Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Springfest 2005 - A Huge Success

By Melanie Cain

This past Saturday Springfest 2005, one of the most fun-filled and exciting weeks on the UIS campus, came to a close. Each year, Springfest is a time full of great activities and competitions involving people from all over campus. The theme for this year was “Brought to You Since ’92” and, as always, the event was a huge success.

The week started off with a thrilling basketball game between the Blue Crew and FAST, a team made up of faculty and staff members, including Chancellor Ringeisen. The Blue Crew won by a score of 76-53 and after the game the Springfest Kick-Off BBQ in the student life plaza provided plenty of free food.

Monday was the first day of competition for the 14 Springfest teams. The opening event, Whose Line Duo, gave all the team members a chance to show off their creativity and improvisation skills. Many of the evening’s performances were hilarious and included some truly funny imitations of UIS personalities.

The next night gave the teams a chance to put their knowledge of television music to the test with a rousing game of Name That Tune. Different program theme songs were played, and it was up to the teams to determine which show matched the song. The game ended with the final two teams facing off in a very entertaining theme song “sing off.”

On Wednesday afternoon, students could attend an after-school special, 1 in 4 No More, a program focusing on the dangers of rape. Later that night one of the most anticipated Springfest events, the Flag and Chant Competition, was held. Every year, teams spend hours designing their flags and writing clever songs in hopes of impressing the judges and winning first place, and this year was no exception. The resulting flags and chants revealed some great talents in both design and composition.

If you were on campus Thursday night, you probably saw hundreds of students running around taking random pictures and looking for some very odd items. The Springfest Scavenger Hunt is always a popular event, and this year’s list-makers sent teams on a mad dash to locate a four leaf clover, a peso, a sombrero, and lots of other things you don’t see every day.

On Friday, the teams were again tested on their television knowledge in a Trivia Game Show, and then everyone had a great time dancing the night away at the annual Springfest Dance, which featured a tropical beach theme.

Saturday was the big day for team competition, and each team was determined to make one final push for the championship. The day’s events included flag football, ultimate Frisbee, kickball, sand volleyball, and -- the final Springfest event -- mud tug-of-war. All the teams put forth a great effort, and it came down to the very last event before the champions could be determined. In the end, team PXII was victorious by just three points, the Old Skool Cappie Crew took second place, and the Best Buds rounded out the top three.

Springfest 2005 was a great success, thanks to the hard work put in by all the volunteers and to everyone who participated in one way or another. For a list of final team standings or to see pictures from all the events, be sure to check out

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Living an Extraordinary Life

By Melanie Cain

Kimberly Pate has lived quite an extraordinary life, and her accomplishments can serve as an inspiration to us all. A traffic accident when she was 18 injured Kim’s spinal cord and left her a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the shoulders down. But Kim was determined to keep living her life to the fullest, and a year after her injury she went to Miami to take part in a documented research program, the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis.

She stayed in Florida for nine years, and during that time was involved with Shake-A-Leg, a program that designs sailboats for individuals with disabilities, worked on her water skiing skills, and was sponsored by the Miami Ski Club to go snow skiing with the Physically Challenged Ski Program in Crested Butte, Colorado.

After attending a community college in Florida, Kim transferred to UIS in 1998 to work toward a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. At UIS, Kim was very impressed with the disability services available and was extremely pleased with the accessibility that the campus provided. In fact, she’s quick to point out that, of the three schools she has attended, her experience at UIS was by far the best.

“Karla (Carwile) and the others at the Disability Services Office were great. I felt comfortable on campus immediately and was impressed with their system,” Kim recalled.

During her time at UIS, Kim took advantage of many of the services offered by Disability Services, including a student note-taker during classes and an adaptive writing device. “With the assistance I received from Disability Services, I was able to focus on my educational goals rather than battle potential obstacles,” she said.

Karla Carwile, Disability Services director, had nothing but great memories of Kim as well. “Probably the thing that sticks out most in my mind is her wonderful personality,” said Karla. “She is always smiling and always glad to see you. She was a pleasure to work with, and her dedication to her studies was very apparent.”

A few years after Kim’s graduation from UIS, she embarked on another incredible journey, competing in and winning the 2004 Ms. Wheelchair Illinois pageant. Contestants are judged on their self-perception, their accomplishments since the onset of their disability, and their ability to speak about disability-related issues.

“Being Ms. Wheelchair Illinois was an amazing experience,” said Kim. During her reign, she took part in a number of events, including Chicago’s first Disability Pride Parade, the ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the new Center for Independent Living in Havana, and a celebration of the Americans with Disabilities Act at the Jacksonville Area Center for Independent Living, to name just a few.

Kim currently lives in Virginia, Illinois, and works as a licensed professional counselor at the Cass County Mental Health Agency in Beardstown. She earned a master’s degree in Education in Counseling and is a nationally certified counselor. Kim is very involved in Think First, a head and spinal cord injury prevention program. She also works with the American Counseling Association and serves as a board member for the Jacksonville Area Center for Independent Living.