1001 S. Wright St., Champaign, IL 61820 | Summer Hours: M-F, 10AM-4PM |  hello.ymca@universityymca.org  |  (217) 337-1500

What is Friday Forum + Conversation Café?

A weekly forum to learn about and discuss pressing public concerns while enjoying free lunch from the Y Eatery. The fall series is: Our Community in Action: Advancing Social Justice in Champaign Urbana and Beyond.

Upcoming Events

Fall 2023 Series

Our Community in Action: Advancing Social Justice in Champaign Urbana and Beyond

Please join the University YMCA and Diversity & Social Justice Education for our Fall 2023 Friday Forum / Conversation Cafe series, Our Community in Action: Advancing Social Justice in Champaign Urbana and Beyond. We will hear from community leaders tackling our most pressing public concerns through an unwavering pursuit of social justice. As we continue to celebrate the 150th year of the University YMCA, we are excited to present the 2nd semester of the 96th season of Friday Forum!

All presentations are open to the public and free on Fridays at 12 PM in Latzer Hall at the University YMCA, followed by a conversation with DiversityEd Staff at 1 PM.

  • 9/15 Akua Forkuo- Sekyere, Welcoming Immigrants in Champaign County
  • 9/22 Warren Lavey and Leon Liebenberg,  Reimagine our future undergraduate sustainability competition
  • 9/29 Chancellor Robert Jones: A shared commitment to campus and community: UIUC and the University YMCA
  • 10/6 Jason Finkelman, Nikkeijin Illinois - Extended Stories
  • 10/13 Alex Horton, Ubuntu: Black community organizing and coalition politics in Champaign-Urbana
  • 10/20 Walter Feinberg, Educating for Democracy
  • 10/27 Carolina Gonzalez Valencia, Film screening & discussion: "How to clean a house in 10 easy steps."
  • 11/3 Mike Brawn, Education Justice Project's Prison-to-Gown program
  • 11/10 Uniting Pride of Champaign County - Trans Day of Remembrance

Additional Information

Friday Forum is a weekly lecture series held during the fall and spring semesters that strives to raise awareness about national and international trends and events. It has been continuously running for 96 years at the University YMCA, continually adapting to the times while remaining committed to providing talks that address topics of relevance and urgency in our society.

The views expressed by the speakers do not necessarily reflect the views of the University YMCA, co-sponsors, or the Friday Forum committee. A sign language interpreter is available with a 72 hours notice (contact us at 217-337-1500). All forums are radio broadcast at 6:00 p.m. on WEFT 90.1 the Wednesday following the lecture. Urbana Public Television also provides recordings of past Friday Forum lectures on their YouTube channel.

View our videos of the lectures on YouTube and photographs on Flickr.

Support the University YMCA Today!

With your support we offer and champion a diverse set of programs and student organizations committed to social justice, environmental protection, interfaith cooperation and global engagement by fostering dialogue, reflection and action.

Volunteer Opportunities

Unfortunately, we don't have any available positions at this time. Please check back in the future for more openings!

Sponsors & Partners

Did You Know?

Our Fall 2023 Sponsors

Friday Forum could not happen without the generous support of local individuals, organizations, and departments. We would like to thank all the members of our Friday Forum committee, and the following sponsors for helping to bring us this spring’s series!

  • Center for Advanced Study
  • Center for Global Studies and the US Department of Education Title VI Grant
  • College of ACES
  • College of Education
  • The Counseling Center
  • Department of African American Studies
  • Department of Psychology
  • Department of Urban & Regional Planning
  • First Mennonite Church of Champaign-Urbana
  • First Presbyterian Church, Champaign
  • Gender & Sexuality Resource Center
  • Humanities Research Institute
  • Illini Hillel
  • Institute for Sustainability, Energy & Environment
  • League of Women Voters
  • Office of the Provost
  • School of Social Work
  • Sinai Temple
  • Urbana Champaign Friends Meeting
  • Urbana-Champaign Reproductive Justice
  • Women and Gender in Global Perspectives Program


The University YMCA relies on contributions to cover costs associated with this program. Your tax-deductible donation to programs like Friday Forum benefits students and the wider community. You can donate online, in person, or by mail. Checks can be made out to “University YMCA” and sent to 1001 S. Wright St., Champaign, IL 61820.

Real Impact

More than 1500 people attended the Friday Forum Series last year. Over 96% reported the experience was excellent or good and that they felt more aware of cultural and diversity issues.

In The News

Friday Forum 2023

August 30, 2023

A weekly, noontime series: Chancellor Robert Jones (Sep. 29th)

Read More

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