Friday, September 16, 2011

It's going to be WILD (the parking lot, that is...)

Environmental responsibility is part of the Y's mission, and in just a few weeks it will be part of the parking lot too!

Valerie Sivicek designed the native planting plant and Jenni Kotting rendered into diagrams and sections as seen above.

With the help of environmental student groups, Red Bison and SECS, the University YMCA is about to plant a native border along the west side of their parking lot! The long 3-feet-wide strip was formerly an unsightly gravel and weed mixture while the building was under construction. Volunteers will plant the entire area with a mixture of flowering perennials and grasses that can thrive even in poor soil and dry conditions.

The native grasses will offer texture and height against the fence while shorter plants will hug the asphalt closest to the parked cars. Plants include:
  • Allium cernuum, Nodding Wild Onion
  • Bouteloua curtipendula, Side Oats Grama
  • Heliopsis helianthoides, False Sunflower
  • Liatris pycnostachya, Blazing Star
  • Penstemon digitalis, Foxglove Beardtongue
  • Schizachyrium scoparium, Little Bluestem
  • Silphium terebinthiniaceum, Prairie Dock
  • Sorghastrum nutans, Indian Grass
  • Sporobolus heterolepis, Prairie Dropseed

Stay tuned for photos of the planting!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Y Student Group Promos: A YouTube Playlist

At this year's Student Program Orientation, groups created short promos to grab your interest, make you laugh, and ask you to care about their cause. Pretty effective, and well worth watching:

Monday, September 12, 2011

FIRST FRIDAY FORUM: Few Women in Science and Technology (Free Lecture)

When it comes to jobs in the Science,Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields, women are not fairing well.  According to a report by the U.S. Department of Commerce entitled Women in STEM: A Gender Gap to Innovation, "Although women fill close to half of all jobs in the U.S. economy, they hold less than 25% of STEM jobs."  This percentage has remained steady over the past decade, "even as women's share of the college-educated workforce has increased." 
Why is this this case, and what can be done about it—or, should anything be done about it?  This question will be the focus of the Friday Forum lecture on September 16th, 12 noon at the University YMCA, 1001 S. Wright Street on the University of Illinois campus.

Ruth Sweetser, Director of Corporate Relations at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago and former AAUW President at both the state and national levels, will be speaking about women in the STEM fields and discussing the latest research on this topic, including AAUW's 2010 in-depth report, "Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics."  AAUW is a nationwide network of individuals, branches, and college/institution partners that advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research.  <The Champaign-Urbana Branch of AAUW is one of several co-sponsors of this lecture.>
This presentation is part of the University YMCA Friday Forum fall lecture series entitled, "The Future of Learning: Is Public Education Under Siege?"  Friday Forum lectures occur each Friday at noon at the University YMCA.  All forums are radio broadcast at 6:00 p.m. on WEFT 90.1 the Monday following the lecture. If you have any questions, please contact Program Director, Kasey Umland, at or (217) 337-1514.

Bolokada Conde, Master Drummer, to give Free Performance

Bolokada Conde, master drummer and expert of Malinke rhythms, will play a free show at the University YMCA on September 16th at 7:00pm with his band, Rhythm Manding.

One of the world's best djembe players from Kissidougou, Guinea, Bolokada Conde has been living in the midst of Champaign-Urbana since 2008. 

Only a year after he was awarded immigrant status with extraordinary ability in the arts, he became a full-time visiting artist at UIUC and gave drumming classes at the University, for the community, and in public schools (as part of the "World Music and Dance in the Schools" program).

Bolokada Conde has traveled all over the world to perform, has created several albums, and has been featured in the IMAX movie, ‘Pulse: a STOMP Odyssey.’ He is the subject of an upcoming documentary, ‘Bolokada Conde, Malinke Village Djembefola.’

The performance is hosted in partnership with the Spurlock Museum. This event is sponsored in part by the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

WEBSITE RELAUNCH! Celebrate and Learn on September 22nd.

It's not just a pretty face... the new website has got some smart new features to make everything easier for you! Read about it below and visit the website:

September 22nd, 3:00-4:00pm
Murphy Lounge
Refreshments Provided.

There's a fancy new photo slideshow on the front page. All of our photos now link to our unlimited pro Flickr page so you can download pictures for free! In fact, the Y has been digitizing our photo collection extensively this summer. We are asking for your help to identify people, places, and dates. So go ahead and explore... add a comment to a photo if you have some information. You can even order prints. (Alternately, if you see a picture of yourself on the website or on Flickr and would like to have it removed, just contact us and we’ll take care of it.)

Google forms and calendars minimize the need for downloading pdfs. Information is available more quickly and the format is more user-friendly. Check out our Pledge page or Alternative Orientation Facilitate page to see what these forms look like. Each Y program is associated with a Google Calendar. The most comprehensive of these is our Events Calendar, but they are also available for Friday Forum and Global Lens. You can add any series of our events to your own Google Calendar by clicking on “Add to your google calendar” or just check our site anytime. 

Student groups can recruit volunteers and request donations from family and friends using PayPal. Although we still prefer that larger donations of $25 or more, including memberships and contributions to our annual fund, go through our Support Us page, PayPal is a convenient way for student groups to garner support from family and friends. Anyone with a PayPal account can donate an amount of their choosing. Because we’re a non-profit, PayPal only deducts thirty cents and 2.2% from each transaction.

Our Employment and Volunteering page has been revamped and is ready for student programs to submit requests for volunteers. This is a good place to get information out. Let us know what the event is, how long you’ll be recruiting, and what volunteers will be doing.  

Our news feed links directly to this blog. If something interesting is going on or there is a news event at the Y, we can include it in our blog. Right now, Jenni and Kasey are the main authors, but any student group can submit a narrative and photos, or just ideas for upcoming and past events.

The Y has started an oral history project called “Telling Stories.” Right now, we’re featuring three students and a former Y staff member who recently passed away. You can listen to these audio documentaries streaming online or download them for free on our Telling Stories page. If you’d like to tell your story, contact Jenni.  

There's much more to come. Give us your feedback and help us keep the website up to date. 

Special Thanks to:
Paul Young, Electric Pictures
Mike Stephens, YMCA Alum
for their talent and generosity in designing this site.

EMAIL: with your comments, questions, and suggestions.