Spotlight . . .


Community - Campus Day of Service

April 5, 2014

On Saturday, April 5th, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign kicked off National Volunteer Week with an inaugural Community-Campus Day of Service. Over 60 students, faculty and staff worked with six community partners on seven projects to complete pre-construction projects, community garden spring preparation projects, flyering in the community, reorganizing classrooms at Tap in Leadership Academy, cataloging choral literature, and preparing a Bee Garden. A big thank you goes out to all who helped on April 5!


Enriching perspectives through community engagement

Outreach Weekend Report - March 28-29, 2008

Weekend Summary

Eagle's Nest by Abbilyn Harmon

This past weekend, several groups of volunteers worked on projects at Eagle's Nest. One group had the task of designing and painting signs for Eagle's Nest. One of these signs is to display the "months until" opening. Two more signs were painted that will serve as permanent signs for the site. All three signs were completed, and they will be sealed and installed on the next Outreach Weekend. A second group of motivated volunteers took on a large clean-up project of an empty lot next to the Eagle's Nest property. This site had become severely overgrown, so the students pitched in with residents to cut down trees and clear brush away from a wild forest. They completed the job almost entirely, with only one tree left standing. A third group of volunteers worked on the Pullman Porter Community Park sign for the 41st Street Neighborhood Action Group. ESLARP will be constructing the walking path for this park later this year, and the sign will stand at the entryway of the park. The volunteers completed the painting on the sign, which was no small feat, and they will be sealing it and presenting it to the 41st Street Neighborhood Action Group during the next Outreach Weekend.

Saint Vincent Depaul's Thrift Store by Sang Lee

At the March 28-29 Outreach Weekend, 11 student volunteers organized the basement at St. Vincent's Thrift Store on State Street. Students sorted the thrift store's donations into like-areas (Christmas, yard, bicycles, children's toys, etc.) so they can be retrieved easily by the thrift store staff at a later time. While organizing, students sorted through the donations and threw out donations that were inappropriate for resale (too dirty, broken, etc.). Other tasks at the thrift store included creating a window display of spring clothing, an in-store display of spring items, and sorting and organizing shoes for resale.

Katherine Dunham Dynamic Museum Archiving Project by Noah Lenstra

I was pretty satisfied with the work weekend. We had an interesting experience where I started out with three volunteers working with me and two volunteers working independently. It was an interesting model because what ended up happening was that I would teach a small number of volunteers how do to something and they would in turn teach other volunteers how to do something (when Chris Sharkey's group arrived after they finished at Brooklyn). I really liked that model of volunteers teaching volunteers in that it's not so much of me just telling people what to do, but rather that the volunteers feel more invested in the project - at least that's what I hope happened. Finally, I just wanted to let everyone know that the museum looks GREAT! with the current restorations/renovations and I encourage everyone to check it out. One of their new projects is to make a small section of the room devoted to the history of African-Americans in East St. Louis, which is worth checking out. They are really trying to bolster the number of visits - so if your project gets done early or if you have free time between 10 and 4 on Friday or Saturday of the work weekends seriously consider taking your volunteers to the museum. Just make sure they sign the guest register by the entry-way.

The Cemetery Project by Crystal Whiters

On Friday, March 28, 4 students (3 architecture and one psychology), and Saturday, March 29, 7 architecture students, assisted with an archaeological dig in Booker T. Washington Cemetery in Millstadt, IL (a town outside of East St. Louis, adjacent to Centreville, IL). Opened in 1917, Washington Cemetery was the designated burial site for African American residents of East St . Louis. Additionally, Washington Cemetery is the burial site of many East St. Louis residents who were direct descendents of enslaved Africans, and participants in the East St. Louis Riot of 1917. Three local women (one of them, born and raised in East St. Louis) have spent 7 years volunteering in local cemeteries, restoring/preserving the tombstones and documenting the inhabitants. They are documenting the inhabitants of Booker T. Washington Cemetery, with the goal of publishing a book that will become a useful research tool about St. Clair County. During the outreach weekend, we were asked to assist in their endeavor, uncovering epitaphs of babies, covered by silt. A preliminary probe of the site by the women Friday morning created a site filled with orange flags, designating the proposed site of the epitaphs. After probing the location using a long, narrow metal stick to confirm, students dug 1 to 3 feet into the earth with large shovels. Once they reached the stone, they removed the remaining dirt with a trowel. After they were uncovered, the epitaphs were documented on a map of the site.

The Roof at Village Theatre by Jonathon Raiche

My projects were a bit scattered this past weekend due to the postponement of the 41st Street trail project. Friday afternoon I worked with Mike Andrejasich to get things finished at Christina Fischer's daughter's house near the Village Theater. We were joined by two 2nd year architecture students on Saturday morning that were a great help in finishing the fascia and porch detail work. Everything was finished that we set out to achieve, but Mike mentioned that it would probably be a good follow-up project to ensure that the our work was painted at some point. There isn't a lot to paint if we only paint our new work and not the existing wood, but it would be a lot of painting from ladders and some in the high parts of the roof gable. We were able to finish this roof work a little after lunch time on Saturday. The 2 Arch. students and I then went to Eagle's Nest and assisted in clearing out the nearby wooded area. The volunteers had already had a great deal of work done when we arrived, but there was much more completed after we arrived as well. Abby already mentioned that project, but I'll just reiterate and say that it looked great. Also another "thanks" to Abby for really taking over the 41st Street sign project. The sign looked AMAZING and just needs a little more lettering and to be sealed.

Second Chance by Fang Xu

My project is Second Chance, the temporary shelter for homeless people. Altogether 8 of us worked there on Friday and Saturday. Our job was painting the hallway downstairs and the stairway as well. I was really impressed by the enthusiasm and professionalism my group members showed in the site. All of them were highly self-motivated and seriously concerned with the quality of their job. Personally, I didn't have any experiences with painting before. But fortunately Richeal knows a lot about painting and she served as a site manager, making sure that we worked in a coordinated fashion. Everyone was devoted and we overcame quite a lot difficulties we encountered. When we worked on the stairway on Saturday, the ornate design of the banisters made them hard to be thoroughly painted. But with great patience, we finally covered all the spots left, especially those located in the back. The oil-based paint for the stairway was the other problem. All of us got some paint on the clothes, but nobody complained. I am sure these architecture students learned a lot from this outreach weekend. Architects have long been criticized to be the servants for those in financially advantageous position. Architectual education also faces the criticism that the idea of serving the elite rather the poor has been stealthly imparted to the young in the studios. But ESLARP provided architecture majors great opportunities to contact the people that are underserved by our design industry, sending them pondering over the needs of the end users of design projects who may never be listed as clients, and the social responsibility of architects as well.

Brooklyn Police Department Painting by Chris Sharkey

This past weekend, my group of 5 students worked to paint the Brooklyn Police Station. The police station had been painted numerous times before and there had been no sense of uniformity to the space. On Friday afternoon we painted a hallway, putting a first coat of paint on everything. Saturday morning we finished the second coats of paint throughout the hallway and painted over the brown paint that had been in the office and holding area with a lighter cream paint. Saturday afternoon we had lunch with the Police Chief Marion in East St. Louis after which the students toured East St. Louis, familiarizing themselves with the area. Later in the afternoon the students joined Noah's group at the Dunham Museum to sort through archival boxes, cleaned the houses, and filed materials that were significant to the Katherine Dunham archive.
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