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 9-10, 2011

Weekend Summary
Action Research.Illinois (AR.I) kicked off its Fall 2011 Outreach Weekends on two different sides of Illinois! Friday September 9th and 10th marked the first time that AR.I worked both in the Champaign and East St. Louis Communities.

Champaign kicked off its inaugural Outreach Weekend working at Prosperity Garden on North First St. in Champaign. 20 Students and staff worked hard cleaning up the flourishing vegetable and rain gardens, studied Bone Yard redevelopment and built scarecrows to scare away the rodents! The students enjoyed the company of Valerie McWilliams and Nicole Bridges, who work closely with the Garden. The students reflected on their experience with Site Supervisors Sang Lee and Theresa Scott at lunch at the Fiesta Café on Saturday. The team had a very productive weekend and dodged the rain for the most part!!!

Meanwhile, 80 UIUC Students, Faculty and Staff began their journey to East St. Louis to work with several of our longtime community partners during an engaging service learning weekend!

Upon arrival to The Eagle’s Nest of St. Clair County, the students departed on a tour of city, led by lifetime ESL resident Billie Turner. The students explored from the riverfront all the way back to east to Eagle’s Nest and got to witness the physical/environmental context and hear the social context of the city. Arriving back at Eagle’s Nest, the students were introduced to Martha Watts, the center’s Executive Director. She gave the students a comprehensive understanding about the history of Eagles Nest, ESLARP’s involvement, and the drive and determination it takes to run a successful not-for-profit organization. The students were treated to Chef JR’s specialty: the Friday Fish Fry. During lunch, Amy Funk, Project Specialist for the Metro East Citizen’s Air Quality Project gave the students an overview of the pressing environmental state that St. Clair County is in. She discussed the importance of citizen engagement and education programs paired with long-term research and the program’s goals to enact citizen scientists and promote public health in this asthma–plagued community. Minds and bellies full, the students loaded up and headed to their respective project sites!

There were students dodging poison ivy and beautifying landscaping at Opal’s House, painting at Pirtle’s Variety, re-constructing a fence and finishing up a wheelchair ramp at Audrey Sanders’ house, installing a Community Technology Center at the Jackie Joyner Kersee Center, prepping for painting, landscaping and cleaning at Eagle’s Nest and others met with residents and explored the context of East St. Louis for a Design Studio. Students dug in and work progressed as dinnertime approached.

At the end of the day, the students gathered for a dinner/reflection session at the HomeTown Buffet in Fairview Heights. Students shared their day’s accomplishments with the rest of the teams. That evening, some attended the Jazz Show at the Village Theater, other’s settled into their hotel rooms and some enjoyed company in the bar/restaurant.

Wake up calls rang early at 7:45am! Students grabbed a bite and at 8:45am sharp, all students loaded up their vehicles to headed to their project sites! The rain held off and everyone progressed nicely as lunch approached. A team lunch was had on two sites: Eagle’s Nest and the Jackie Joyner Kersee Center. Students filled up on delicious assorted Italian dishes, fruit, cookies and crackers! The sun peaked her face in time for afternoon work to continue. Some teams wrapped up early and others worked right through 5pm! At the end of the day, everyone was treated to Pirtle’s Ice Cream before heading back to east central Illinois. Another great group, another beautiful weekend!


Action Research Illinois University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Fine and Applied Arts
326 Noble Hall, MC-549 1209 South Fourth Street Champaign, Illinois 61820 (217) 265-0202 Fax: (217) 244-9320