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 - September 26-27, 2008

Weekend Summary

Freedom By Design and Opal's House

Crystal Whiters
Freedom by Design (FBD), the community service organization of the American Institute of Architect Students, began the construction phase of a multi-tasked project for Opal’s House. Beginning in the Fall 08 semester, the team of University of IL architecture students, ranging from undergraduate to graduate, will build a wooden ramp and a staircase on the rear exterior of the house. FBD works to enhance the homes of low-income elderly and people with disabilities through quality design. On Friday, the volunteers stored the lumber for the staircase and ramp at the tool shed located at the Village Theatre. They also moved 50 computer monitors to Eagle’s Nest. The monitors are a donation from the Graduate School of Library and Information Science. Saturday, was demolition day. The two FBD co-chairs and 5 of the team members removed the existing staircase. The team also began installing toilet grab bars in the first floor bathroom. Once the railings are installed, the bathroom will be meet ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) requirements. In addition to the construction projects, the students completed landscaping around Opal’s House, mowing the lawn and transplanting the petunia bush adored by the home’s namesake. Before returning to Champaign, the students presented the drawings for the project to George and Essie Calhoun of Opal’s House, and consulted with their construction mentor about the project.

RST 393: Opal's House and Virginia Park

Bruce Wicks
The RST 393 group began their weekend by cutting trees and stacking the brush at Opal's House for Essie. It was a bit more that we had anticipated but we got it done quickly. After that we surveyed and flyered in the Alta Sita neighborhood around Virginia Park where we are working on getting folks in the area to adopt that park. Almost 20 surveys were completed which exceeded our expectations. Saturday started of with an excellent first meeting of those interested in the Virginia Park project. It wasn't a big meeting but it was attended by some area movers-and-shakers. We decided to have a second meeting 10/18 followed by a cook-out in Virginia Park to get more people involved. Saturday afternoon we went to CCP12 to work on their clean up. More tree cutting and I hope no poison ivy.

FAA 199: Opal's House and Precinct 12

Sang Lee
About twenty FAA 199 students volunteered at Opal's House on Friday, September 26. Opal's House is a shelter for survivors of domestic violence, and is gearing up to open its doors. The students helped Essie Calhoun, the director of Opal's House, clean and prepare the upstairs bedrooms for clients. They moved ten beds from the basement to the second floor, and started assembling the bunkbeds that will be used by women and children. On Saturday, September 27, the FAA 199 students worked with the City of East St. Louis Mayor's Office and Concerned Citizens of Precinct 12 on a clean-up in Precinct 12. Located in the Lansdowne neighborhood, students and community members cleared an overgrown alley, cleared Waverly Avenue of litter, and cleaned up vacant lots. They also enjoyed a delicious lunch catered by Concerned Citizens of Precinct 12. We capped the day off with a much deserved trip to Pirtle's Ice Cream.

41st Street: Pullman Porter Park

Randy Rice
September 26th and 27th were big days at the 41st Street Pullman Porter Park, as approximately 35 students from the Landscape Architecture department joined forces with community partners to work on maintaining and adding new features in the park. Friday, community partners excavated a bed for a new walking path, and hauled away excess soil to create a berm to prevent future flooding in the park. Meanwhile, University of Illinois faculty members and community leaders marked out beds and staged mulch and gravel for the following day. Saturday, students arrived to haul and spread crushed concrete gravel to create over 200 feet of new walking pathway. While some installed the new path, other students were given instruction on how to weed, edge and mulch planting beds. Following their instruction, they were able to put their new skills to the test by enlarging and establishing new planting beds to create space for additional plants in the park. A final group of students was able to clean out a neighbor's overgrown fence and haul the brush away to a central location for future removal.

Eagle's Nest

Julia Crowley
FAA 391 started their outreach weekend with a tour of Eagle’s Nest, a shelter for veterans that is currently in development. While at the site, we met with Martha Watts, the director of the organization, and she filled us in on the troubles they have had with previous contractors that have delayed the project’s completion. On Saturday, we returned to Eagle’s Nest where we met Ms. Suttle, a member of Martha’s board, and discussed potential landscape developments around the site. We then met Lily, the president of Dayton-Wedgewood, and George, another member of Martha’s board, and listened to their diverse concerns about political and economic corruption within the city. Afterwards, Lily provided us with delicious homemade chili and we prepared to pass out informational fliers about Eagle’s Nest around the neighborhood. While walking around, we met many friendly residents who voiced their concerns towards local issues. Lastly, we stopped at Pirtle’s Ice Cream on the way back to campus


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