Tuesday, November 19, 2013

UIS explores possible nickname/mascot change

The Student Government Association (SGA) at the University of Illinois Springfield is seeking feedback from students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members about possibly changing the Prairie Stars nickname and mascot.

For those unable to attend one of three public forums held on campus in mid-November we’ve recorded the presentation. Please email your feedback to uissga@uis.edu.

The six nickname options being considered include the Prairie Stars, Stars, Mammoths, Sabers, Stampede, and Springers (as in the dog).

Following the public forums, the SGA Nickname Task Force will prepare a report containing the feedback received from the UIS community. That report will be submitted to UIS Chancellor Susan Koch for consideration.

Monday, November 18, 2013

International Festival brings cultural exhibits and performances to UIS

The University of Illinois Springfield presented the 36th annual International Festival with the theme “Passport to the World” on November 15, 2013. The festival featured cultural exhibits, artistic performances, food tasting, and more.

“I think it’s great because here on campus we don’t get a lot of opportunities to showcase our culture and our food,” said Afua Amoabin, a junior biology major.

Amoabin was one of the many students who performed at the festival as part of 3 hours of live entertainment. She also took time to explore the festival and compare her culture to others.

“I think sometimes you can get stuck in our own comfort zone and what we’re used to and sometimes it’s just nice to see stuff through other people’s shoes or even through their plates,” she said.

Management Information Systems major Kartik Kaurav came to the United States from India. For him, it was nice to experience a taste of home, while learning about other cultures.

“Look at these paintings, the food, the spices,” said Kaurav in surveying the festival.

The International Festival is the longest running annual event on the UIS campus. As the international population has grown at UIS, the festival has followed.

“UIS is growing drastically diverse, so it’s important that we acknowledge that and we take advantage of events like this one,” said Jaime Cruz, a senior English major.

Countries and organizations represented this year included African countries, China, India, Ireland, Peru, Turkey, Scotland and more. Ethnic dishes were provided by The Holy Land Diner, Dynasty Asian Cuisine, Hunan Chinese Restaurant, Osaka, La Fiesta, Xochimilico, Olive Garden, and more.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Capital Scholars Honors Program spotlighted at Board of Trustees meeting

Chancellor Susan J. Koch welcomed members of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees to the Springfield campus on November 14, 2013.

Following her opening remarks, Koch introduced Marc Klingshirn, director of the Capital Scholars Honors Program and two students (Vivica Futrell & Matt Dobill) who discussed how the program has benefited them.

UIS students Shao (Christina) Yu and Ying Han also performed traditional Chinese music for the board.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

UIS survey finds Sangamon County employers not expecting large changes in employment

A survey conducted by the University of Illinois Springfield Center for State Policy and Leadership, in partnership with The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, shows Sangamon County employers are not expecting big changes in the employment rate in Sangamon County.

The Fall 2013 Sangamon County Economic Outlook Survey studied local businesses, firms, and non-profits in order to gauge expectations across several economic indicators. The survey is based on the responses of 174 individuals representing various economic sectors including construction, manufacturing, retail, financial, and medical.

The survey found a majority of businesses are not expecting a decrease or increase for the next year. Forty-seven percent of respondents expect employment to “stay the same,” while 26.8 percent expect a “small increase” or “large increase.” Additionally, 25.7 percent of respondents report that there will either be a “small decline” or a “large decline” in the overall employment in Sangamon County over the next 12 months.

Results from the survey show Sangamon County employers believe that increasing the number of workforce training programs is a priority in Sangamon County with two-thirds of respondents reporting that it was either a medium or high priority in the region.

The Fall 2013 topical section asked employers what traits/characteristics they are most looking for in new employees. Respondents chose from a list of traits ranging from personal skills to business skills to technical skills.
  • Almost 90% (89.7 respondents) report that they are looking for employees with personal skills (work ethic, responsibility, integrity.)
  • 55.4% report that they are looking for individuals with communication skills (speaking, writing, and working in teams.) 
The overall Intensity Index Scores show that all indicators, except for employment and inflation, saw positive expectation increases since Spring 2013. Capital investment saw a significant positive boost, up four points from last spring.

When analyzing the expectations by industry sectors, the medical sector continues to produce strong numbers, up one point from this spring. Overall, eight out of 12 industry sectors had higher expectations than six months ago.

Next to healthcare, the information and communication sector posted the second highest positive expectations for industries in Sangamon County.

Businesses, firms and organizations had optimistic outlooks of themselves in the survey, posting very strong numbers. There were increases in all five indicators, including capital investment, total number of employees, gross revenue/sales, profitability and overall status. This is the most positive rating recorded in the economic outlook survey since Spring 2012.

The survey is sponsored by the University of Illinois Springfield Chancellor’s Office, the Center for State Policy and Leadership at UIS and The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce.

For more information on the survey, contact Ashley Kirzinger, director of the UIS Survey Research Office, at 217/206-7956 or akirz2@uis.edu.

Read the full report online

Friday, November 08, 2013

International House teaches students about other cultures

Students at the University of Illinois Springfield are getting a chance to learn about other countries without leaving the comfort of their apartments.

The International House, located in Bluebell Court, gives students from the United States a chance to live with students from around the globe. In the past two years, students from Belgium, China, India, Jamaica, Japan, and Russia have called the house home.

“The purpose is to foster a living-learning community among American and international students. To create a cohesive environment among the two groups,” said Riley Quinlan, a junior global studies and political science major who serves as house coordinator.

Xu Gao, a Chinese native, came to UIS because he wanted to experience something different. He’s found the International House to be a perfect fit.

“I chose to move here because I think; it’s the International House, right? I’m a foreigner and that’s the reason just to experience the different (cultures),” said Gao.

Across from Gao’s apartment lives another Chinese student, Lulu Cheng. She decided to live in the International House because she knows the world is changing.

“I think now everywhere it’s becoming more international,” said Cheng. “It’s very good for you to realize the different countries culture’s when you are in college. It will be a good experience for you in the future.”

Before coming to UIS, Shijin Soloman hadn’t ventured outside his home country.

“It’s like good to learn the different cultures,” he said. “Since my childhood days I’ve been living with the people in India, so I never got exposure.”

Students living in the International House go on group trips together, fix meals in the same kitchen, and share their life experiences.

“There are gaps of information that can be shared across the cultures,” said Quinlan. “Everyone has different cooking and living expectations. It’s just a way to communicate effectively and enrich a global background living in Springfield.”

The International House started during the Fall 2012 Semester. There are 16 students who currently call the house home, but it’s growing.

“UIS is becoming more and more of a dominant global campus and this is one way it’s living up to that and continuing its international traditions,” said Quinlan.

For more information on the International House, visit the International Student Services website.

Friday, November 01, 2013

UIS students collect over 11,000 pounds of food

Over 200 University of Illinois Springfield students helped to collect 11,147 pounds of food for the Central Illinois Foodbank on Halloween night.

A total of 18 teams of students went door-to-door in several Springfield neighborhoods Trick or Treating for Canned Goods.

“Last year we collected 6,800 pounds of food. Despite rainy weather and thanks to the generosity of the Springfield community, this year our dedicated students were able to collect almost twice that amount,” said Mark Dochterman, director of the UIS Volunteer & Civic Engagement Center.

Earlier this month, the teams canvassed neighborhoods and distributed door hangers that explained the project. Collected items were returned and weighed at Quaker Steak and Lube Thursday night following the drive. Prizes were awarded to the teams that collect the most food.

The Leadership for Life Program won the overall prize by collecting 1,353 pounds of food. Lambda Pi Eta, the communication honor society on campus, won the most pounds per team member award by gathering 1,042 pounds of food with only four team members.

The Central Illinois Foodbank distributes over 9.5 million pounds of food annually to over 150 food pantries, soup kitchens, residential programs and after-school programs in a 21 county region.

For more information, or if you have food that was not collected please contact the UIS Volunteer Center at 217/206-7716 or volunteer@uis.edu.