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UIS Opens Speaker Series to the Public

The University of Illinois Springfield has four upcoming events in the Fall Semester as part of the Engaged Citizenship Common Experience (ECCE) Speaker Series. These events aim to foster engaged citizenship, cultural awareness, and a commitment to diversity.

ECCE events that are free and open to the public include:

  • "Beyond Enrollment: Championing Success for First-Generation Students in Higher Education” at 6 p.m. on Oct. 11 in the UIS Student Union Ballroom. Tamam Waritu, a first-generation graduate and a national student trainer dedicated to empowering first-generation low-income students, will highlight compelling reasons why the higher education sector should urgently address first-generation disparities. Data shows that low-income first-generation students continue to face starkly different educational and career outcomes compared to their high-income continuing-generation peers.

  • "Embracing Your Narrative and the Social Responsibility of Respecting Others” at 6 p.m. Oct. 25 in Brookens Auditorium, located on the lower level of the library. Cassandra LeClair, an award-winning professor, author, motivational speaker and sexual assault survivor, will share her inspiring story of overcoming trauma. Participants will be encouraged to explore their emotional past, explore relational patterns, release negative experiences and build resilience so they can communicate authentically and create healthier relationships personally and professionally.

  • "The Navy Censored My Book! Modern Day Book Bans and the Ongoing Fight for Intellectual Freedom” at 6 p.m. Nov. 8 in Brookens Auditorium, located on the lower level of the library. Jason Pierceson, professor in the UIS School of Politics and International Affairs, and Emily Knox, associate professor in the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign will host the lecture and discussion. Pierceson is a leading scholar on LGBTQ rights. His book, "Sexual Minorities and Politics,” is the first textbook to provide a comprehensive overview of the historical, political and legal status of sexual and gender minorities. For this reason, the book was placed on the Navy’s Professional Reading List in 2021. However, the Navy removed "Sexual Minorities” from the list in 2022, along with other books about race and gender. Knox is an expert on intellectual freedom and is the author of "Book Banning in 21st Century America,” which explores the reasons why people attempt to censor books in schools and public libraries. Together, they will explore the impetus behind and implications of the Navy’s removal of "Sexual Minorities” and other titles from its reading list in 2022.

  • "Working Toward Systemic Equity with Courageous Vulnerability” at 6 p.m. Nov. 29 in Brookens Auditorium, located on the lower level of the library. This Sustainability Week Keynote Lecture by Joe F. Bozeman III, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at Georgia Tech, will explain the Systemic Equity Framework. There has been renewed interest in progressing the cause of justice and equity in recent years. However, producing tangible results in this regard is especially challenging without an effective strategy and a firm conceptual foundation. He will explain how the framework can be applied in civil and environmental engineering research for transdisciplinary effect (e.g., food-energy-water, life cycle assessment and public policy applications), and provide tips on how to be courageously vulnerable to realize equitable outcomes.

For more information on the events, visit


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