NIU

NIU Launches AI Chat Bot Tool

Jun 6, 2019

If you go to Northern Illinois University's admissions website, you’re greeted by a small chat box in the right hand corner with a picture of NIU’s mascot “Victor E. Huskie.” Only now he’s Virtual Victor, the face of the AI chat bot.

This spring, NIU launched the chat bot. Its job is to help answer questions about the university from prospective students.

Anime Fans Meet At 'Karoshi-Con'

Apr 26, 2019
Mia Pidlaoan

Last weekend, Northern Illinois University’s Anime Association hosted its annual Karoshi-Con. Karoshi-Con is a free, public anime convention. It is the only one of its kind in the DeKalb area.  Some of its features included a vendor hall, a traditional gaming room, a video game room, and various panels.

Randy Sager

During World War II, Jewish prisoners in the Nazi concentration camp at Terezin learned Giuseppe Verdi's Requiem and performed it 16 times. This weekend at Northern Illinois University, that story of affirmation and defiance toward their captors will be commemorated through Verdi's music, historic film footage, testimonials from camp survivors, and narration. The program, Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezin, will be led by its creator, conductor Murry Sidlin. He's conducted it close to fifty times around the world.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Students in the School of Business at Northern Illinois University are holding what they call their “Golden Heart Celebration” Monday. The ceremony honors two of their own who were killed in an office shooting in Aurora February 15 -- senior Trevor Wehner and alumnus Clay Parks. It’s also Wehner’s Golden Birthday: he would have been 22 on April 22.

Northern Illinois University's student-run film festival hits the big screen this week.

Krystal Termini is a spokesperson for the Reality Bytes Independent Student Film Festival. She says her class chose 17 films out of dozens of entries.

“Each week [during class] we watched about 10 films,” Termini explained. “And then each 10 films that we watched, we broke those down into ‘yes,’ ‘no,’ or ‘maybe.’”

NIU Gamers 'Level Up' With Equipment And Locations

Mar 8, 2019
Andrew Heiserman

Talk about sports and many people think of baseball, soccer or football. But esports are growing in popularity.

On a cold March afternoon, two students feverishly hit buttons on Nintendo controllers in the basement of the Neptune Residence Hall. They're playing Super Smash Bros. Think of it as the Mortal Kombat of Mario.

NIU is just one of the many colleges across the country joining the growing esports movement. First, let's break down the "e" part.

NIU Remembers Trevor Wehner And Clayton Parks

Feb 21, 2019
Andrew Heiserman

A candlelight vigil was held at Northern Illinois University Thursday to honor the victims of the Aurora workplace shooting last Friday. Friends, family and faculty gathered to share their memories of the victims. Associate professor in the college of business Terry Bishop taught both of them and says it is important to remind people that you love them.

“I would urge you all to make sure that you always say that you love the people that you love, you can never say that too much. It is sad that we are saying goodbye to Clay and Trevor, we will never forget.”

Andrew Heiserman

Barsema's closet is a pop-up resale shop that provides Northern Illinois University students with casual and business professional clothing, plus accessories such as padfolios and briefcases.

It was created for the university's business students, but co-founder Emma Stettner says they realized this is a problem affecting all students.

Funeral services for Trevor Melvin Wehner of Sheridan are set for this Wednesday, February 20th.

Wehner was a victim of the shooting at the Henry Pratt warehouse in Aurora on February 15th; he was an NIU student and former employee at Tom & Jerry's of DeKalb.

45-year-old Gary Martin shot and killed him and four other people after being fired from his job of 15 years. He also injured five police officers before being shot and killed himself.

NIU Student, Alumnus Among Dead In Aurora

Feb 16, 2019
Guy Stephens

Northern Illinois University President Lisa Freeman notified staff through email that two of the people killed in a shooting at an Aurora industrial park have deep NIU connections.

NIU student Trevor Wehner was among those killed when Gary Martin opened fire at the Henry Pratt Co. Friday afternoon. According to the release, Friday was the first day of Wehner's internship at the company.

2014 alumnus Clay Parks was also killed Friday. Parks graduated from the school's College of Business and worked as a human resources manager at the company.

Coloring books for adults are growing in popularity. Curators at Northern Illinois University's Founder's Memorial Library hope the hobby can bring attention to one of their more unique collections. On this week's Friday Forum, WNIJ's Jenna Dooley talks with the curators about the "ColorOurCollections" event.

Susan Stephens

Northern Illinois University has a new enrollment plan that aims to have 18,000 students by fall 2023.

 

The DeKalb Daily Chronicle reports NIU President Lisa Freeman wants to stem years of enrollment decline. Enrollment peaked during the 2007-2008 school year at 25,000 students but since then enrollment has declined 30 percent to about 17,100 students.

Nelle Conley

Seven years ago, a girls school founded by two Northern Illinois University professors opened its doors to its first eleven students in rural western Kenya. Now, 160 girls attend the school that has a goal of being “good enough for the richest, open to the poorest.” The school added music to its curriculum this year, and that created a mutual opportunity for one DeKalb native. On this week’s Friday Forum, WNIJ’s Susan Stephens sits down with Nelle Conley before she heads back to Kenya.

       

Behind The Numbers: A Closer Look At Campus Safety

Dec 14, 2018
Claire Buchanan

This fall, Northern Illinois University released its annual Safety and Security report. We spoke with university and community leaders to find out how they are trying to keep students safe.

The annual report details campus crime statistics for the past 3 years. It’s mandated by the Jeanne Clery Act. The act is named for Jeanne Clery, a Lehigh University student who was raped and murdered in her dorm room in 1986. All institutions of higher education that participate in federal student financial assistance must publish an annual report.

NIU Department of Police and Public Safety

There were fewer rapes reported at Northern Illinois University in 2017 compared to previous years. Drug arrests took a steep drop as well. That's according to Northern Illinois University's latest Annual Safety and Security Report.

Jenna Dooley

Northern Illinois University recently held the 5th annual Unity Walk in DeKalb. On this week's Friday Forum, WNIJ's Jenna Dooley talks with participants about what it means to take part in the event.

The Unity Walk began five years ago following protests in Missouri over the death of Michael Brown, a resident of Ferguson. Brown was killed by a police officer, resulting in national news and tense relations between the community and law enforcement.

Jenna Dooley

The 2018 class of the Northern Illinois University Huskie Marching Band increased by more than 50 members from last year. Tom Bough has been NIU's Director of Athletic Bands for the past 14 years. On this week's Friday Forum, he talks about how he keeps everyone tapping to the same beat.

Susan Stephens

Northern Illinois University again experienced an overall drop in student enrollment this year.

The biggest loss was in total undergraduates, down 666 students from last year (from 13,454 to 12,788). NIU also saw an eight percent decline in the number of transfer students, from 1,716 to 1,577. Total enrollment now hovers at 17,169 students, which is a drop of 4.8 percent from this time last year.

Victoria Lunacek

Northern Illinois University re-opened the Stevens Building this year. The Stevens Building opens after years of renovations as the home of the School of Theatre and Dance and Anthropology Departments. The $23.7 million project started in 2014 and finished just in time for the 2018-19 school year. The building features a new lecture hall, box office and Black Box theater.

NPR Illinois

Students across Illinois are heading back to school. And increasingly, they’re finding alternatives to bachelor’s degrees to reach their career goals.  NPR-Illinois hosted a forum in Rockford on Thursday about training today’s workforce. Northern Illinois University associate vice president Rena Cotsones and Workforce Connection director Lisa Bly had advice for students setting off on a career path.

The Sound of Science - "Frizzy Hair"

Aug 17, 2018

Welcome to the Sound of Science. I’m Kate Powers – And I’m Mackenzie Thompson.

M: Kate, this week we have a burning question that comes to mind during the hot summer months. What is it about humidity that makes your hair so frizzy and curly?

K: As a curly hair girl, Pati, this question is close to my heart. And the basic answer to the question is simply: chemistry.

M: Chemistry? Are there chemical reactions between humid air and your hair?

Victoria Lunacek

Republican Bob Pritchard resigned his post in the Illinois House this summer. He’s now a member of the Northern Illinois University Board of Trustees. When he’s not serving constituents, Pritchard, of Hinckley, can be found on his family farm. In this week’s Friday Forum, WNIJ’s Jenna Dooley talks with Pritchard as he reflects on his time in the General Assembly and looks ahead to his new role at NIU.

A row of bright green farm equipment lines the back of a large shed. It’s all John Deere on this farm.

https://www.supremecourt.gov

One of the major stories to come out of Washington D.C. this week was President Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. On this week’s Friday Forum, WNIJ’s Jenna Dooley talks with Mitch Pickerill, a political scientist at Northern Illinois University.

Pickerill says the choice of the conservative Kavanaugh to replace Anthony Kennedy makes sense politically.

Guy Stephens/ WNIJ

Thursday’s meeting of Northern Illinois University’s Board of Trustees was long, reflecting a lengthy agenda. What it wasn’t, was fraught or contentious.

niu.edu / afscme.org

The Northern Illinois University Board of Trustees voted unanimously in favor of a collective bargaining agreement Thursday with AFSCME Local 1890.

The five-year contract provides union members an immediate 3% wage raise and various job-related protections. Barbara Andree is President of the NIU Operating Staff Council. She says the agreement makes up for stagnant clerical worker pay.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois

When Illinois public officials are dismissed for misconduct, they sometimes are
awarded large severance packages – which are paid for by taxpayers. A new proposal approved by the Senate would stop the practice.

Chase Cavanaugh / WNIJ

Northern Illinois University employees belonging to AFSCME Local 1890 approved a contract proposal Tuesday that was nearly three years in the making. The ratification vote on the five year contract took place throughout the day at NIU's student center. NIU’s Board of Trustees will vote on the deal May 10.

Sara Dorner is with AFSCME Council 31 and was part of the negotiations. She says she thinks NIU learned a lot about what its employees have to offer during the long bargaining process, and that “we will never be neglected again.”

Katie Finlon / WNIJ

A strike by union clerical workers at Northern Illinois University has been averted. 

The university and negotiators for AFSCME Local 1890 reached a tentative contract agreement Monday night, after more than two years of talks. The agreement needs approval by the union membership and the NIU Board of Trustees.

Details are not being released until both sides finalize their draft proposal, which could happen next Monday. The union's strike education sessions scheduled to begin Thursday have been canceled.

Katie Finlon / WNIJ

A clerical bargaining unit at Northern Illinois University still doesn’t have an initial union contract with NIU after their negotiations meeting earlier this week. That’s after more than two years of talks.

The more than 600 members of AFSCME Local 1890 are now looking at their legal rights to strike, according to union spokeswoman Sara Dorner.

Dorner says that’s a different approach than the union's original plan. Clerical, administrative and paraprofessional workers planned to picket on NIU’s DeKalb campus every Monday at noon until they have an initial contract.

realitybytes.niu.edu

This week is the 17th annual Reality Bytes film festival at Northern Illinois University.

  

 

Organizers say they've received more than 60 film submissions, which they will narrow down to around 20 to be viewed by the public.

 

The annual event is hosted by the NIU Department of Communication.

 

Organizer Tatianna Salisbury says there are some recurring themes in this year’s films.

 

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