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Campus Award for Excellence in Public Service

"In its third year, the awards program was developed to recognize those who fulfill the university’s commitment to using their scholarly, creative or professional knowledge to improve the well-being of Illinois citizens. Recipients were honored at a banquet Sept. 23. The program is an extension of the Partnership Illinois initiative and the Senate Committee on Continuing Education and Public Service." Inside Illinois story Vol. 22, No. 7, Oct. 3, 2002

Michael J. Andrejasich a Professor from the School of Architecture and member of the ESLARP Executive Committee as well as Jassen Johnson, ESLARP Outreach Weekend Research Assistant were two of the recipients this year.

Professor Andrejasich has engaged the community throughout his academic career at Illinois. In the local community he served as the principal designer or architect of the St. Jude Catholic Worker House, the Center for Women in Transition Forbes House, and the Champaign Housing Authority scattered sites project. In addition, he mentors middle and high school students interested in careers in design, integrated arts, and building technology. Andrejasich was a co-founder of the East St. Louis Action Research Project (ESLARP) in 1988. He has served as its director and integrates the work in East St. Louis into his research and teaching. Even while serving as interim director of the School of Architecture, he travels as frequently as every other weekend to East St. Louis to take part in work weekends where students, faculty, and staff work alongside local residents. Andrejasich incorporates ideas from the community into his architecture studios and is a champion of "reciprocal learning," where local residents receive technical assistance and faculty and students learn about the local history and the community's vision for the future.

For the past two years, Jassen Johnson has recruited, organized, and mentored hundreds of students participating in service learning opportunities through the East St. Louis Action Research Project (ESLARP). As the Outreach Weekend coordinator, Jassen designed outreach weekends that provided assistance for community groups and community-based experiences for the students. He has a great gift for connecting student learning in the classroom to the work being done alongside community residents. Jassen has organized 13 weekends, involving almost 1,000 students from six different departments. To assist with recruitment and coordination, he helped design a Web-based outreach weekend site for student volunteers and project coordination. He is successful in part because he often attended the neighborhood meetings of groups like the Landsowne Steering Committee and has gained their trust to develop appropriate weekend itineraries. Jassen honed his skills as an active undergraduate volunteer with Volunteer Illinii Projects, which named him Outstanding Student Volunteer in 2001.

The Campus Award for Excellence in Public Engagement recognizes faculty members, academic professionals, staff, and students who, in exemplary ways, have engaged society around critical issues in a manner that contributes to the public good. Those recognized with the campus award have used their knowledge and skills to address the technological, social, and economic challenges in Illinois. Each of our award winners has responded to a critical issue in society in ways that created interaction between the University and its communities of scholars and the communities of citizens.

Professor Andrejasich and Jassen Johnson were presented the Campus Award for Excellence in Public Service on Monday, September 23, 2002. The reception began at 4:30 p.m., with a welcome from Steven Schomberg, Associate Chancellor and Award Presentations by Nancy Cantor, Chancellor. The reception was located in the Atrium of Temple Hoyne Buell Hall.


Photos by Vicki Eddings - Adminstrative Coordinator, East St. Louis Action Research Project
Last modified: 04 October 2002, Deanna Koenigs