The Public Square

Beth Kirchgesner on Public Engagement programs offered by the University of Illinois


The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has a rich tradition of commitment to public engagement. Our faculty, staff, and students engage with the community to help address the needs of society and to advance discovery and the application of knowledge. Public engagement plays an integral part of the University's mission to "transform lives and serve society."

The Universitys goal is to apply the knowledge and expertise of faculty and staff members to issues of societal importance for the public good. By engaging the community, teaching and research are often enriched or led in new directions. But how do we reach the community? How do we communicate the programs we offer and how does the community find information to address their needs?

The Public Engagement Portal, found at, is designed to be the most comprehensive source for information about public engagement programs and events offered by the Urbana-Champaign campus.

You will find descriptions and contact information for a variety of University-related programs and events that are intended for the public, including workshops, seminars, summer camps, and festivals.

Two years ago we started with a vision of a single site that could help connect the Universitys resources with the publics needs. Now we manage a tool that shares about 1,000 ongoing and upcoming programs, with thousands of residents searching the information each month. Weve worked hard to make both searching for and entering information easier, with an emphasis on accessibility.

And now were working to make it more visible. Do you know what programs and events the University offers? Is your information represented? Visit to find out.