The UIS Community

A new kind of conversation addressing issues that UIS students and staff care about.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

First time since 1943

I got word that at 2:08 p.m. today, water from the Illinois River went over the levee at the Emiquon Preserve's Thompson Lake -- where UIS operates a field research station . It's the first time since 1943 the levee has been overtopped. The picture below was taken from the top of that high levee, on the west side of the river near Havana, by UIS's Blake Wood last fall. So all the land you see in the foreground is now under water. (Anybody know how high that levee is?) As we learned anew in the 1993 floods, nature always wins. Always.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

When they called me "still an athlete"

Last night at the annual UIS Athletics banquet, I was touched to get a little recognition from the Student-Athletes Advisory Committee for my support of student-athletes in recent years, including going to their games and buying their T-shirts and sweatshirts and offering moral support. The truth is, it's easy for me to support these people because they are great young men and women. But I still got a kick out of softball and basketball player Mallory Beck publicly calling me "still an athlete" while introducing me. She didn't say "at his age" but I know what she and her friends were thinking. People say if something is on the Internet, it must be true, and so I'm posting this tidbit on the Internet so it must be true that I'm still an athlete. Congratulations to all the UIS student award winners, especially Abby Vorreyer, female athlete of the year (golf); and Kyle Gupton, male athlete of the year (basketball).

Friday, April 12, 2013

What I wrote earlier

I had posted these words of gratitude to our snow-removal on a different blog March 25 and wanted to share them here:

Amazing what happened to me this morning. I drove into my usual parking lot, stepped out onto clear but wet pavement and walked into the PAC Building without breaking stride. That means our great crew had worked for hours and hours to clear 13+ inches of snow and many more inches of drift. We cannot thank you enough! Then I walked around the corner and saw the snowman inside the colonnade. I laughed out loud with delight and joy. Thanks to whoever (students, I assume) who built that gigantic smiling creature. It gave me a boost as I started my week. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

If I could do this one over again...

We would have announced the day after the record-setting March snowstorm that the Liberal Leave Policy was in effect for employees on Monday, March 25. The Civil Service Advisory Council (CSAC) brought this to my attention yesterday. They told me there was some confusion and distress because classes were canceled and the campus was open, but some highways and roads in the area obviously were still in really bad shape that Monday. I told them I made this mistake: I thought the Liberal Leave Policy was in effect because it's based on common sense and good judgment, but I discovered it wasn't formally activated because we had not announced it. So my apologies to the staff and supervisors who did not know for sure how to handle "Should I or shouldn't I go work today?" that morning. And thanks for CSAC for bringing this to my attention.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Student leaders seek more connections in Springfield community

Springfield Mayor Mike Houston gave an hour of his time today to answer UIS student leaders' questions. Our students told him that they would like to see UIS more connected to the Springfield community and they'd like to see more recognition of UIS students by Springfield businesses, especially the ones downtown. The mayor suggested that they consider volunteering for Downtown Springfield Inc. and the Convention and Visitors Bureau at city events where a lot of help is needed. Seems like a great idea to me, and I hope our students follow up. The mayor also mentioned that he has a UIS intern working in his office; one of the students in the group today is an intern now with Downtown Springfield. So the opportunities to collaborate are there already. My advice to UIS students and staff is to reach out in many ways and offer to help, and soon enough people in the community will recognize you even more.

Springfield Mayor Mike Houston meets in the City Council chamber with leaders of the UIS  Student Government Association.