Governor visits SWIC to dedicate green liberal arts building

News-DemocratMarch 5, 2014 

Gov. Pat Quinn on Wednesday dedicated the newest building in Southwestern Illinois College's liberal arts complex.

Quinn arrived to fete the building as part of his agenda to give every child the opportunity for a high-quality education while protecting natural resources for generations to come.

The 78,901-square-foot building actually opened more than a year ago, hosting students in 23 classrooms for the first time in January 2013.

Quinn was previously at the school to announce plans for the energy-efficient building. It was paid for with the help of a $19.1 million Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity grant and has space for English, reading, literature, foreign language, philosophy, film studies and mass communications classrooms.

The second floor includes a 5,400 square foot "sustainability terrace"

In addition to building environmentally friendly new buildings, SWIC has pledged to do the following things to protect the environment:

* Purchase hybrid and flex-fuel vehicles when practical;

* Use renewable fuels for campus fleet;

* Reduce water usage by 15 percent by installing low-flow fixtures and low-flow irrigation systems;

* Install permeable pavement in future parking lot projects;

* Create more rain gardens to reduce potential flood damage;

* Increase overall waste recycling districtwide by another 15 percent by 2010;

* Continue to use nontoxic cleaning products whenever practical;

* Compost at least 5,000 cubic yards of organic waste produced on campus;

* Reduce pesticide use by establishing integrated pest management at all facilities districtwide; and

* Continue to use renewable energy sources.

After the dedication, Quinn stayed for an evening fundraiser.

Lindenwood University-Belleville has announced that astronaut and Belleville native Sandra Magnus will be the school's 2014 commencement speaker.

"We could not be more pleased to have Dr. Magnus as our honored guest speaker," Lindenwood-Belleville campus president Jerry Bladdick said. "Dr. Magnus' outstanding accomplishments in the aerospace field are testament to her high level of talent and ambition and love of lifelong learning, qualities that we hold at Lindenwood with the highest respect."

The Belleville Lindenwood campus, in its 11th year of operation, hosted its first graduation ceremony in 2013. Congressman Bill Enyart was the commencement speaker for the first graduation ceremony.

The 2014 graduation ceremony will be held May 18 at the Gateway Center in Collinsville.

Started in 2003 with a handful of night courses available on the former Belleville West High School campus, Lindenwood-Belleville has grown to host 1,900 students. About 1,040 of them are full-time day students. Bladdick said those numbers could more than double by the end of the next decade to 4,500-5,000 students, which would be the maximum capacity for the old high school site.

McKendree University has been selected to join the Institute of International Education's Generation Study Abroad initiative, which plans to double the number of American students who study in other countries by the end of the decade.

McKendree has committed to doubling the number of its undergraduates who participate in study abroad over the next five years.

According to university leaders, McKendree sends an average of three students abroad every spring and fall for a semester-long immersion experience. By the 2018-19 school year, it hopes to send six students per semester.

Two McKendree undergraduates spent their fall 2013 semester at universities in Glasgow, Scotland and Florence, Italy; two others are currently studying in Paris and in Pune, India. McKendree also offers opportunities for faculty-led travel to other countries; a two-week summer exchange trip to Japan; and international internships, service-learning and mission trips. Programs are administered by the university and in conjunction with the Institute for Study Abroad-Butler University, International Studies Abroad, the Irish American Scholars Program, Paris Graduate School of Management, and Technos International Week.

"The invitation to join this initiative is timely and well-suited to our mission and strategic plan," McKendree president James Dennis said. "We have designated this a 'Year of Diversity' during which we have hosted many activities and events to broaden our students' understanding of multiculturism, global education and international leadership."

McKendree is among 150 higher education institutions in 41 states to sign the Generation Study Abroad Commitment. The State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and several foreign governments, as well as key higher education associations and study abroad providers, have also pledged to support the initiative's goals. Recognizing the importance of an internationally focused workforce, IIE is also seeking the participation of corporations and the business community.

"Globalization has changed the way the world works, and employers are increasingly looking for workers who have international skills and expertise," Allan Goodman, president of IIE, said.

Currently, fewer than 10 percent of all U.S. college students study abroad at some point in their academic career. According to an IIE report released last November, 295,000 students studied abroad in 2011-12; Generation Study Abroad aims to grow participation to 600,000 by the end of the decade.

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