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