tudents, faculty, staff and visitors disembarking from Amtrak at the historic Macomb Train Depot can get their Western Illinois University apparel to get their Leatherneck spirit on before heading to campus thanks to the new The Western Connection. An official ribbon-cutting will be held at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 20.
The shop, which was organized and is being maintained by WIU Outreach Programs Director Sally Adams, will debut Friday, Oct. 21 from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 4:30-6:30 p.m. as part of WIU’s Homecoming weekend. Beginning Tuesday, Oct. 25, The Western Connection will be open from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays; 4:30-6:30 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays; and 9 a.m.-noon Saturdays.
“If the WIU flutter flag is on display outside, we’re open,” Adams said.
Adams happened upon the idea for a WIU-based shop in the train station when she saw an out-of-state university’s shop. She started thinking about what Western could do to showcase items that WIU students make, build and grow, along with offering WIU apparel and tickets to University events for sale to visitors coming into town.
“I started talking with city officials to learn more about the spaces available, and I instantly fell in love with the train station. Our Macomb Convention & Visitors Bureau is in the depot as well so it doesn’t get any more town and gown than that,” she added.
WIU metal décor items made by engineering technology graduate students, popcorn from the WIU Allison Farm, event tickets and University Bookstore swag will be available for purchase. Event tickets will be sold from the former “Barry’s Taxi” window (hours will vary for the ticket window). The Western Connection will be staffed by WIU employees and students.
For more information, email Adams at SA-Adams2@wiu.edu.