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Smart, Healthy Communities Initiative


Style Guide

In addition to the guidance given in this guide, writers should consult the following materials.

Public Affairs Writing Style Guide

University of Illinois System Writing Style Guide

Style Guide for Technology Services (NetID required for access)

The Chicago Manual of Style Online

Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Names and Terms


This is a group of female and male graduates.

Men: alumnus (singular) or alumni (plural)

Women: alumna (singular) or alumnae (plural)

Avoid: alum, alums

Big Ten Network

The Big Ten Network is the sports network for the conference.

Incorrect: Big 10 Network, BIG10 Network


Always capitalize.

Café Credits

This term has been retired. Use “Dining Dollars.”

Classic Meal

This meal plan can be used for carry-out or dine-in service in University Housing dining locations.

Counseling Center

University of Illinois counseling organization.


Always use the plural form.

Sample sentence: The data are indicative of a trend.


Do not use this term when describing any health or wellness tool or resource. Only software programs and devices approved by the Food and Drug Administration may use it.


Note the preferred spelling (not “dietician”) per University Housing.

Dining Dollars

The digital currency Dining Dollars can be used in residence halls or retail locations. Use this term instead of “Café Credits,” which has been retired.

dining locations

Use this term instead of “dining halls” or “restaurants” in references to food options through University Housing.


Do not use this term or “dorm.” Use “residence hall.”

first-year student

This is the preferred term for students beginning college. Using the gendered terms “freshman” and “freshmen” is discouraged. It’s also possible for a student to have official status as a freshman during the third semester of study because they have an insufficient number of credits to attain sophomore status.

health care

Two words and no hyphen except as an adjective.


The i-card is the physical University of Illinois identification card. “UIN” refers only to the university identification number. Do not capitalize any part of this word and always include a hyphen. In the Illinois app, the Illini ID is the digital version of the i-card.

Incorrect: iCard, i-Card

Illini Union

This is the official name. Use “the Union” informally or on subsequent mention.

Illinois app

The Illinois app is a mobile application that incorporates information services focused on life at the University of Illinois. The app includes tools and resources for campus events, sports, dining information, academics, and laundry services.

Incorrect: Pull up Illinois on your phone.

Incorrect: Get the Rokwire app.

Correct: The Illinois app was developed on the Rokwire platform.

Correct: I’m going to download the Illinois app.

Illinois instance

An instance is a copy of software and its data sets and dependencies deployed in a single location. Technology Services has administrative responsibility for operations of the Rokwire Illinois instance at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Correct: We work on the Illinois instance. 

McKinley Health Center

University of Illinois health-care organization.

meal plan

Students in University Housing are required to have meal plans to access food at dining locations. Classic Meals and Dining Dollars are the two options.


The NetID is an identity credential assigned to students, faculty, staff, and certain other affiliated registered individuals at the University of Illinois. The NetID is recognized on all University of Illinois campuses. With the associated password, the NetID is the login to most university computing and networking services. Note the capitalization.

Incorrect: NETID, Netid, netid

nonuniversity member of the community

Do not capitalize “university” per the Public Affairs Writing Style Guide and do not hyphenate.

Incorrect: A non-University member of the community can set their status to visitor in the Illinois app.

Correct: Any nonuniversity member of the community can download the Illinois app.

open source

Do not use a hyphen. Lowercase unless you mean the Open Source Initiative (per Do not use “open-sourced” as an adjective.

privacy statement, privacy notice, privacy agreement

A privacy statement is used in the Illinois app. A privacy notice is used in privacy agreements to describe the mobile privacy notice, an agreement made between the organization and the end user regarding the collection and storage of information exchanged through the use of the app.

QR code

The quick response or QR code is an encrypted key that can be scanned and points to information about the attached item. Use “QR code” to refer to the readable code itself, not to the information linked to it. Capitalize both letters, but do not capitalize “code.”

Incorrect: The QR Code says the concert is at 7:00.

Correct: Scan the QR code to register for the event.


This is an acceptable shortened name for the central main quadrangle south of the Illini Union. Use “Main Quad” to distinguish between this area, the Engineering Quad, and the South Quad.

residence hall

Use this term for official on-campus living accommodations for students. Do not use “dormitory” or “dorm.”


An open source software platform for building a variety of mobile services based on easily connected data streams. The Illinois app and Safer Illinois are two mobile products built on the Rokwire platform. Multiple organizations are associated with the Rokwire project.

Incorrect: Rockwire, RokWire, ROKWIRE

Acceptable usage: Rokwire initiative, Rokwire platform, Rokwire community, Rokwire project

Safer Illinois

A mobile application built on the Rokwire platform to support the University of Illinois during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Incorrect: Safer in Illinois, COVID app, Rokwire app

semester designations

Names of academic terms are not capitalized.

Examples: spring semester, summer session, fall 2025

and sign in

Use “sign in” as a verb. Use “sign-in” as a noun. These terms describe entering credentials and securely entering an app. Do not use “log in” or any of its variants. Separate the prepositions. Use “sign in to” not “sign into.”

Incorrect: You must sign into the Illinois app.

Correct: You must sign in using your NetID.

Sample sentence: I signed in to the Illinois app using my sign-in credentials. 

single sign-on

Avoid using the acronym “SSO” for this authentication scheme.

Smart, Healthy Communities initiative

Note the spelling: do not use the singular “Community” and use a comma.

switch vs. toggle

Use “switch” to refer to the skeuomorph that changes a setting from one state to another. Do not use “toggle” as a noun.

This is a switch.

This is a switch. You toggle it off or on. 

Technology Services

This university department has administrative responsibility for operations of the Rokwire platform.


Do not use this term when describing any health or wellness tool or resource. Only software programs and devices approved by the Food and Drug Administration may use it.


A UIN is a nine-digit university identification number used to identify students, employees, and certain other university affiliates in University of Illinois records. It should not be confused with the physical i-card or the Illini ID in the Illinois app.

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Official name of the campus. Do not use “at,” a comma, or a dash before the campus name. Use both cities. Use the full name on first reference.

Incorrect: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Incorrect: We are taking a tour of the University of Illinois, Urbana.

Correct: I graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.


Include the hyphen and capitalize both parts of the compound term.

Incorrect: Wi-fi, wi-fi, wifi, Wifi, WIFI, wireless fidelity

Writing Style Guidelines

  • Avoid the use of exclamation marks.
  • Whenever possible, image captions and callouts should be complete sentences. 
  • Write in a conversational style. Use short, simple sentences. Divide complex sentences. Sentence fragments are fine.
  • Always use the serial comma: The Illinois app includes information on academics, events, and wellness.

Abbreviations, Acronyms, and Initialisms

Only abbreviate and use acronyms or initialisms after first providing the full name. After the full name is provided, subsequent references can be abbreviated. 

Incorrect: The campus VPN allows users to connect securely to university services.

Correct: The campus virtual private network (VPN) allows for exchanges of encrypted information.

End Punctuation

For consistency, all image captions and callouts should end in a period, even when an incomplete sentence is used.


Title Case

Title case means to capitalize the first letter of major words such as nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. Minor words, which are not capitalized, are prepositions (e.g., by, for, in), conjunctions (and, but, or), and articles (a, an, the). 

  • Current Illini Cash Balance
  • Events for You
  • Ask a Dietitian
  • Create a New Group
  • All Big 10 Events

Sentence Case

Sentence case means to capitalize only the first word and any proper nouns.

  • Current Illini Cash balance
  • Events for you
  • Ask a dietitian
  • Create a new group
  • All Big 10 events
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