WIU-QC Riverfront Campus Continues to Grow

WIU’s Quad Cities Riverfront Campus Phase II has been completed and it opened for classes this fall semester. Earlier this month, on September 3, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, WIU President Jack Thomas, many other local legislators, university staff and community members gathered together for the ribbon cutting of Phase II of the WIU-Quad Cities Riverfront Campus.

University Architect and Director of Facilities, William Brewer explained the details of the new building. “It is a singular building that looks like three distinct buildings. You can see three footprints, but they’re connected at the second floor. It operates as a singular building so it’s called the Quad Cities Complex,” said Brewer.

The new building includes the College of Education and Human Services, the College of Arts and Science, and the College of Fine Arts and Communication. It is 100,000-square feet and cost $42-million to complete. Classes in the above mentioned colleges used to be held on the 60th street WIU campus in Moline before being relocated to the Riverfront Campus this fall.

Brewer explained that they chose to build the Quad Cities Complex because they are trying to consolidate to a single campus in the Quad Cities which will allow for more of a campus environment.

“We now have better facilities and the capacity to grow as a community. The City of Moline is also revitalizing the area surrounding the WIU-QC Riverfront Campus into community- and University-friendly development. The Quad Cities campus currently serves more than 1,300 students in Moline and at the Riverfront Campus,” said Brewer.

Phase 1 of the WIU-QC Riverfront Campus included the renovation of the former John Deere Tech Center, which now houses the College of Business and Technology, including the School of Engineering and WQPT-Quad Cities Public Television.

Brewer explained that Phase III will have an innovation center focus and the new building will have Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) lab space.

Watch the WIU-Quad Cities Phase II Ribbon Cutting video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1u9oANADT60.

Homecoming Week Is Here!

Homecoming events have started and WIU students are full of spirit. As a member of a sorority, Homecoming is a very exciting and busy time for me. Every year each sorority teams up with two fraternities and we compete for points throughout Homecoming Week. We earn points for attendance at events, winning competitions, and showing spirit. The theme for Homecoming 2014 is “WIU: A Hero’s Homecoming. Who’s Your Hero?” This year, each team chose a hero for their team’s theme for the week’s competitions.

I am very excited for the Variety Show, which I am participating in this week. I twirled a baton in the Variety Show last year, but this is my first time dancing in it. I have danced my whole life, so it hasn’t been hard for me to catch on to the routine, but it will be my first time dancing with a partner. I would love to tell you the details of what we are doing for Variety Show, but it is all a secret; that way everyone will be surprised the day of the event.

Homecoming kicked off with Paint the Paws last Friday. That evening, the WIU volleyball team took on Denver. It is events like these where we can earn points through the Homecoming competition. You see, each sorority or fraternity member has to sign in when they attend a Homecoming Event; that way, they earn points for their team. On Saturday, we worked to Paint the Town, an event where each team went to various businesses and painted their windows.These paintings along with all of the other events during Homecoming week are judged by a mixture of WIU faculty and staff and Macomb community members.

On Sunday, it was time for Rocky’s Boat Regatta, an event where each team built a boat to race other teams. Last year our boat fell apart and our team member ended up soaked in the lake at Everly Park! Dec the Campus also took place on Sunday where we painted University building windows. Each event gets pretty competitive. Today, we have a Homecoming Kickoff Event and Dec the Office. Tomorrow is the big day I have been preparing for these last several weeks. That’s when we have the Variety Show! After that, our next Homecoming event is “Yell Like Hell” on Thursday. “Yell Like Hell” is very similar to the Variety Show except instead of dancing, it includes cheerleading, resembling that of a pep rally. Then, on Saturday, we will have our float in the Homecoming parade.

I spoke with a student worker at the Alumni House and a member of the sorority Delta Zeta, Kori McElroy. She explained to me that her favorite event is the Variety Show. “I really like the Variety Show; I wanted to participate in it, but was too busy. I like seeing how the different organizations interpret the theme. For example, this year, it’s interesting to see who each organization views as their hero,” said McElroy.

I asked McElroy what all she has been doing with her sorority to prepare for Homecoming. She explained that she has been crafting and making props for the Variety Show and Yell Like Hell, helping get things ready for Homecoming at the Alumni House (for her student worker position), and she will be walking in the parade with the WIU College Republicans.

Stay updated with my blog and read more about the Homecoming events because I will be taking pictures of the various Homecoming Events on campus and posting a pictorial blog later this week.

WIU’s Master of Business Administration (MBA) Is Now Available Online

This fall semester, WIU has made it easier to obtain a master of business administration (MBA) degree. Why you may ask…well, you can now obtain a MBA from WIU from the comfort of your own home. Western’s online MBA program covers the same content and is taught by the same faculty as the face-to-face courses. And when finished, students receive the same MBA degree that is fully accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

WIU has been offering online courses in the MBA program for some years, but there were some required courses that students had to take on campus, until now. The faculty members teaching these courses have worked hard to convert their course content to that that can be taught online.

WIU’s College of Business and Technology (CBT) Interim Associate Dean and MBA Director William Polley explained that the traditional face-to-face program is still available, but the University now offers the entire program online for those that would prefer that option.

“The traditional face-to-face program is still very much a part of what the college offers. A student can still take the entire MBA in face-to-face format at either the Macomb and Quad Cities campus (with some classes transmitted from one campus to the other via the CODEC teleconferencing system). I should emphasize that the content and curriculum have not changed. We have simply created an online section of a sufficient number of courses in the curriculum to complete the degree online. The student can choose between online or face-to-face for each of those courses. Get the face-to-face experience when your schedule allows, and take courses online when you need the extra flexibility to accommodate your busy professional and personal life,” said Polley.

Polley also explained that WIU alumni who no longer live in the Quad Cities or Macomb areas now have the chance to further their education with a master’s degree without having to move back to the area.

“Of course for many students who live and work beyond Macomb or the Quad Cities, online courses are the only option if they want their degree from WIU. Certainly many WIU alumni who live outside the immediate area may have had an interest in furthering their education with the same university and the same great faculty they came to know during their days as a student, but distance has prevented them from taking that step. Distance is no longer a constraint, and we hope to hear from some of our alums for whom this program would be ideal,” said Polley.

For more information about the new online MBA program visit http://www.wiu.edu/cbt/mba/index.php.

WIU Football—Win or Lose, I’m Proud To Be a Leatherneck

Lots of purple, football pads, loud music, stretching, and hard work…this is what I saw when I attended a WIU football practice last week. Seeing all the players get focused for practice got me pumped for last Saturday’s game.

On Saturday, the Leathernecks played against Big Ten team Northwestern in Evanston, Illinois. Although they didn’t come away with a win, it was still a special game. Bob Nielson, WIU’s head football coach explained to me at a practice last week how the WIU football team has never taken the field in the Chicago area, which is home for many of the WIU football players.

“I think this game is really special. I know none of our players have had the opportunity during their careers here at Western Illinois to play in the Chicago area. So to have an opportunity to go back home and play in your home city and represent Western Illinois against an outstanding University and outstanding program, Northwestern, is a special opportunity, and one they’re going to remember for the rest of their lives,” said Nielson.

I asked Nielson if they prepare for Big Ten teams differently than other games; he explained that their preparation is generally the same for all of their games. “We prepare every week the same to a certain extent, no matter who we’re playing. Playing in Wisconsin was different because of the 80,000 fans. Obviously you are going to get a bigger crowd at a Big Ten game, so there are some things you do differently to prepare for those games than you do for games in our league,” said Nielson.

Nielson explained that the Leathernecks have an exciting season ahead of them. “We’re a young team that’s getting better. We want to get better every week, (we want to) improve. We’ve got a schedule that includes these games like Northwestern and games against five or six of the top twenty-five (teams) in the country and FCS. So the opportunity to play that kind of competition and that kind of schedule, week in and week out, is certainly very exciting,” said Nielson.

Jvaughn Williams, a wide receiver on the football team and one of my good friends at WIU, has shown me, over the past couple of years, all the dedication that goes into being on the team. He lives and breathes football. I’ve gained so much respect for the team by seeing what all that the players put into it. Since Nielson became the head football in December 2012, there has been nothing but progress in the WIU football program. I have no doubt that the Leathernecks will keep growing and improving. I have witnessed their dedication both on and off the field. Win or lose, I will always support and cheer on our Leathernecks. Up next, they travel to Southern Illinois to take on the Salukis this Saturday. Then, it’s Homecoming at WIU on October 4 when the Leathernecks play North Dakota State University.

Read more about the Leathernecks and their schedule at http://www.goleathernecks.com/schedule.aspx?path=football.

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Celebrating Town and Gown 2014 Is Right Around the Corner

On Thursday, September 25th, WIU alumni and Macomb community members will be kicking off WIU Homecoming 2014 with the 7th annual Celebrating Town and Gown event. This event celebrates President Jack Thomas and Mayor Mike Inman for all they’ve done for the University and Macomb communities. The celebration will be held at The Forum from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on September 25th with Magnolia’s catering the event.

Amanda Shoemaker, associate director of Alumni Programs, explained what goes on at Celebrating Town and Gown. “There is lots of mingling and socializing. It is just a great way to bring University and community members together and celebrate all that the two entities have accomplished over the last year,” said Shoemaker.

Another aspect of the event includes the awarding of specific honors from the Alumni Association. “Two awards will be given that night—the Honorary Alumni Award will be given to an individual who has done a lot for WIU (such as supporting the University, attending events, giving back in various ways, etc.) but who is not a Western graduate. The Town & Gown Award will be given to an individual who has provided exceptional service to both the University and Macomb.”

The nomination forms for these awards can be found on the Alumni web site at http://www.wiu.edu/alumni/recognition/criteria.php. Every year, the Town and Gown committee reviews all of the nominations and selects the recipients of the awards.

Speakers for the event will include Alumni Director Amy Spelman, President Jack Thomas and Mayor Mike Inman. A special announcement regarding the 2015 installment of Rocky on Parade will also be made.

Assistant Director of Alumni Programs Judy Eckerly explained her favorite part of Celebrating Town and Gown. “My favorite part would have to be the reading of the bios for who receives the awards and seeing the surprised look on the recipients’ faces.”

WIU alumni and friends should definitely come out and enjoy the celebration! Registration for the event is still open. Anyone can call 309-298-1914 or go online to https://www.wiu.com/alumni/ to register. We hope to see you there!

WIU Celebrates the Community-University Partnership Program (CUPP)

Last Wednesday, September 10th, the 9th annual Community-University Partnership Program (CUPP) Block Party took place at WIU, although this year, it wasn’t much of a block party, due to all the rain we got last week. The event had to be moved inside to the Heritage Room instead of the normal location on the Sherman Hall lawn. Being inside did not stop the community or campus from having a great time, though. I attended the event and everyone was excited to be back on campus, starting the fall semester.

Macomb Mayor Mike Inman and WIU President Jack Thomas were there conversing with members of the community as well as WIU students. Businesses from all over Macomb were handing out free food and gifts. Being there to interview people for this blog didn’t stop me from grabbing some free pizza and ice cream. I was even offered a job from one of the businesses! I also walked away a winner as I won the Chamber of Commerce drawing; I won $10 worth of Chamber dollars that can be used anywhere in Macomb.

I spoke with Fisher Boyle, a freshman at WIU; he was having a great time with his friends at the event. He explained that his friends invited him to attend the Block Party and he thought it would be interesting to learn about all the businesses that are in Macomb and enjoy the free food.

“Macomb is a small town so it’s important for the students to know the community,” said Boyle.

Alex Geisler, president of the Macomb Area Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Development Corp. explained to me that only businesses that are Chamber members can participate in the CUPP event and it’s free for them to have a booth at the Block Party.

It costs the businesses anywhere from $45 to $2500 to be a Macomb Area Chamber of Commerce member; the fee depends on the size of the business.

“It is important to bring the community and University together, to have that partnership and exposure to the students,” said Geisler.

There were many families from the community and students at the event. It’s great that Western has a partnership with the community; the event helps students build relationships with members in the community. A relationship between students and the community is crucial because it helps students realize that Macomb isn’t just a “College Town” and to respect the neighborhoods, people and community as a whole.

The University and its students are a big part of Macomb and their business greatly affects the businesses in Macomb. It’s important that the students know what Macomb has to offer and this Block Party did just that.

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WIU Students Love the New and Improved Union

Call me weird, but I was excited for school to start back up as that was our first chance to see the completed Union renovations; it must be my love for interior design. The Union had been under construction for quite some time, but the wait was well worth it.

When I was five years old, my mom was a student at WIU. I remember visiting the Union with her and it looked almost the same then as it did before the revamp; obviously the Union was in serious need of a makeover. It got just that! The old, dark and outdated Union is now modern, bright and spiffy. Haley Calvert, a junior, supply chain management major explained how much she appreciates the revamp. “I really like the changes; it was much needed. It’s now more spacious and more practical for us bustling students,” said Calvert.

“The Union has been serving the WIU community for 50 years and it was time to improve its systems and start to give it a more modern and open feel,” said Ann Comerford, Director of the University Union.

The project was $7 million. Comerford explained that the budget for the project was $10 million, but with very good bids, they were able to keep the project under the budget. The renovations consist of the food court, Murray Street Café, Lamoine Room, and the northwest entrance, including the patio and ramp access to the building. New floors, ceilings, lighting, furniture, windows and technology were installed in the spaces. They also improved the function of the building ductwork and a new chiller system.

“I appreciate the light. The space is so much more open and welcoming to the WIU community,” said Comerford.

For more on the Union renovations visit http://www.wiu.edu/vpas/fm/unionremodel.php.

Burger King, Sbarro, and Einstein Bros Bagels are now all open in the food court. Also, Colonel Rock’s BISTRO, located in the Lamoine Room, is now open; it was shut down last year during the construction. Before the shutdown, it was one of my favorite places to eat on campus, so I could not wait for it to reopen. I tried it out for the first time last week! Instead of ordering off of a menu, diners can enjoy a buffet in the renovated bistro. The buffet cost me $10.55 including tax and a drink. They accept our WIU meal plan, Rocky Dollars (a debit-like account that is accessed using our WIU ID card), debit cards, credit cards and of course, cash. Last week, I enjoyed the lasagna with meat sauce, a breadstick, bowtie spinach pasta and a salad. It definitely filled me up. I can’t wait to go again.

Donna Ford, a head cook at Colonel Rock’s BISTRO, explained how it’s nice for students to be able to experience something that is similar to a home cooked meal. “We do a four week cycle. Every day we have a vegetarian entrée and a regular entrée, soup and salad. Every day our soup is different and we are working on getting desserts in the future. Almost everything is made from scratch,” said Ford.

Whenever you are back on campus, I encourage you check out the Union revamp and try out the bistro. You can look at their menu at http://student.services.wiu.edu/menu/ColonelRock.htm.

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Family Day is Here!

There are many campus events taking place this weekend for families to take part in with their Western student. Why, you may ask. Well, it’s time for another Family Day at WIU! This year, WIU is calling it “Family Day” instead of “Family Weekend” because they are putting a lot of effort all into one day. Family Day is tomorrow, September 13th. This day will be jam packed with amusing events for families to partake in, but if your family is coming in today and sticking around through Sunday, there are plenty of other things to do before and after the official “Family Day”. Maybe the best part…there is no registration fee or sign up needed; during the weekend you can take part in whatever events you like.

Tonight, there is the Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood Family Weekend Headline Act. It will be a hilarious improvisation show featuring famous comedians, Brad Sherwood and Colin Mochrie; both men are known for their appearances on the television improvisation show, Whose Line Is It Anyway? I competed in improv competitions during speech contests when I was in middle school, so obviously this show is right up my alley. Whose Line Is It Anyway? was one of my favorite television shows when I was younger, so I am sure now that I’m older and can actually understand all of the jokes, it will make it that much funnier. The show is great for the family because the whole family can get in on the act by suggesting scenes to the comedians during various audience participation portions. They will even call up some members of the audience to take part on stage. This show is in Western Hall at 7:30 this evening.

Saturday is Family Day so there are tons of events to attend. You can start your Saturday at the Harry Mussato Golf Course with a two-person, nine-hole golf scramble. Check in at 8:30 a.m. and start time is at 9:00 a.m. sharp. The price is $18 which includes the golf cart. Pre-registration for this event is required. Call 309-298-3676 for more details. I actually just went golfing on this course a couple weekends go with my mom and brother; we had a great time. It was a perfect day for golf; the course is just beautiful.

The WIU Art Gallery is hosting exhibitions at the University Art Gallery from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. tomorrow. For more information visit http://www.wiu.edu/cofac/artgallery/.

If the semester has got you stressed, then you might want to check out the licensed massage therapist, Tammy Jo Miller, who will be at the Rec Center from 10 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. tomorrow. Her relaxing massages are $1.00/minute. She accepts cash, check, debit, and credit. Call the Campus Recreation Office at 309-298-1228 to schedule an appointment.

For those who want more excitement, come enjoy tailgating, a concert and some Leatherneck football against the Drake Bulldogs. Rick Springfield will be performing in the Q Lot tailgating area tomorrow; his many hits include “Jessie’s Girl” and “I’ve Done Everything For You”; there is no admission to the concert! Also, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., check out the Family Day t-shirt sales at Hanson Field, near the tall flags. To view the T-shirt design go to http://www.wiu.edu/student_services/university_union_board/family_day/tshirt.php.

Sunday activities include brunch in the residence halls, a visit to WIU’s Horn Field Campus and a stop at Macomb’s Ball Fore Family Entertainment Center.

Diane Kornegay, office manager for Student Activities explained to me that Family Day happens only once a year,every year and there is always a really good turnout to the football game, especially since they started Q Lot concerts. “It’s important to bring the families on campus and see their students, just to have a good, relaxing day being on campus.”

For more information on Family Day, check out the University Union Board we site at http://www.wiu.edu/student_services/university_union_board/family_day/events.php.

WIU Recruitment Week Was a Success

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Greek students passing out flyers all week, giant boards promoting Greek chapters and students all around campus sporting their Greek letters, this is what the WIU campus was like all last week. To non-Greeks, the constant promoting of Greek life may have become somewhat annoying, but for me, as a member of the sorority Phi Sigma Sigma, seeing all the excitement about recruitment was intriguing because I know that there will soon be many new sisters joining my chapter.

 While the week was fun, recruitment is often very stressful for most of us Greeks, especially for those on the PanHellenic council recruitment team. This fall almost 200 women were registered for recruitment; those 200 women were in good hands because they had 25 recruitment counselors (Rho Chis) helping them through the process.

 Recruitment weekend (last weekend) consisted of three different rounds before “Bid Day” when the potential new members found out what sorority they will soon join. The first round is the philanthropy round in the Union, where they met with each of the sororities, talked to members and learned about that sorority’s philanthropy. The second round consisted of house tours where the sororities invited some girls to tour their house, while getting to know them better. The third round was the preference round where the sororities invited a smaller group of women back to their house; during this round the girls got to know a couple members on a much more deeper level; at that point, potential members then participated in the sorority’s preference ceremony.

 The job of a recruitment counselor is not always an easy one. They cannot wear their letters or have any contact with their sorority for about a month and a half before recruitment. They have to abstain from anything regarding their sorority so that potential new members don’t know what sorority their recruitment counselor belongs to; this keeps the potential new members from joining a house based on the sorority their recruitment counselor is a member of here at WIU.

 Taylor Fischer, a law enforcement and justice administration major and assistant vice president of recruitment, explained the duties of a recruitment counselor. “Rho Chis remain unbiased, (and are) available 24/7 during recruitment weekend for their recruitment group. They are there to help inform them about the mutual selection process and they are there as a support system,” said Fischer.

 WIU recruitment style is considered “no frills”; this basically means that the individual sororities cannot have all of their members in matching clothing or have decorations at the sorority house during the three rounds of recruitment. Haley Delia, a communication major and vice president of recruitment, explained to me the purpose of using a “no frills” recruitment style.

 “The whole point of no frills is because women should join organizations based on the values they have in common, not how cute the skits, outfits or decorations are. No frills allows women to focus on the conversations and relationships formed during the recruitment process,” said Delia. She also discussed two changes the recruitment team implemented this year; all sorority members wore unity shirts during the house tours. Unity shirts displayed the chapter’s letters and “Sorority Recruitment” on the front with the back stating, “Add a chapter to your story.” The sorority recruitment team also utilized social media more.

 With 19 fraternities and 10 sororities on campus, WIU has a very active Greek system. It provides great leadership, scholarship, networking and community service opportunities. For more on Greek life here at Western, visit http://www.wiu.edu/student_services/greek_life/.

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Recruitment Counselors From Phi Sigma Sigma At Bid Day

Recruitment Counselors From Phi Sigma Sigma At Bid Day

 

Recruitment Counselors At Bid Day

Recruitment Counselors At Bid Day

WIU Freshmen Moved In Earlier This Year

Move in

WIU changed things up this fall. Freshmen move in took place on a Friday instead of the usual Saturday move in day. Incoming freshmen and their families descended on the WIU campus starting at 8 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 22nd. Mother Nature was not on their side this year; rain soaked Macomb during most of the day. I was actually outside, handing out six packs of soda while encouraging the freshmen to check out Greek life, in Q Lot, the large parking lot by Western Hall. So I had to endure the rain as well.

A junior law enforcement student, former Resident Assistant (R.A.), and current Welcome Week Leader Lydia Quiñones explained that move in was moved up a day to give freshmen an extra day to get settled into Western and become more familiar with the campus. As a Welcome Week Leader, Quiñones took new students to all their scheduled activities during opening weekend, answered questions, showed them their classes, and was another familiar face on campus.

 “I think moving in earlier is a huge help! I wish I could’ve moved in earlier as a freshman. I also think all the activities that were planned gave them a better opportunity to network with upper class-men and ask questions so they could feel more comfortable,” Quiñones said.

 A junior psychology student, former R.A., and current Welcome Week Leader, Anyssa Hining also thought that early move in for the freshmen was a great change. “I thought the new system was better for freshmen because they had longer to adjust to Macomb versus previous years. Freshmen and upperclassmen moving in on the same day made it more hectic possibly, but I would keep the move in (for freshmen) on Friday. They learned a ton more about Macomb and campus before classes even started with the activities this year,” said Hining.

As a freshman, moving to a new place and starting college is definitely a scary matter that most of us can relate to or remember. A few years ago when I was a freshman, my mom cried when she moved me in at college! Leaving home was definitely a bittersweet feeling; I was both nervous and excited to be moving into the residence hall. I can fully understand how an extra day of getting comfortable before classes begin can really benefit freshmen! WIU definitely got a jumpstart on helping new students adapt to their new lives at Western.

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