By Courtney Westlake
Faculty, staff and other participants got some home cookin' and donned country attire down home on the farm during the annual Faculty and Staff Campaign kick-off on Thursday afternoon, March 5.
"Whip Guy" Chris Camp, a whip cracker and entertainer, was also on hand to snap his whip at almost 900 miles per hour while performing whip tricks with volunteers.
Through the Faculty and Staff Campaign, staff and faculty are able to give a gift to the university, choosing how their funds will impact UIS' quality academics, athletics or other important areas. Gifts made to UIS assist with scholarships, enhance research, improve programs and much more.
The theme of this year's campaign is "We Grow the Best at UIS." Campus programs, offices and departments set up booths in coordination with the farm theme to showcase their work.
"We do grow the best at UIS; this is a great place for that, right here in the middle of the richest farmland in America," said Chancellor Richard Ringeisen. "We're proud of what we do at UIS every day in raising the best. Sometimes universities pride themselves on how successful students are before they get here, and we have plenty of students that meet that criteria, but one of the things we're really proud of is how successful they are when they leave, how we grow the best while they're here."
Ringeisen commended both faculty and staff for their exemplary work every day with the campus community, especially students.
"The way you care, the way you know people's names, the way you greet people... you solve problems, you volunteer your time off-hours, you counsel students," he said. "Now we're only a couple of months away from graduating another group of outstanding, successful, home-grown UIS students. I'm proud to say that my wife Carolyn and I invest in UIS, and we invite you all to invest in UIS, where we grow the best."
Vicki Megginson, associate chancellor for development and vice president of the University of Illinois Foundation, encouraged all attendees to visit all of the booths set up by the campus community and see what each department or program has to offer.
"We as faculty and staff here at UIS are really in the garden," Megginson said. "We work with the students, know what students need, know what programs need to flourish and to grow. Today is an opportunity for us to share with each other some of the ways we aspire, and hopefully inspire, to improve what we can offer and to ask each other for support through giving to do so."
"It's amazing what even small seeds can do; it's like small seeds that grow into wonderful, big plants," she added, "and we hope you consider that."