Parents and Families

Welcome Parents and Families!

You are an integral partner with UIS in assisting your student in their journey from being a first-year to a graduate!  This page is meant to share information and resources that will help you parent your student along this period in their lives.  Our Parent Relations programming is young, new, and developing.  Check back regularly to see what we add.

Prairie Stars Family Association (PSFA)

The Prairie Stars Family Association (PSFA) was founded in the Fall of 2015 to support UIS parents, guardians, and family members by promoting shared experiences among UIS family members and help them feel more connected to UIS and their students.

PSFA members will work closely with the Office of New Student Orientation and Parent Relations (NSOPR) to meet these goals by assisting with the planning and coordination of events sponsored by the Office of New Student Orientation & Parent Relations including Family Weekend, parent panels during summer orientation, and socials before the Welcome BBQ at the beginning of Launch Week (August Orientation).

Membership in the Prairie Stars Family Association is FREE to the parents, legal guardians, and family members of currently enrolled UIS students. To join PSFA as a general member email the Office of New Student Orientation and Parent Relations at or call us at 217/206-8181.

2015-2016 PSFA Executive Board 

President: CoTinna Harris
Vice President: Angela Kneer
Secretary: Angela Gipson
Treasurer: Ellin Lotspiech

The annual meeting for the PSFA is held in October during Family Weekend and is open to all parents, legal guardians, and family members.  Executive Board elections will be held each October at the annual meeting.

PSFA Constitution and Bylaws version September 2015 (pdf)

Look for more information about committee membership and volunteer opportunities come in January.

Family Orientation during First-Year [Freshmen] Student Orientation

At UIS we understand both the student and their family make a transition to college – but in different ways. Our two-part, mandatory Orientation programs are most beneficial when students and parents/family members/guardians attend together. Parents and family members are an important part of a student’s life and our partner in helping them be successful at UIS.  The first part of orientation is the two-day, overnight orientations in July and July.  We have a parent/family orientation track that runs concurrently with the first-year student summer overnight orientation program to introduce you to UIS, its staff, resources, and students.  Planning ahead? D ates for Summer 2016 have been announced.  Registration will go live on February 1, 2016.  The second part of orientation is the 4-day Launch Week in August (see below).

Two-day, overnight orientation.  The enrollment confirmation fee covers orientation expenses for the first-year student and up to two family members.  There will be a $25/person charge for any additional guests to cover the meal costs during orientation. Parents/Family members and guests will need to make overnight accommodations at one of our area hotels. Only students participating in the orientation program will be allowed to stay in the residence halls.

While we enjoy having siblings be a part of the Orientation process, Orientation may not be suited for young children and toddlers. From our experience the younger children get bored easily. They might have a better time at home with family members or friends and among their favorite playthings.

Family Information for [Freshmen] Launch Week 2016:  August 17-20

Our second part of the mandatory orientation for first-year [freshmen] students begins about 5 days before classes begin.  First-year students living on campus will be allowed to move into housing on Wednesday, August 17 and Commuter Students have a mandatory meet ‘n Greet on Wednesday afternoon before their Launch Week experience August 17-20 (Commuter students should expect to be on campus from 3-9 Wednesday, 9:45-4 Thursday, 9:45-4 Friday, and 9:45-3 Saturday. This is part of their FYS or CAP 102 course requirements so students should submit a request for time off of work accordingly.

Whether you are moving your student into on-campus housing or your student is commuting to campus parents/family members are invited to:

  • the Prairie Star Family Association Social at 4 p.m. (FREE)
  • the New Student and Family Welcome BBQ at 5 p.m. (FREE)
  • the New Student and Family Convocation with guest speaker Fran Kick at 6:15 p.m. (FREE)
  • and saying Good-bye to your student during Hugs & Kisses Goodbye from 7:30-7:55 p.m.

Family members are welcome to return home after the Hugs & Kisses Goodbye, your student will continue their Launch Week programming at 8 p.m. that night. The Illinois State Fair will be August 11-21 this year.  If you need to make overnight accommodations to break up your travel when moving your student to campus you may want to make those reservations now – hotels will fill up fast.  Fair traffic will also slow down interstate traffic in and around Springfield, so take this into consideration when planning your student’s move to campus.

UIS Parents – Facebook Group

UIS creates a Facebook group for the parents and family members of each incoming Fall class.  It is a great way to interact and share your experience with other parents and stay connected to UIS.  The UIS – Fall 2016 group will be created later this fall.  Currently UIS Parents – Fall 2012; UIS Parents – Fall 2013; UIS Parents – Fall 2014; and UIS Parents – Fall 2015 are active. They are closed groups – you can type in their name into Facebook search, click on the group, and ask to be invited or contact the UIS Office of Admissions and ask to be added to your student’s fall group.

Family Weekend 2016 Welcome to Family Weekend 2014

Each October we invite our parents and family members to come back to campus for a visit. Family Weekend 2015 took place  Saturday, October 17-Sunday, October 18, 2015. We had over 40 families participate in Family Weekend and enjoy our Amazing Race and Family Feud Competitions, the Carnival games, and game night.  We should have the dates for Family Weekend 2016 posted in March or April.

Visiting Your Student During the Semester?

Visit our Travel & Accommodations page to see discounts offered by local hotels.  If you are interested in doing things with your family in Springfield, visit the Convention & Visitor’s Bureau for their guidebook and calendar of events.