Tag Archives: Student Union

Top 5 Things to Do at Campus Visit Day

Seniors, still undecided on where to attend?  Juniors, wanting to get a head start on your college planning?  Here are the top 5 things to do while attending Parkland’s Campus Visit Day on September 23 or October 10.

Top 5 Things to Do While Attending Parkland’s Campus Visit Day

  1. Speak to students who are currently attending Parkland. Get an idea of campus life, student clubs and organizations, and much more! Do your parents have questions about safety?  Do you wonder where the best place is to live or just where to get the best cup of coffee? Ask our students! You will really get the inside scoop from students who made the decision to attend this amazing campus. Get an idea of why Parkland was the best choice for them.
  1. Worried about the price of college? Find out how much it is going to cost you to attend Parkland as well as residency information and learn how to finance college through scholarships, grants, and loans.  This will save you from any surprises down the road!
  1. Tour campus! Campus tours generally give you much more info than you could see if you walked a campus on your own.  Not only will you see classrooms, cafeterias, bookstore, labs, art gallery, and much more, you also learn about services on campus for you to utilize and fun facts you may have never known!
  1. Meet one on one with an Admissions advisor to get all of your specific questions answered! We know that you and your parents have many questions, and we are here to answer them and make you feel as comfortable as possible.
  1. Apply to be a student! Get a step ahead of your peers and fill out an application while on campus. That way, if you have any questions while filling out the application, the pros will be right there to answer your questions! Visit our Application Station and complete an application onsite!

Ready to visit?  RSVP here: http://www2.parkland.edu/forms/admissionsRSVP/campusvisit.html.

[Sarah Hartman is an admissions advisor for Parkland College.]

Cultures Fair 2016

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Parkland College Cultures Fair 2016
Thursday March 17, 10–3, Main Stage Student Union and U140

Everyone is invited to attend the Cultures Fair at Parkland College this Thursday.  The event is free, and will feature an exciting lineup of musical artists from around the world.  There will also be activities in U140, including language lessons, henna tattoos, free international snacks, and music.  We will be raising money at the fair for Build Congo Schools.

10–10:45: Belly Dancing (Classy Combinations)
11–11:30: Parkland International Student Performance
11:30–11:50: Chinese Silk and Bamboo Ensemble (Priscilla Tse, UIUC)
Noon–12:45: Jean René Balekita and Bomoyi from the Democratic Republic of the Congo
1–1:45: Bali Lantari, traditional Indonesian dance and music (led by I Ketut Gede Asnawa, UIUC)
2–2:45: Capoeira Angola (Denis Chiaramonte, UIUC)

Classy Combinations Belly Dancing Troupe
Classy Combinations promotes education and demonstration of Middle Eastern dance, with fusion flavors of Flamenco, Turkish, Persian, African and Tribal. We support meaningful fundraisers and promote culturally diverse programs in dance and music, while celebrating and encouraging the traditions of global community. We enchant audiences with our always family rated shows and very diverse variety of skills and specialties within the elegant Belly Dance!

–Day 1 Taste of Champaign 2012 Choreography by Cindi Adkins

Priscilla Tse, Chinese Silk and Bamboo Ensemble
The Silk and Bamboo (sizhu) Ensemble is a string and wind group that represents a typical, traditional Chinese musical form. Like Shanghai Tea-house and Cantonese music, it often includes strings such as erhu and gaohu fiddles, pipa and yueqin lutes and the yangqin dulcimer as well as the dizi flute, sheng mouth-organ and percussion instruments such as the ban and gu clapper and drums.

Jean René Balekita and Bomoyi from the Democratic Republic of the Congo
A professional musical ensemble featuring Congolese rumba with flavors of gospel, jazz and African rhythms. Bomoyi means “life” in the native language of Lingala. In addition to Lingala they sing in English, French, Kikongo, Swahili and Tshiluba. Well known in Congo Jean René Balekita and Bomoyi have recently gained enthusiastic audiences in the United States. Jean René on acoustic guitar is joined by vocalists Laeticia Kyungu and Joyce Nkama with Victor Matondo on bass guitar.


Bali Lantari, traditional Indonesian dance and music
Bali Lantari is a private group based in Champaign and Urbana area is specializing in performing arts of traditional Indonesian dance and music under the direction of I Ketut Gede Asnawa.

I Ketut Gede Asnawa’s Original Balinese Gamelan Music ‘Catur Rawita’ (The Beauty of Four), is a composition for ‘gamelan ahgklung’ that involves singing and …

Capoeira Angola
Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art that combines elements of dance, acrobatics and music, and is usually referred to as a game. It was developed in Brazil mainly by West African descendants with native Brazilian influences, probably beginning in the 16th century. It is known for quick and complex moves, using mainly power, speed, and leverage for a wide variety of kicks, spins, and highly mobile techniques. The Capoeira Angola Centre of Mestre João Grande, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, is led by Denis Chiaramonte.

Roda de Abertura do 5th Vem Vadiar 2012 Champaign-Urbana USA,Organizado pelo Centro de Capoeira Livre Como Vento e Denis Capoeira.

The fair is being sponsored by the Center for Global Studies, through support of the U.S. Department of Education’s Title VI NRC program, as well as support from the Centers for African Studies, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and East Asian and Pacific Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Ketut Gede Asnawa playing gamelan instrument. Photo by Folake Osibodu
Ketut Gede Asnawa playing gamelan instrument. Photo by Folake Osibodu

Veterans: Discover Your ‘Voice’ at New Book Group

I read a New York Times article last year by Iraq War veteran Phil Klay, winner of the National Book Award and one of the authors we will read from during the new Veterans Book Group, coming next week to Parkland College. A paragraph from Klay’s article speaks to the crux of this project:

“If we fetishize trauma as incommunicable, then survivors are trapped—unable to feel truly known by their nonmilitary friends and family. At a recent Veterans Day performance put on by Arts in the Armed Forces, Adam Driver, the organization’s founder, a former Marine turned actor, spoke of his feelings of alienation after leaving the corps. ‘Not being able to express the anger, confusion and loneliness I felt was challenging,’ he said, until theater exposed him ‘to playwrights and characters and plays that had nothing to do with the military, that were articulating experiences I had in the military, that before to me were indescribable.'”

Klay goes on to state, “It’s a powerful moment, when you discover a vocabulary exists for something you’d thought incommunicably unique.” We believe this is what literature can do, and it’s what we hope to provide book group participants: a safe place to read about others’ experiences about war and discuss their own.

John Fundator and I will serve as co-facilitators for the group.  A senior communications specialist with the University of Illinois Foundation, John served in the U.S. Army (1977–1981) and the Illinois Army National Guard (1981–1998).  He was a weekend soldier in the Guard when he was called up for a yearlong deployment during the Bosnia conflict of the early 1990s. John was part of a public affairs unit and wrote about the conflict for that year.

John had a wife (me!) and three small children (6-year-old twins and a one-year old) at home during that time. This gives us some understanding of the difficulty of separation many vets and their families feel. My position as full-time professor of humanities at Parkland will bring a literary background to the book discussions that we hope vets will also find useful.

No matter your age or military experience, as a veteran, you are welcome to take part in this free book group! We’ll read works from various eras, ranging from Stephen Crane’s Civil War-era short story, The Veteran, to Ernest Hemingway’s Soldier’s Home, a narrative of one young World War I veteran’s return to civilian life. We’ll even read recently published selections by Klay, whose writing reflects the wartime and post-war experiences of contemporary combat veterans.

The National Endowment for the Humanities has generously provided funding for this book group in conjunction with its initiative, Standing Together: The Humanities and the Experience of War. The initiative aims to promote understanding of the military experience and to support returning veterans.

We invite you to become part of the Veteran’s Book Group at Parkland by contacting the Illinois Humanities Council’s Matt Meacham at mwm@prairie.org or 312/422-5589.


“Standing Together: A Veterans Book Group”
January 27, February 10, February 24, and March 10
5:30 to 7 p.m.
Parkland College Student Union, Room U230
Hosted by the Illinois Humanities Council (IHC), Parkland College, and Crosspoint Human Services

What’s In a Prairie?

You have heard Illinois called the Prairie State, but do you know what a prairie is? Hint: it’s NOT weeds!

Before the state was settled, 60 percent of Illinois (22 million+ acres) was covered by vast expanses of tallgrass. The deep  prairie plants’ roots (up to 15 feet!) make topsoils incredibly productive, and thus fertile for agriculture.  The invention of the John Deere self-scouring plow in 1837 made it possible to break up the prairie sod and change it into farmland. Many prairies still existed at that time, however, because there was too much water in many soils to farm well. By 1935, enough drain tile had been laid in Illinois to thoroughly drain off the soil water into drainage ditches, allowing the productive soils to be intensely farmed. 

Today, only 2,000 acres of prairie remain in Illinois (that’s .0001 percent).

You might be familiar with big bluestem, Illinois’ official prairie grass, but did you know there are about 150 kinds of grasses native to  prairies, including Indian grass, wild rye, and switchgrass? Native prairie wildflowers (forbs) include coneflowers, compass and cup plants with their bright yellow flowers, and milkweeds–the only plant species that monarch butterflies lay their eggs on. Prairies also provide habitat for hundreds of animal species. Check out the Illinois Plant Information Network database, which lists 851 species of plants native to Illinois prairies. 

Parkland’s prairie restoration, located due east of the Student Union, was started in the 1990s through the efforts of former biology professors Rich Blazier and Earl Creutzberg, along with community members and organizations and Parkland students. Today’s environmental and plant biology students learn about prairie and other ecosystems in Parkland’s natural land areas and regularly participate in prairie workdays, learning how to maintain prairies by collecting seeds, helping with prairie burns, and removing invasive plants.

Parkland’s Sustainable Campus Committee and Physical Plant hope to expand the prairie restoration by about 15 acres, including large tracts behind the Athletics track and small showy native flower beds by the buildings. This could eliminate hours of mowing, lowering the college’s carbon footprint by reducing fuel use. It also means beautiful flowers throughout the growing season. Planting tallgrass prairie costs less than planting turf grass, and requires little maintenance. Tallgrass prairie helps control drainage, prevents erosion, brings important pollinators to the area, and reminds us of our natural heritage.


Jonathan from Illinois Soil and Water Conservation
Jonathan from Illinois Soil and Water Conservation District loads prairie seed into the planter.

Parkland biology professor Heidi Leuszler recently worked with Pheasants Forever to establish a new one-acre tallgrass prairie across the Perimeter Drive in front of the union. The seed mix included about 75 species of prairie plants native to east-central soils.

Now that you know about Parkland’s prairie restoration, watch from the big windows in the welcome areaor better yet, walk right out the front door—to see how prairie changes over the seasons, and observe the wildlife that finds a safe home in Parkland’s prairie.

Student Union Ribbon Cutting—A Video Version

Well, last Wednesday was quite an exciting day for Parkland College with the ribbon cutting for our new Student Union. While the event was wonderfully covered on the brand new shiny Parkland College BLOG, I thought some folks might like to see it in its entirety (in case they missed it or maybe just really enjoy the cutting of ribbons).

Either way, here’s the video of the event. Is the Union officially open? Probably yes. Did Parkland College get an exciting new grant? Um, maybe. Did the ribbon actually get cut or did President Ramage have to brilliantly improvise? Geez, I don’t know. Watch the video and get answers to all of these burning questions.