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815 < 5 is a pair of podcasts bringing you the latest news and events in and around the 8-1-5 area code in less than five minutes! It was produced by students at Northern Illinois University's Journalism 302 News Reporting course during the Spring semester. In May 2022, 815<5 received 1st Place in the Outstanding Radio Newscast category from the Illinois News Broadcasters Association's statewide student awards.

NIU This Week: Required saliva tests end for vaccinated employees; Black Male Initiative celebrates 20 years

NIU Image Gallery

Employees who took part in the required saliva test got used to the sound of tapping spit bubbles out of plastic vials used to test for COVID-19. After a semester of required surveillance testing, vaccinated employees will no longer be required to take the saliva test. The new policy begins Friday, April 29th. Testing remains for unvaccinated employees and students regardless of their vaccination status. All NIU employees are encouraged to continue testing voluntarily.

Black Male Initiative continues to build legacy

NIU’s Black Male Initiative was founded in 2002 and is dedicated to graduating as many Black men as possible, according to their mission statement. BMI currently has over 80 members and boasts a 100% graduation rate.

First-year English major Quade Evans is a member of the Black Male Initiative and said that 20 years means celebrating a long history of success for Black male students and looking toward a bright future.

“You can see all the people who graduated before, and are successful now were part of BMI," Evans said. “It’s only going to continue to be like that.”

The week of anniversary events included trivia and pie-throwing, ending with a members only celebration April 2nd.

Seniors starting planning for the future

With the semester nearing the end, so is the time left for this year’s seniors. While many are making plans for the summer, taking a rest, or just gearing up to finish strong, others are excited for what’s to come after graduation. Kayla Kroesch is a graduate majoring in psychology and non-profit and non-governmental organization studies. She has just one more semester left.

“I am feeling excited, but also nervous," she said. "I’ve been in college for six years, so I’m really nervous of what’s coming after.”

NIU’s graduation ceremony is planned for the second weekend of May.

Huskie Closet offers clothing

Even though graduation is approaching, there is still time to take advantage of NIU’s unique campus opportunities.

Huskie Closet

One of them is NIU’s Huskie Closet. It’s an organization on campus that provides students with free clothing. It gives students the ability to meet their economic needs, help sustain the environment, receive assistance for emergencies, and get experience for those who are interested in working for volunteer-based organizations.

Dr. Alicia Schatteman is an associate professor and the director of the Center for Nonprofit and NGO Studies. She says the Huskie closet is a great option for students.

“We like to get across to students that it is a free resource.," she said. “There is no shame in using these resources, that’s why they were created. All of us look for ways to spread our resources.”

The Huskie Closet is open Wednesday afternoons and Thursday evenings at the Chick Evans Field House.

NIU Community Calendar

Holi is a traditional Hindu festival, also known as the Festival of Colors. It marks the arrival of spring and the triumph of good over evil, and lets attendees celebrate by throwing colored powders into the air.

Pabi Basnet is looking forward to celebrating Holi this year.

“It’s just celebrating and sharing happiness, to be honest, they said. "Because everybody likes to be involved, so it’s not a religious thing, it’s for everyone.”

NIU will be holding a Holi Festival on Saturday from 11:00-1:30p.m in the park between the Grant and Stevenson residence halls. All students are welcome.


On Monday, the Men’s tennis team lost against St. Louis with the final score being 2-4. Their overall record for the season is 11-10.

On Wednesday, the Women’s softball team fell to DePaul. They face Ohio on Saturday. NIU has a record of 11-22 this season. Their 2021 season record was 19-37.

Additionally, the men’s baseball team will be playing against Ball State on Friday. The game will take place at 3 p.m. at the Ralph McKinzie Field. Their overall record for the 2022 season is 7-27. Their 2021 season record was 16-38.

There’s an 85% chance of precipitation Thursday evening and rain will be on and off throughout the weekend. You can expect warmer temperatures throughout the remainder of the week heading into the weekend.

Contributions by: Gabe Fiorini, Kurt Bitting, Joi Bradley, Allyson White, Ally Formeller, Jamariah Crider, and Kyra Johnson