Division II Award of Excellence Submission The University of Illinois Springfield Department of Athletics hosted its second annual UIS Athletics Backyard BBQ on Saturday, Aug. 24 at The Recreation and Athletic Center. This was the largest community engagement event ever hosted on the campus of UIS. The event was free and open to the public. Student-athlete parents, alumni, community members, faculty and staff as well as local sponsors were invited to come out and enjoy free food, backyard games and a chance to meet the UIS student-athletes and staff. As the athletic department transitioned to Division II, UIS has been continuously trying to reach the community and local businesses. With this event, we doubled our attendance from the year prior and partnered with several community supporters to make this event a success. To date this event made a tremendous impact on overall community engagement throughout Springfield. Our fall sports attendance improved by 6,000 fans, while our booster club grew to more than 150 members, an increase of 68 percent during the same time. We have increased corporate support by more than 403% in part to this event and also gained a secondary sponsor for the 2014 event. Plus our alumni are more engaged, leading to a 55 percent bump in support at this time in 2012. Local restaurant, Lake Pointe Grill, partnered with the Prairie Stars and provided the food for the event that offers fans, campus community, students, STARS Club members and local Springfield businesses an opportunity to mingle with UIS coaches and student-athletes. In all, our coaches served more than 700 people in attendance. Another local flare was the addition of a live remote done by KISS FM main personality Bondsy. He acted as our master of ceremonies and had interviews with coaches, staff and even Chancellor Koch (see video). UIS athletic teams hosted several backyard games such as bean bag toss, lawn golf and washers. There were opportunities to buy UIS gear and join the athletics' booster group, the STARS Club. We also had a bounce house and inflatable obstacle course supported by a local business. Video: http://youtu.be/6LH26SGuU3M
UIS Athletics presents the annual
BACKYARD BBQ AUGUST
FREE FOOD, PRIZES, GAMES Where? Outside of TRAC
State Journal-Register Article from beat writer Marcia Martinez
Members from the campus community, city of Springfield, student-athletes, STARS Club members and alumni joined the Athletics Department for the BBQ.
Local Top 40 Radio Station, KISS FM and its host personality Bondsy did a live remote from the event.
View from Athletic Offices with our guests
Lake Pointe Grill provided food for more than 700 people.
Our coaching staff served more than 700 people thanks to a partnership with Lake Pointe Grill, a locally-owned restaurant.
Students enjoying just a few of the games offered at the Backyard BBQ. Many students in attendance were not aware that UIS was Division II and that athletics hosted free events.
The crowd enjoying the BBQ.
Our student-athletes facilitated the backyard games.
An inflatable obstacle course and bounce house added attractions for children and those young at heart.
Mascot Cozmo stops to hang out with one of our cheerleaders.