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Outreach Weekend Report

September 11-12, 1998


Images of Weekend Projects

Volunteers Prepare Lots for Future Homes in Alta Sita

by Cathy Klump

On Friday and Saturday (September 11-12) a group of 5 energetic student volunteers and 2 ESLARP research assistants worked on clearing three overgrown lots at the future location of one rehab and two new homes in Alta Sita. Dr. Helen Hudlin, President of Alta Sita Inc, warmly welcomed the group and described the long-term relationship between Alta Sita and the East St. Louis Action Research Project. Dr. Hudlin also discussed the past, present, and future of Alta Sita and expressed her gratitude to all the volunteers for being an instrumental part of the neighborhood's revitalization.

This project request from Alta Sita Inc. is part of a larger effort to develop Virginia Place into a "pilot block", where beautification and revitalization efforts are concentrated in an effort to improve the entire area. On this particular block, Alta Sita Inc. is currently closing the deals on two newly constructed homes. By clearing three lots on the block we made the block more attractive - hopefully encouraging residents to stay and move into Alta Sita.

The 5 volunteers who worked in Alta Sita were all from Prof. Roland Liebert's Sociology 299 seminar course. These five volunteers worked diligently through the heat, broken equipment, and lots of weeds. Many thanks to them and we hope to see them again on future projects. They are: Tom Naratadam, Tanya Smith, Sara Baum, Sang S. Lee, and Jenna Minton

Research Assistants supervising the project were: Janni Sorensen and Cathy Klump

Metropolitan Community College Painting

by Raja Shankar

This was one of the best weekends I had. Our group had to paint the walls in the first and second floor lobbies and corridors of the MCC building for the conference. We actually accomplished what we set out to do quite satisfactorily.

We started on Friday afternoon, when we first painted the second floor lobby. On Saturday we painted the first floor lobbies and corridors, and also retouched the second floor painting we had done the day before.

The organization was perfect. We had all the necessary tools and materials to work with. This was in contrast to previous work weekend experiences.

We also had a great team to work with. Janna, Juan, Aby, Kelsa, Ken, Roland were all great and very enthusiastic. We really worked hard, and nobody complained. Kevin Hopkins and Curtis Williams from the MCC also joined us in the work. There was also a considerable amount of interaction with other MCC staff. They very much appreciated what we were doing, and it was very satisfying to have this appreciation.

Work Weekend Reflections

This was a very satisfying weekend and we had some great volunteers. We worked at the MCC site. On the way home we reflected on our experience in East St. Louis this weekend. We came up with the following points.


1. The weekend was productive.
2. There was a lot of good teamwork.
3. The people at the MCC were very appreciative.
4. The van tour was very informative. It gave a whole new perspective to the work weekend. It sort of formed the context in which we worked. It also provided a balanced view of the city. Especially heartening was some of the new developments which were taking place, which made us feel that we were working for a cause that will succeed.
5. People at the site had a very positive view of ESLARP.
6. It is important to be there as it challenges stereotypes about ESL. We learned that the community really wanted to see things changed, & do not want other people to be scared of ESL. They have a lot of concern for and pride in their community.
7. It was heartening to see the great amount of change that has taken place.
8. It was also inspiring to see the Dunham museum and to learn about Ms. Dunham's life.
9. Things went smoothly and the organization was good.


1. It would have been nice to work with more people from the community.
2. It would be good to have an introduction at each site from someone at the site.
3. Probably activities could be arranged according to majors. But we recognize that this could perhaps be difficult.
4. Get more community people involved in the weekends.
5. Vegetarian options and food at Eckert were not so great.

Future potential

1. We could perhaps develop a partnership with the MCC, so that we could work with their students. This could be a mutually beneficial relationship, with learning taking place on both sides.

My points

1. Really good to have tour as volunteers can identify context of work and be more satisfied. Also breaks stereotypes and gives them a truer image of the city.
2. Volunteers were great.
3. Had great discussion in the van, and was pleasantly surprised at the depth of understanding of volunteers.

Emerson Park Rental Rehabilitation

by Tom Shields

Mike Andrejasich lead his studio students in a truly hands-on design build project. Students reported learning more in that day than in most classes. In particular they referred to the integration of classroom learning - brining lessons in foundation and design together into one project. Although there was much more demolition that needed to occur than expected, these students were able to make significant progress toward four new units of housing.

Dunham Museum Site Preparation

by Edgar Flagg

The work at the Katherine Dunham site progressed rapidly. Staff and students from UIUC worked with Mr. Brooks and an East St. Louis resident to clear debris near the stage, take down trees near the fence and jackhammer a curb into oblivion.


Data Collection Testing

by Yong Wook Kim

For Friday, I collected neighborhood condition data by using our new method with Abhijeet and Deanna. We used our digital map, instead of sidwell map. We found that our new digital map is much easier to read so we may reduce the errors. I have not check the result yet, but I am sure that we may have better data, thanks to our new method. After collecting data, I went to Alta-Sita and I found out that the weed whacker was not working. However, the weed whacker was okay. There was no one who knows how to use it. I just started it and it worked.

For Saturday, our GIS team did data collection again because we could not finish the whole project site. After finishing the data collection around noon, I went to Alta-Sita to help volunteers. In there, volunteers was having a trouble because they couldn't use any tool. They thought all tools are out of order. However, they were not out of order. They just did not know how to use it. I started those tools, and volunteers could work more easily. Alta-Sita was very good in shape at the end of the day.

Document author(s) : Listed Above
Last modified: 07 October 1998, Deanna Koenigs