra said. “That will always be our top priority. I will take 90, 100 days to listen and learn what’s going on here.

“No. 2 is having a winning program, establishing a championship program. We will be competitive. I love to win; just ask my family if you don’t believe me. We will set our goals high.

“And third is a community connection. We want to build a lasting relationship with the community. We will be visible in the community.

“We need your support.”

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on August 4, 2016.

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Monday, August 1, 2016

Marcia Martinez: Jim Sarra era begins at UIS

The Jim Sarra era begins at the University of Illinois Springfield Monday.

It is his first day on the job as the director of athletics. He was hired in June to replace Kim Pate. He beat out more than 50 candidates in a national search.

Sarra met with the media and other community members earlier this month. He will meet the public Wednesday. He will be introduced at a press conference at The Recreation and Athletic Center at 1 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on August 1, 2016.

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