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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

Janni Sorensen, ESLARP Research Assistant and Urban Planning PhD student was one of the recipients this year.

In the five years that she has been a student on this campus, Janni Sorensen has come to epitomize all that is good about campus engagement with the world outside. Ms. Sorensen has actively encouraged other students to work with community leaders in an effort to provide real world experiences through the East St. Louis Action Research Project (ESLARP). "The ESLARP model" provides residents with the opportunity to work side by side with planners and designers in determining the best courses of action for improving their physical surroundings. She was involved throughout the planning process on developing neighborhood plans for the Emerson Park, Alta Sita, Lansdowne, and South End neighborhoods. Among her many duties, she has played an important role in providing technical assistance to community-based organizations; organized, supervised and participated in almost every outreach weekend, close to 35 such trips (two day trips to East St. Louis where students and volunteers work on community projects); facilitated both organizational retreats, as well as a retreat in which ESLARP and local community groups engaged in a dialogue about enhancing effectiveness; and served as an instructor for the Community Development Workshop. According to one colleague, "Ms. Sorensen's strength has always been as a facilitator; she listens carefully to residents and helps translate their experiential information into practical neighborhood planning documents. She establishes trust with residents in a community that is still weary of government and institutions of higher learning."

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.

Janni Sorensen was presented the Campus Award for Excellence in Public Service on Tuesday, September 30, 2003. 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 the Beckman Institute.


Last modified: 04 October 2003, Deanna Koenigs