Monday, February 20, 2017

Press Release/PSA: Welcoming Our Neighbors, Building Bridges at the Int'l Dinner & Performance Night

Press Release/PSA
For Immediate Release
February 20, 2017

For media inquiries, contact:
Megan Flowers, University YMCA Communications Director

Building Bridges at the International Dinner & Performance Night in Champaign

At this critical time in history, the YMCA of the University of Illinois stands by its work as a builder of bridges between campus and surrounding communities. In Champaign County, we can show all that our differing identities are actually assets in making our communities and nation stronger. In light of our collective work to lift up the welcoming efforts of our communities, we see the Y’s International Dinner and Performance Night as a key community bridge-building event that raises awareness of the benefits of welcoming everyone and bringing together newcomers and U.S.-born residents in a spirit of unity.


At the 34th Annual International Dinner, we will have some fun, community bridge-building and story sharing activities planned in addition enjoying an evening of great food and live music in celebration of the diverse cultures that make up Champaign-Urbana.   

The University YMCA and the International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) are co-hosting the 34th Annual International Dinner & Performance Night, which will take place on Sunday, March 12 from 6pm to 8pm at the University YMCA, 1001 S. Wright Street, Champaign, Illinois.

“Welcoming celebrations like the International Dinner & Performance Night are part of a powerful and growing movement in Champaign County and across the nation,” said Mike Doyle, Executive Director of the University YMCA. “Communities recognize that they are more vibrant and prosperous when everyone feels welcomed and can fully participate. In the spirit of our collective efforts to be welcoming, the University YMCA looks forward to seeing new and long-time residents build bridges to make the campus community and the communities of Champaign County stronger.”  

Tickets are $15 and are on sale now at the front desk of the University YMCA, 1001 S. Wright Street, Champaign, IL (checks payable to the University YMCA). Tickets are also available for online purchase for $16 on our webpage at: Tickets sell out early and seats are limited; please plan to purchase well in advance. Proceeds from the event will benefit the University YMCA’s Global Engagement programming. For more information about the Y’s Global Engagement Programming, visit:

A finalized program and menu is To Be Announced. For more information and updates on the menu and performance schedule, visit:


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Amnesty's Write for Rights Campaign at Friday Forum

Andy Swinkunas, Priya Vaikuntapathi, and Ashley Williams (left to right), who are members of Amnesty International UIUC,  ask Y staff, Emily Cross and Kasey Umland, to add their voice to the #Write4Rights Campaign.

Featured Y Student Program News:
Amnesty International UIUC Chapter Writes For Rights

Last semester, Amnesty International UIUC, a student program of the Y, asked the campus community to turn their pens into weapons as part of the Amnesty International USA's Write For Rights Campaign.

The way this process works is by sending letters to officials with the ability to free wrongfully imprisoned people. They receive letters from concerned citizens from all over the country requesting that cases be reopened or demanding that people be released. With enough letters for a duration of time, this puts the pressure of our attention upon them. The campaign has been very successful.

Amnesty International USA's Write for Rights campaign is an example of grassroots efforts creating tangible change in the lives of people who have been wrongfully imprisoned. If you're looking for a way to use your voice, consider dropping by their website at:

In light of the recent executive order on the refugee ban, Amnesty International UIUC is hosting a Write for Rights campaign this Friday, February 3 between 11:15am-1:15pm at the University YMCA.  If you are coming to this week's Friday Forum, which is about the state of incarceration in Illinois, be sure to visit Amnesty's table and add your voice to a letter or write your own.

Learn more about Amnesty International UIUC and other University YMCA student programs at

Monday, January 9, 2017

Art @ the Y presents "Bed Shoe Home: Poverty and Homelessness in Champaign-Urbana"

Press Release

For Immediate Release
January 9, 2017

For media inquiries, please contact:
Megan Flowers, University YMCA Communications Director

Art @ the Y presents
“Bed Shoe Home: Poverty and Homelessness In Champaign-Urbana"

On view in Murphy Gallery of the University YMCA
from January 26, 2017 through March 17, 2017

Champaign-Urbana is facing a crisis in housing for low-income families and the under-sheltered. To bring this issue into sharper focus, the University YMCA’s Art @ the Y program, in collaboration with the School of Art + Design and the School of Social Work, initiated “Bed Shoe Home,” a community-based art action organized by artist Jane Gilmor. Gilmor was in residence in Champaign-Urbana for a month this past fall working in community organizations serving the homeless: the Daily Bread Soup Kitchen, Courage Connection, and the Phoenix Center. BED SHOE HOME culminates in a large installation at the University Y from January 26 through March 17, 2017, including a walk-in book covered with notes and images on metal foil created by those in area shelters, residencies programs, soup kitchens and drop-in sites. The “Bed Shoe Home” exhibition series is dedicated to all those in Champaign-Urbana without affordable housing.

The University YMCA invites community and campus members to attend Jane Gilmor’s talk as the George A. Miller Visiting Artist at the University of Illinois on Wednesday, January 25, 2017 at 4:00p at the Knight Auditorium, Spurlock Museum, 600 South Gregory, Urbana, Illinois. The Y encourages people to attend the exhibition opening of “Bed Shoe Home” the following day on Thursday, January 26, 2017 from 5:00pm-7:00pm at Murphy Gallery of the University YMCA, 1001 S. Wright Street, Champaign, Illinois. Viewing will begin at 5:00pm follow by Jane Gilmor’s gallery talk at 5:30pm. All Art @ the Y events are free and open to the public.

“It’s important to go see this work and understand it as a weaving together of artmaking and personal stories that work to uplift the voices of the homeless and the under sheltered. When you see the work in person, you are in touch with the lines of the work and have a connection with the ferocious intensity of the artist’s hand,” said Julia Kellman, member of the Art @ the Y committee.

Special Thanks To: Center for Advanced Study, UIUC; George A Miller Endowment; School of Art + Design; School of Social Work; Daily Bread Soup Kitchen; Courage Connection; The Phoenix Center

About Jane Gilmor: As a visual artist Jane Gilmor has maintained a socially involved art practice working with the disenfranchised in the US and abroad since the late 80s. Her cooperative projects involve working in shelters, along side local experts, students, and volunteers, to create large installations with walk-in structures covered in metal notes and images. Workshops in metal embossing, journaling, handmade books, as well as video and audio interviewing and transcription are part of a number of activities involved in these dialog-oriented processes. Learn more about Jane Gilmor's work at:

About Art @ the Y: “Bed Shoe Home” is part of the Art @ the Y program, a cause-driven, public arts initiative of the University YMCA, 1001 S. Wright Street, Champaign. Art @ the Y seeks to engage issues of social justice, international understanding, environmental activism, faith and cultural understanding through quality arts programming. Art @ the Y includes a revolving exhibition space in Murphy Gallery on the first floor of the University YMCA. Murphy Gallery Hours at the University YMCA are from Mondays-Fridays from 9am-9pm. Website: