Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Illinois Innocence Project at UIS to host Defenders of the Innocent event and awards

WHAT: The Illinois Innocence Project, based at the University of Illinois Springfield, will host the 8th annual Defenders of the Innocent event. The program includes two guest speakers and an awards presentation.

WHEN: Wednesday, April 8, 2015 at 5:30 p.m.

WHERE: Erin’s Pavilion at Southwind Park, 4965 S. 2nd Street, Springfield

DETAILS: Featured speakers Jennifer Thompson and Ronald Cotton are forever connected by a miscarriage of justice. Thompson was a 22-year-old North Carolina college student when she was raped at knifepoint. Through a flawed eyewitness identification process, she unintentionally misidentified Cotton from a police lineup. He insisted he was innocent, but served 11 years behind bars until a DNA test proved his innocence. Two years later, the two met face-to-face and forged an unlikely friendship.

The Project will present Defenders of the Innocent awards to Illinois Representative Scott Drury and Senator Kwame Raoul for their sponsorship of Illinois eyewitness identification reforms.

Angel Gonzalez, the Illinois Innocence Project’s latest exoneree, is also scheduled to appear at the event. For 21 years he fought to prove his innocence, after a 1994 conviction put him in prison for a 55-year sentence. He was convicted based on eyewitness identification and a coerced confession, yet no evidence linked him to the crime. In March 2015, DNA tests conclusively proved he was not one of the two rapists in the case.

Registration for the Defenders of the Innocent event is required. For more information, visit www.uis.edu/innocenceproject/ or call 217/206-6569.

Thompson and Cotton will also speak on Thursday, April 9 at Noon in UIS Brookens Auditorium. That event is part of the Engaged Citizenship Common Experience (ECCE) Speaker Series. They will be signing copies of their best-selling book, Picking Cotton, following both events.

UIS Theatre presents "A Streetcar Named Desire"

The Theatre Program at the University of Illinois Springfield presents A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, opening Friday, April 10. Six performances will be presented in the Studio Theatre, on the lower level of the Public Affairs Center at UIS - on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, April 10, 11, and 12, and Thursday, Friday, Saturday, April 16, 17, and 18. All shows will begin at 7:30 p.m., except the Sunday performance (April 12), which will begin at 2 p.m. UIS Associate Professor and Director of Theatre Eric Thibodeaux-Thompson directs the play.

Tennessee Williams’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play is an American classic that also won the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for best play in 1948, with numerous revivals over the years. Very few plays continue to have such power and impact as Williams’ 1948 drama continues to do so 66 years after the original production, but A Streetcar Named Desire is one such play.

“The play reveals to the very depths the character of Blanche DuBois, a woman whose life has been undermined by her romantic illusions, which lead her to reject—so far as possible—the realities of life with which she is faced and which she consistently ignores. The pressure brought to bear upon her by her sister, with whom she goes to live in New Orleans, intensified by the earthy and extremely ‘normal’ young husband of the latter, leads to a revelation of her tragic self-delusion and, in the end, to madness,” said publisher Samuel French Inc.

UIS Associate Professor of Theatre Missy Thibodeaux-Thompson will play Blanche DuBois in a special sabbatical presentation. UIS student cast members include Diamond Dixon, Bria Grant, Nicholas Jimenez, Christopher Romero, Jonathan San German, Rona Taylor, Ellyn Thorson, and Alessandro Vazquez. Guest artist Tom Miller, community member Linda Castor, and UIS alum Tom Hutchison also make up the cast.

Dathan Powell, UIS assistant professor of theatre, is the scene designer/technical director and lighting designer. Guest artist Katherine Eickhoff is the costume designer and community member Melissa Betty will serve as stage manager. UIS students making up the crew include Anna Ball, Emily Collins, Lindsay Frisk, Janaye Godawa, David Hecht, Junyi Liu, Meghan Milewski, Kevin Montano, Saiteja Pamitimukkala, Harshvardhan Pandey, Wesley Skym, Dinesh Reddy Srirangapalle, Liza Torrence and Alexis Yowsig.

Ticket prices are $14 for adults; $12 for senior citizens (65 or older with a picture I.D.); $10 for UIS Faculty/Staff; $8 for UIS students (and all other college-level students) with a valid, current i-card or college I.D. card; and $6 for 17 and under. Please note that a service charge from Sangamon Auditorium, not included in the prices above, will be added to each ticket price, at the time of purchase. To avoid a higher service charge, buying tickets in person at the Sangamon Auditorium ticket office is highly recommended. You may also purchase tickets over the phone by calling 217/206-6160 or online at www.uis.edu/SangamonAuditorium/.

For more information on the production, visit www.uis.edu/theatre.

Fourth annual Student Technology, Arts & Research Symposium at UIS

WHAT: The University of Illinois Springfield presents the fourth annual Student Technology, Arts & Research Symposium (STARS). The two-day event showcases student research and creative activities during the academic year.

WHEN: Thursday, April 2 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Friday, April 3 from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

WHERE: UIS campus – with various presentations in the Sangamon Auditorium Lobby, Public Affairs Center, and Brookens Auditorium

DETAILS: UIS undergraduate and graduate students will present their research and creative activities through short talks, poster presentations, art exhibitions and music performances. All events are free and open to the public.

The symposium events begin on Thursday, April 2, with a musical performance and keynote speech by poet Jericho Brown, author of Please, which won the 2009 American Book Award, and The New Testament. The speech will take place at 7 p.m. in Brookens Auditorium.

The second keynote speaker is Sonja Lyubomirsky, professor of Psychology at the University of California, Riverside. She’s the author of the The How of Happiness (2008) and Myths of Happiness (2013). Her work has been featured in hundreds of magazine and newspaper articles. She will speak on Friday, April 3 at 11 a.m. in Brookens Auditorium.

Events on Friday conclude with the launch of the student-run literary journal Alchemist Review at 7 p.m. in Brookens Auditorium.

View the schedule at http://www.uis.edu/undergraduateresearch/stars/ or contact Meagan Cass, assistant professor of English, with questions at 217/206-8358 or mcass3@uis.edu.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

UIS Friday Night Star Parties resume April 10th

The University of Illinois Springfield’s popular Friday Night Star Parties will resume in April. Those dates include: April 10, 17, and 24. Friday Night Star Parties are held from 8 to 10 p.m., weather permitting, at the UIS observatory on the roof of Brookens Library.

Star Parties are hosted by Dr. John C. Martin, associate professor of Astronomy/Physics. The observatory’s telescopes will be used to view a number of celestial objects including Jupiter, the Moon, the Great Nebula in Orion and other double stars and star clusters when visible.

A typical Star Party begins with a presentation as visitors ascend the stairs to the observatory, learning about galaxies, the sun and stars along the way. On the roof observation deck visitors are invited to view the skies through telescopes and ask questions. Participants are welcome to arrive and leave as they wish between 8 and 10 p.m.

Friday Night Star Parties are free and open to the public. Reservations are not required and groups are encouraged to attend. The entrance to the campus observatory is located outside Brookens Library on the southeast corner of the building.

Star Parties may be canceled for cloudy weather. Questions about whether the weather is suitable for viewing should be directed to 217/206-8342 at 7 p.m. on the evening of the Star Party. Participants may also follow the UIS Observatory on Twitter (@UISObservatory) for updates.

For more information on Star Parties, email John Martin at jmart5@uis.edu or visit http://www.uis.edu/astronomy/about/starparties/.

UIS Political Art and the Public Sphere series to screen "Taksim Commune"

WHAT: The Political Art and the Public Sphere (PAPS) series and Engaged Citizenship Common Experience (ECCE) Speaker Series at the University of Illinois Springfield present a screening and discussion of the documentary Taksim Commune: Gezi Park and the Uprising in Turkey (2013). UIS political scientists Richard Gilman-Opalsky and Sibel Oktay will lead and moderate the discussion.

WHEN: Monday, April 6, 2015 at 6 p.m.

WHERE: Brookens Auditorium on the lower level of Brookens Library at UIS

DETAILS: Taksim Commune is a short documentary featuring a rare behind-the-scenes look at the Summer 2013 Gezi Park protests in Turkey. The protests were initially aimed at rescuing Istanbul’s Gezi Park from being demolished as part of a large-scale urban renewal project. After police attacked protesters sleeping in the park and images of heavy-handed policing spread across the world, the protests transformed into a popular uprising.

Richard Gilman-Opalsky will discuss how the occupation of squares has become the iconic image of recent global uprisings. He’ll discuss how engaged citizens have often created a common experience in revolt and rebellion, which we have seen in many countries around the world since 2008. Special guest and co-host Sibel Oktay will help address questions about Turkish political history and current events.

The idea behind PAPS is to consider how “political art” raises provocative social and political questions, and to engage in discussion with students, faculty, and members of the general public.

For more information, contact Professor Richard Gilman-Opalsky at 217/206-8328 or email rgilm3@uis.edu.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

UIS Visual Arts Gallery presents "BIO-fied: Perspectives on Genetic Engineering"

The University of Illinois Springfield Visual Arts Gallery is pleased to present BIO-fied, a group exhibition that examining various perspectives on the subject of genetic engineering. The exhibition will open on Monday, March 30 and run through Thursday, April 16. An opening reception for the exhibit will take place on Thursday, April 2 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Visual Arts Gallery.

Exhibiting artists include: Laura Anderson, Denise Blakeman, Adam Dupuis, Amanda Greive, Shane Harris, Mike Miller, Leslie Stalter, Kevin Veara, and Thom Whalen. Nearly all of the exhibiting artists are based in Springfield.

While genetic engineering has existed in some form or another since the early 70s, it has recently become widely known as a hotly debated social issue. The science that creates genetically modified organisms has been touted as revolutionary, and our ability to manipulate nature at its very core has led to innovations in crop resistance and food sustainability. BIO-fied artists will consider the social, cultural, economic, and personal ramifications of the manipulation of an organism’s genome through the use of biotechnology. Each artist has the freedom to render the theme as they individually interpret or respond to it.

The UIS Visual Arts Gallery is centrally located on the UIS campus in the Health and Science Building, room 201 (HSB 201). Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information exhibition programming, please visit the UIS Visual Arts Gallery website at www.uis.edu/visualarts/gallery, or contact the gallery at 217/ 206-6506 or alach3@uis.edu.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

UIS Speaker Series explores rebellion against social and racial injustices, and a vision for the future

WHAT: The University of Illinois Springfield’s Engaged Citizenship Common Experience (ECCE) Speaker Series, the Student Technology, Arts & Research Symposium and Brookens Library present “Rebellion as the First American Tradition: A Keynote Reading,” featuring award-winning poet Jericho Brown.

WHEN: Thursday, April 2, 2015 at 7 p.m.

WHERE: UIS Brookens Auditorium, located on the lower level of Brookens Library

DETAILS: Brown will read work from his latest collection of poetry which explores community and specifically the way in which certain groups of individuals are abused, injured, or harmed and, in turn, not allowed to be a part of the community in which they live.

The reading will explore the notion of rebellion against social and racial injustices in America by examining the foundation of these injustices, the place where they have brought us, and a vision of what the future should hold.

Brown is an assistant professor at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. His first poetry collection, Please, won the 2009 American Book Award. His second collection, The New Testament, was published in 2014. He has received the Whiting Writers Award and numerous fellowships. His poems have appeared in many publications including The Nation, The New Yorker and The New Republic.

For a list of other upcoming ECCE Speaker Series events and more information, visit www.uis.edu/speakerseries/. All events are free and open to the public.

Monday, March 9, 2015

UIS Speaker Series explores "Sex Trafficking in Illinois: What do we know and how do we know it?"

WHAT: The University of Illinois Springfield’s Engaged Citizenship Common Experience (ECCE) Speaker Series will discuss “Sex Trafficking in Illinois: What do we know and how do we know it?” The discussion will be led by national expert Jody Raphael, a senior research fellow and visiting professor at the Schiller DuCanto & Fleck Family Law Center at the DePaul University College of Law in Chicago.

WHEN: Tuesday, March 24, 2015 at 7 p.m.

WHERE: UIS Brookens Auditorium, located on the lower level of Brookens Library

DETAILS: Sex trafficking is the gendered exploitation of poor girls and women. Professor Raphael has been researching the sex trade industry for the past 15 years, seeking to determine how girls and women enter the industry of prostitution and whether they have been trafficked. She will discuss her findings and what is known and not known about sex trafficking and the traffickers in the Midwest. Participants will also learn what they themselves can do to end sex trafficking in Illinois.

Raphael is an attorney by training and has 25 years of experience practicing in legal services programs for the poor in the Midwest. She is a noted expert on violence against women and girls. Her specialization is on the effects of violence on poor women of color.

She is undertaking a multi-year study monitoring the Cook County Circuit Court’s response to domestic violence and sexual assault. During 2007-2008, she undertook research with women and girls in prostitution in Chicago who are controlled by a pimp or trafficker to better determine how women and girls are coerced into the sex trade industry in Chicago.

The topic is being explored as part of Women’s History Month. For a list of other upcoming ECCE Speaker Series events and more information, visit www.uis.edu/speakerseries/. All events are free and open to the public.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

UIS and Junior League seek nominations for the annual Good as Gold volunteer awards

The University of Illinois Springfield and Junior League of Springfield are seeking nominations for the annual Good as Gold volunteer awards. The awards ceremony will be held on April 15, 2015 at 5:30 p.m. in the Sangamon Auditorium Lobby at UIS.

The awards recognize volunteers who use their time and talents to help improve the lives of others in the Springfield area. Over 40 awards will be given to Sangamon County community volunteers, organizations, and businesses.

Individuals and organizations can be nominated in several categories including Heart of Gold, Youth Volunteer, Organization Agent of Service, and Distinguished Volunteer of the Year. The ceremony will also recognize UIS faculty/staff members and students who have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to service.

Businesses may be nominated for the Business Honor Roll sponsored by the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce. The honor roll will recognize businesses that have given back to our community thought direct service and charitable giving.

Over the past six years, the ceremony has recognized hundreds of volunteers for freely giving their time and talents to make Springfield a better place to live and thrive.

Event details, descriptions of the awards categories, and the online nomination forms can be found at www.uis.edu/volunteer/communitypartners/goodasgold/. The nomination deadline is March 23, 2015.

For questions please contact, Mark Dochterman, director of the UIS Volunteer & Civic Engagement Center at mdoch2@uis.edu or 217/206-8448.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

UIS students hold Dance Marathon to announce money raised for the Children’s Miracle Network

WHAT: Students at the University of Illinois Springfield will hold a Dance Marathon to mark the conclusion of a year-long fundraising campaign for the Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) at St. John’s Children’s Hospital. The amount of money raised will be announced at the event.

WHEN: Friday, March 6, 2015 from 5 to 11 p.m.

WHERE: Student Life Building on the UIS campus

DETAILS: Four local families who have benefited from the Children’s Miracle Network will share their stories starting at 6 p.m.

Participants can sign up for the Dance Marathon as an individual or as part of a team with a fundraising goal. Anyone is welcome to participate and can register online or at the event. Participants pay a $5 registration fee and are asked to fundraise at least $20 by March 6.

The Dance Marathon will have a different theme every hour, where the activities, arts & crafts, and food will match the theme. There will be a reflection room, where participants can read a miracle child’s story and write a letter to them and to other children who are currently in the hospital.

All proceeds from the fundraiser will do directly towards helping children at St. John’s Children’s Hospital in Springfield.

For more information, contact student organizer LeAnna Kehl at lkehl2@uis.edu.