Fab Lab Hosts “Bush of Life” Workshop for UNCC Middle Schoolers

Since the start of the school year, Mix IT Up and UNCC have continued to do projects with the CU Fab Lab. Recently, Jeff Ginger and his associates at the CU Fab Lab, along with some international Fab Lab-ers, offered to host an after-school workshop for UNCC’s middle schoolers called the “Bush of Life.” The project was focused on “imagining the ancestors of various animals and rethinking the human-centric notion of the tree of life – and then creating a model with the laser cutter at the Fab Lab.” (Jeff Ginger) Many elements of this project corresponded with what the UNCC participants have learned in school. It also gave them a chance to think outside of the box in terms of how they see and look at the world around them, to be creative, to build teamwork and collaboration skills, and to get hands-on experience with different types of technology.

For more information on the “Bush of Life” workshop, please refer to this PDF brochure: Bush of Life

Here are some of the pictures of the workshop – take a look!


The middle-schoolers use the Fab Lab computers for the activity, while UNCC staff member, Sharonda, watches over their shoulders.


Group picture of the participants! The Fab Lab-ers who lead the workshop are on the left, and Janice Mitchell, director of the Urbana Neighborhood Connections Center, stands to the far-right of the group (and, of course, the participating kids are in the middle).


The UNCC middle-schoolers learn teamwork and collaboration skills by working together as a group (with some guidance from the Fab Lab staff).


Participants group together around one of the computers during the workshop.


Listening intently as the Fab Lab team describes the next steps of the activity.


Everyone takes a look at the animals they created with the CU Fab Lab’s laser cutters before building their tree.


Visiting Fab Lab-er Jonathan Landis demonstrates how the tree will be assembled.


Another shot of Jonathan explaining the activity, while the kids listen closely.


A close up of the animals the the UNCC kids designed and created with the Fab Lab’s equipment, before they are used to assemble the tree.


Finally, the tree is being assembled!

The tree that was created during this workshop is now at the Urbana Neighborhood Connections Center, where the kids, their parents, and community members can see it!

Mix IT Up and UNCC send out a big “thank you” to Jeff Ginger, Jonathan Landais, and all of the other Fab Lab-ers for giving us the opportunity to arrange activities like this one for the kids at UNCC, who love participating in them! 


Reel It UP Update!

Save the Date!
The UP Center of Champaign County presents the 4th annual
Reel It UP! LGBT Film Festival:Every Tuesday in June 2013
1st show at 7:30pm, 2nd show at 9:30pm
At the Art Theatre Co-op located at 126 W. Church St. Champaign, IL. 61820
Individual tickets and full month passes will be sold in advance and at the door.Ticket Prices:

Ticket Type:

Adult Price

Student/Youth Price

Individual Movie Ticket



Full Night Ticket



Full Month Pass*



Minecci’s Ristorante is a long-time Sponsor of Reel It UP and The UP Center.  Minecci’s has given the following perks to those who purchase tickets for Reel It UP.  See below for the exact details:

Individual Movie Tickets/Full Night Tickets — With paid receipt, receive one free glass of House Wine per ticket purchased.  This can be redeemed one time only on ANY Tuesday in June 2013.

Full Month Pass — With physical pass, receive choice of one free appetizer, one free dessert, OR one free cocktail.  This can be redeemed one time on EACH Tuesday in June 2013.

For movie titles and accompanying trailers please visit our info page at: http://tinyurl.com/dxp532v

Central Illinois Youth Summit


Hello Mix-IT-Up! blog visitors!

We at the UP Center would like to promote an event being held by our community partners at the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance (http://www.illinoissafeschools.org/)

Join other youth involved in LGBTQ safe schools organizing from across Central and Southern Illinois THIS SATURDAY for a day of workshops, community building, and fun!  I have attached the flyer for the event and you can obtain the registration form by contacting michelle@illinoissafeschools.org.

Urbana Independent Media Center
202 S Broadway
Urbana, IL 61801

The UP Center space will be used throughout the day as a workshop space and the President of the Board and myself will be discussing curriculum inclusion with the youth during two workshop sessions.  

While there is a suggested donation ($5 per person or $30 for a GSA group) from the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, absolutely no youth and GSA groups will be turned away.  We are proud to be working with the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance on such a great program! 

Reel It UP!

This summer, the UP Center of Champaign County presents the Fourth Annual “Reel It UP!” This event is a film festival where the public views films to celebrate LGBT pride, history, community, and diversity through the art of film. It also allows the UP Center to promote our resources and educate the public on LGBT issues. In the past, “Reel It Up” has been a one-day event. This year, however, the UP Center wanted to reach a bigger audience and has booked the Art Theater Co-op for all four Tuesday nights in June. The new structure of this event is projected to showcase a wider variety of films to appeal to more audiences as well as offer multiple dates for those who could not make it to the day-long event in the past.

While not much has been finalized about the event, I will keep you all informed as we solidify plans.  We are very excited at how this event is evolving!  We are currently searching for potential films to show and are in need of diverse film choices related to the LGBT community (i.g. family friendly, political, erotic, racially diverse, kinks, sub-culture). Films that are feature-length (90 min max) and were made in 2011 or later are preferred.

If you are a filmmaker or know someone who might be interested in having the UP Center show their film for free or at discounted price please contact me at tencia@unitingpride.org for more information on how to be a part of our community LGBT film festival.

Suggestions of films we should consider booking are also welcome!!

SMART girls

SMART girls Conference

Mix IT Up! students and staff are involved in planning and hosting the SMART girls Conference.
Please encourage local girls to join!

Upcoming Event: GSLIS Research Showcase

Mix IT Up! is delighted to poster in the upcoming Graduate School of Library and Information Science Research Showcase. The Mix IT Up! poster will be presented from noon until 1:30 PM this Friday, March 29th.

More information on the showcase:

University of Illinois Vice Chancellor for Research Peter Schiffer will open the 2013 Research Showcase, which will be held on the afternoon of Friday, March 29. GSLIS faculty and doctoral students will share the breadth of their research in a series of short presentations and posters highlighting their scholarly work. The Research Showcase is an annual event open to campus and the general public.

12:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Friday, March 29
GSLIS Building, 501 East Daniel Street, Champaign
East Foyer and Rooms 126 and 131

12:00 – 1:30pm: First poster session; lunch will be served
1:30 – 3:30pm: Research presentations with opening remarks by Peter Schiffer
3:30 – 5:00pm: Second poster session, demonstrations, and reception

Hopefully we will see you there!

Upcoming Event: MidWest Zine Fest

The 3rd annual MidWest Zine Fest (MWZF) will be occurring in Urbana, IL on April 13th at the UC-IMC (202 S. Broadway). This event, peripheral to Mix IT Up! projects, features local independent artists and creators who create and publish their own print media. It will feature speakers, workshops, a movie screening, and plenty of zines!

Joe Coyle, who works with the Mix IT Up! juvenile detention center library project, will be presenting at this year’s MWZF on the topic of publishing, writing, and distribution by youth in the Champaign County Juvenile Detention Center. We look forward to hearing more about the project and are hoping to hear about some of the zines that youth have begun to do. The library is planning to partner with the People of Color (POC) Zine Project to distribute zines by youth in the detention center.

More information related to MidWest Zine Fest can be found at http://midwestzinefest.ucimc.org/.