The Parkland College Blog

Betsy's Bistro to Open at Parkland College Next Month

New food service vendor to offer locally grown menu items at reasonable prices

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Parkland College's student services chief remembers the moment he was sold on having Hendrick House Dorms of Urbana as the school's new food service provider. It was his students' reaction to the vendor during a spring visit.

"They raved and raved about that experience," Vice President for Students Services Mike Trame said about the group of Parkland students who toured other Champaign-Urbana sites that Hendrick House operates in, including the University of Illinois' Newman House and Carle at the Fields. 

"After seeing Hendrick House's work, our students seemed to think the company would understand what Parkland College students would want in a cafeteria: diverse and quality food for a reasonable price," Trame said. "They seemed happy with the choice, and if they're happy, I'm happy."

Parkland College plans to welcome Hendrick House as "Betsy's Bistro at Parkland" starting Sept. 10. Under a five-year contract, Betsy's Bistro will operate out of Parkland's Student Union cafeteria, offering a variety of appetizing made-to-order and ready-made menu items, along with catering services and a coffee shop. The move replaces Chartwells Dining Services, which decided not to renew its food service contract with the college.

Betsy’s Bistro at Parkland's options will include a grill for made-to-order breakfasts, hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, and wraps; a salad and noodle bar; wood-fired pizza, grab-and-go items including sushi; cold-brew and nitro coffee; and a "comfort food" station featuring global foods. Prices will range from $3 to $9.

With its focus on freshly prepared food using local ingredients whenever possible, Hendrick House has served as a campus residence and food option to University of Illinois students for 70 years. Trame said these aspects of the company also made him excited about the switch.

"Key in our evaluation of Hendrick House was their connection to this community," he said. "They're ingrained in serving products they grow right in our area, as well as in boosting local bakers, roasteries, and other food vendors. They have a great understanding of the area's marketplace and demand."

The team at Hendrick House shares in the excitement of adding Parkland College to its food service facility lineup, said Juan Molina, general manager of corporate catering and retail accounts. They also look forward to incorporating local partners such as Ye Olde Donut Shoppe, Homer Soda Company, Piemonte Sausage, Central Illinois Produce and Columbia Street Roastery in their menu offerings at Parkland's campus.

"We're ready for the opportunity to be even more involved in the community than we already are, both to offer our services to Parkland College and to introduce the Parkland community to what we do," Molina said.

Hendrick House's food truck, Betsy's Bistro, has provided a summertime lunch option outside Parkland College's Student Union since May 2017. These food trucks are extending lunch service at Parkland for the fall in the B1 parking lot until the cafeteria opens.

Parkland to Host 21st Annual Gala Celebration

"Creating Impact" to feature food, beverages, recognition

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The Parkland College Foundation will host its 21st annual community Gala Celebration, "Creating Impact," on Thursday, September 13 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Parkland College Student Union in Champaign. Proceeds benefit scholarships at Parkland College.

Program highlights for the event include President's Circle member recognition, a special recognition for alumni attendees, and an opportunity to hear how the Parkland College Foundation creates impact throughout our District.

Tickets are $75 per person and include food and beverages; ticket holders must be 18 and older to attend.

Longview Capital Corporation is the presenting sponsor for this event. For event and ticket information, call 217/351-2464 or email

Board of Trustees Nominating Petitions Available Soon

Terms of three incumbent trustees will expire April 2019

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Parkland College officials announced today that any interested persons wishing to run for a position on the Parkland Board of Trustees may pick up nominating petitions and related documents from Nancy Willamon in Room U336 at the Parkland College campus, 2400 W. Bradley Ave., Champaign, Illinois, during regular business hours beginning August 27, 2018, at 9 a.m.

Petitions may NOT be circulated prior to Sept. 18, 2018.

The term of incumbent trustee James Ayers, Bianca Truitt Green and Jonathan Westfield will expire in April 2019. These board openings will be for a six-year term on the ballot and said seats will expire in April 2025.

Nominating petitions and supporting documents must be filed between the hours of 8 a.m. and noon and 1 and 5 p.m. Central Time on any of the following dates: December 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, or 17, 2018. Said documentsMUST be filed with the Office of the Board Secretary, Nancy Willamon, Room U336, Parkland College, 2400 W. Bradley Ave., Champaign, Illinois.

The election will be held on April 2, 2019.

Planetarium Announces Lecture Series for 2018-2019

Talks let local research community share its knowledge with the public

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The William M. Staerkel Planetarium at Parkland College is pleased to announce the newest lineup of speakers in the James B. Kaler Science Lecture Series.

For more than 25 years, the planetarium has served as a conduit for the local research community to share its knowledge with the general public. Talks occur on the first Friday of the months classes are in session at 7 p.m., and admission to each is $2 at the door. Friends of the Staerkel Planetarium are admitted free of charge. 

The fall lectures will be highlighted with UIUC Engineering Professor David Ruzic speaking on fracking and cross-country pipelines. In November, astronomer Jeff Filippini will discuss dark matter, and in December, geologist Steven Marshak will bring firsthand experience and images of the recent volcanic activity in Hawaii. 

As we look into the new year, entomologist May Berenbaum brings us up close and personal with spiders and how they have been maligned in the movies. Storm chaser Andrew Pritchard returns to the dome in March with more exciting tornado video. The series ends in April as Alex Schwing (UIUC Electrical and Computer Engineering) focuses on artificial intelligence. 

The series lineup with descriptions is available at the planetarium website. For more information, visit the website or contact the planetarium at 217/351-2567. For a list of upcoming shows, contact the show hotline at 217/351-2446.

Enrollment Blitz 2018 to Help Students Register for Fall

One-stop help with applying, financial aid, placement tests, more

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As Parkland College gears up for its fall semester, its Student Services units are once again offering over a week of one-stop help with registering for classes.

Fall Enrollment Blitz 2018 runs August 9–17, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., on the second-floor "bridge" of the Student Union. Please note: Parkland College's campus is closed Aug. 10. Since Parkland College Fall Semester 2018 classes start Monday, Aug. 20, the event comes right on cue, especially for those who may have applied to Parkland but not taken a class. 

During Enrollment Blitz, new and returning students can receive one-stop service from Parkland's Admissions and Records, Counseling and Advising, Financial Aid, and Assessment units. Students can get help with anything from completing applications for admission or financial aid, to determining course placement for math and English, to attending a Parkland student orientation (SOAR) session and registering onsite for classes. 

For more information on this event, contact Admissions and Records at 217/351-2482 or