Illini Union Strategic Plan 2022-2026

Guiding Principles

This is a four-year plan guiding our organization through the end of FY26. While we acknowledge that changes in the environment may bring about changes in action plans and strategies, this set of guiding principles will remain constant and be the basis of all decisions and actions. It provides the foundation for our strategic plan.

  • We will continue to make strategic investments in the student experience.
  • We will be mindful and responsive to the changing financial landscape through effective stewardship of resources and advancement.
  • We will collaborate and engage with faculty, staff, students, alumni, and other stakeholders in our planning and implementation to advance student learning.
  • We will embrace a culture of assessment and improvement to inform decision making and practice.
  • We will be innovative and flexible as we pursue the priorities of our plan.
  • We will empower members of our organization and celebrate our achievements.
  • We will allow staff to pursue new initiatives (with approval) and learn from their experience.
  • We will support all members of our campus community to speak up and out.
  • We will engage students in active learning that prepares them to be global citizens and leaders in the 21st century.
  • We will embrace and build a community that values diversity, social justice, and inclusion.
  • We will build and nurture transformative relationships with all members of our communities.
  • We will be a laboratory of innovation and the global leader in the student union profession

      Mission, Vision, Values

      As part of the Strategic Plan process, the Illini Union developed new Mission, Vision, and Value statements.


      The Illini Union enriches students’ academic experience by building an inclusive community and providing growth and developmental opportunities through engaging programs, outstanding services, and purposeful employment.


        The Illini Union will bring people together to create an inspiring, innovative, and caring community.

          Core Values

          CORE VALUES

          Our values serve as a compass and describe how we behave every day.

          • Community:  We value community and continually work to strengthen our ties to the University and the surrounding community through active citizenship, service, traditions, teamwork, and collaboration.
          • Student Centeredness and Learning:  We value students and their voice as they are central to our mission.  Our work is guided by a commitment to their holistic development and learning.
          • Leadership:  We value the opportunity to lead from every level of the organization and create innovative programs and services.  We recognize that each employee can inspire and motivate others and serve as a catalyst for change.  We are accountable and take responsibility for our decisions and actions.
          • Excellence:  We set high expectations and develop distinctive and quality programs and services through innovation and continuous improvement.
          • Diversity and Inclusion:  We value the uniqueness of people and individual perspectives.  We embrace and celebrate one another’s differences, talents, and abilities.  We cultivate an inclusive environment by considering all dimensions of diversity, and we help prepare our campus community for life in a multi-cultural society.
          • Integrity:  We value being honest and ethical and exemplifying behavior that can be modeled by all.  We maintain open and transparent decision-making at all levels of our organization.
          • Traditions:  We value our position as the center of campus life – physically, socially, and culturally.  We recognize that every member of our Illinois family has an Illini Union story to tell.  Through these stories we help preserve the rich traditions and legacy that current and former Illini have created.
          • Collaboration:  We value cooperating and partnering with others to strengthen our efforts to serve the university and our surrounding community

          2022-2026 Goals

          Below are the 2022-2026 Goals Strategic Plan for the Illini Union

          Goal I: Foster Scholarship, Discovery, and Innovation

          Assessment and Evaluation

          The Illini Union will implement organization-wide data collection best practices and refine current assessments to allow staff to make informed decisions on programming, services and resources, training needs, and retail opportunities.

          • Conduct post-student program surveys to measure satisfaction, relevance, impact, and likelihood of recommending program to friends.
          • Development plan for each student employment position that identifies learning outcomes and processes.
          • Implement satisfaction surveys to measure student and customer satisfaction with retail offerings.
          • Provide training that will foster innovation and enhance leadership skills to increase organizational effectiveness.
          • Establish schedule of departmental reviews, based on ACUI and CAS standards, to identify areas of growth and opportunity, effectiveness, and innovation.

          Goal II: Provide transformative learning experiences

          Health and Wellbeing
          • Evaluate a complimentary program to focus on providing nutritious food and providing health and wellness information for students to help combat food insecurity on campus throughout the facility.
          • Leverage existing infrastructure and Illini Union community building expertise to develop innovative programming and educational opportunities through the Rec Room, Illini Union Board, and Retail Operations that improve morale, wellbeing, and mental health of the campus community.
          • Evaluate current policies and procedures and redraft as needed with concentration on Food Trucks and outside vendors to ensure healthy, fresh options are made available from a wide range of cuisines.
          • Require all food and beverage operations to display nutrition and sourcing information
          Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging
          • Evaluate contracted talent/vendors to ensure representation of underrepresented populations.
          • Review of Illini Union policies and procedures throughout all departments to ensure equity, inclusion, and justice. Deconstruct policies that do not align with these values.
          • Prepare students for global citizenship through the development of engaging programs, meaningful employment, and training opportunities.
          Leadership Development and Career Development
          • Advise, coach, and mentor students to develop stronger connection with experiences and career aspirations and plans for post-graduation.
          • Establish formal process for developing career shadowing and mentoring opportunities for student staff and IU Board members.
          • Staff members will establish annual professional development goals and will review with supervisor on regular basis.
          Civic Engagement and Community Accountability
          • Ensure highest quality and safety of all food and packaging, based on local, national, and international regulations by requiring all vendors to enroll in Safeway program
          Technology for Learning
          • Launch pilot inclusive access program that supports student success and saves students money.
          • Modernize multimedia assets in meeting and conference room spaces throughout the facility.
          • Leverage the newly created Illini Union intranet for staff education, efficiency, and ease of access and sharing of information.

          Goal III: Make a significant and visible societal impact

          Collaboration and Community Partnerships
          • Create a formal process for rotation of third-party vendor contracts that enhances offerings, remains relevant, and provides innovative services and creative solutions and revenue streams.
          • Restructure positions to create staffing model that supports retention, growth, and development.
          • Repurpose vacant spaces to create exciting new retail partnerships that meet the needs of current, and future, students.
          Marketing and Communications
          • Establish AHW Shared Marketing as a shared resource marketing center to serve additional Student Affairs departments.
          • Develop modern marketing and business strategy for Illini Union Hotel that increases occupancy and supports continued revenue growth.
          • Develop a student ambassador program and collaborate with the Auxiliary, Health, and Wellbeing Marketing team to advertise events and activities geared towards the campus community by leveraging their social media networks and networking skills to increase campus community involvement.
          • Redesign and deployment of websites using new university and SA templates for IU Intranet, Illini Union, Document Services, IU Hotel, Campus Recreation, McKinley Health Center.
          • Establish video production/photo shoot plan that supports ongoing promotion and awareness of programming, resources, and services of all Auxiliary, Health and Wellbeing partners.
          • Transition IU Board members to have more of a direct role on both traditional and virtual marketing to capture a more authentic student voice.

          Goal IV: Steward current resources and generate additional resources for strategic initiatives

          Fiscal and Capital Resources
          • Increase sustainability efforts and update equipment to more economical and energy-efficient devices.
          • Create and implement an evaluation process for new business development of retail related projects that diversifies the offerings to protect against market/economic fluctuations.
          • Develop and grow the operations of Conferences and Events.
          • Improve operational efficiency by eliminating paper-based processes and unnecessary steps in our event setup delivery and communication process.
          • Complete a twenty-year facility master plan for future infrastructure renovations and upgrades of Illini Union facilities.
          • Conduct fundraising feasibility assessment and develop a financial model that will steer the major renovation campaign and messaging.
          • Increase outreach and cultivate relationships with former employees, IU Board and other affiliated-organization members to develop lifelong relationships with the Illini Union.
          • Improve business processes and assess systems for further efficiency.
          Human Resources
          • Create a culture of continuous learning and development.
          • Collaborate with Student Affairs Tech to develop inclusive HR site and student hiring program/site.
          • Create consistency across units or areas of service that build efficiencies and streamline processes.