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 - February 25-26, 2011

Weekend Summary
Despite the Winter Weather Advisories and snow-covered landscape, UIUC students, faculty and staff arrived with energy and enthusiasm on Friday February 25th. The team departed Temple Hoyne Buell Hall and cautiously drove the 180 miles to East St. Louis, IL. About 80 University Faculty/Staff and Students began their journey toward a weekend of community engagement and service learning! Attendees include FAA 291, RST 218, LIS 451 & MBA students and members of Freedom by Design.

Upon arrival to The Eagle’s Nest of St. Clair County, the students were introduced to Billie Turner, ESLARP’s Community Liaison and lifelong ESL resident. She led the students on a comprehensive tour of East St. Louis, which included stops downtown, the Emerson Park Metrolink/Parson’s Place, ESL High School, & Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park’s River Overlook. The group returned to The Eagle’s Nest for the much awaited Friday Fish Fry, organized and executed by Martha Watts, Director, and Chef JR.

After a delicious fish-fry and comprehensive tour of the Eagle’s Nest, the student loaded into their vehicles and headed to their afternoon sites. Janet’s team headed to team-up with Washington University Graduate Students Jessica Freidberger and Ryan Santens to help clear the site of a future community garden at the East Side Health District. Chip took his students to start working on the finishing touches of the privacy fence at Opal’s House. Jenny introduced her students to Willie Beard and the team began work on a new sign for the 41st St/Pullman Porter Park. Brie and her students got a tour of the Village Theatre and learned all about the history of the Theatre. A team of vibrant Master of Business Administration students also met with Christina Fisher to discuss their business plan and strategy. Yushu and her group painted the floors of the Jones Park Community Center. Bruce Wicks and his students toured the community parks and met with the East St. Louis Park District to discuss strategies for fundraising and tactics for implementation. All teams were busy busy busy accomplishing the weekend’s goals! The teams wrapped up work by 4:30pm and headed to the Sheraton Four Points Hotel in Fairview Heights, IL, which would be our home for the evening.

ESLARPers enjoyed the spread at the local HomeTown Buffet after a day of cold, hard work! Jenna led a reflection discussion where students from each project shared their experiences and accomplishments with the rest of the team. After everyone’s bellies were filled, we departed for the monthly Community Concepts Talent Show at the Village Theatre. The students enjoyed a showcase of talent from inspirational skits to country music to R&B. The Theatre was the most packed I’ve seen it in a long time! There were members of the community there to support the young talent. We cheered, clapped and enjoyed the atmosphere. Thank you Christina Fisher for a wonderful evening!!

7:30am wakeup calls came all too early! Student trickled down to fuel up on the yummy breakfast buffet provided by the Sheraton. All buses were loaded up and on their way to their respective jobs sites by 8:45am! Work continued at Opal’s House, Jones Park Community Center, 41st Street Park and Village Theatre. A new cleanout project was underway at the Jones Park Greenhouse (those who worked at the East Side Health District the previous day). This project was a team effort between the Green Partnership and UIUC. Members of Freedom by Design, along with Professors John Stallmeyer and Lynne Dearborn met up with Chip Dana and Mike Andrejasich at Audrey Sanders’ home to assess the conditions of a steep wheelchair ramp. The ramp is slated to be demolished/salvaged and rebuilt according to ADA code this semester by AIAS’ Freedom by Design team! The MBA students spent their morning with Essie Calhoun at Opal’s House and afternoon with Martha Watts at the Eagle’s Nest. The team will determine needs for each partner and we will begin building a larger team to work with these partners on sustainable business plans!! Lunch was held at the Jones Park Community Center, where LIS 451 students met up with our weekend effort! Post-lunch, everyone left determined to finish their projects by 4pm!!

As evening approached, the teams wrapped up work and headed to Pirtle’s Variety for delicious ice cream treat to end their visit to East St. Louis. Tired students and wide-eyed drivers then headed back toward the land of the Illini! Despite the cold, dreary weather, the weekend was a success and the students left finding a new purpose and motivation to help others. All in all, what a great weekend and a great group of students! -JG

Action Research Illinois University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Fine and Applied Arts
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