If anyone is looking for a volunteer opportunity, here’s your chance! This Saturday morning there is a vast need for volunteers to help run a 5K in honor of an IWU Alum who was the first American to sacrifice himself during the Operation Iraqi Freedom. We need to get 60 volunteers and YOU can help! All you would do is help direct the runners until the end. It’s from 7:20 am-9:30 am this Saturday. It will begin at the IWU track so please, if you have time, sign up! And spread the word to everyone who might be interested: they don’t necessarily have to be IWU students. Sign up ASAP if you’re interested!
Here’s the Link!
The goal of this project was to connect two communities in an effort to make them one. Building a relationship between Downtown Bloomington and Illinois Wesleyan University would benefit individuals living and working downtown, Illinois Wesleyan University students, and the community in general. To begin cultivating a relationship between Downtown Bloomington and Wesleyan, we created a scavenger hunt for Wesleyan students. By bringing students to Downtown Bloomington they will become more aware of what their Downtown has to offer!
Prairie State Legal Services Project:
Brittany Morrison worked with Prairie State Legal Services to conduct a presentation to community stakeholders on “Foreclosures in Today’s Legal and Economic Environment. Prairie State Legal Services is an organization who provides legal services to low-income residents. Brittany’s presentation focused on national, state, and local foreclosure rates as well as explaining the ins-and-outs of foreclosure law. Brittany also helped organize the Second Annual Socratic Challenge, a trivia fundraiser for Prairie State Legal Services held at the Den at Fox Creek in Bloomington.
Colleges and universities desire to help mold well-rounded students who are academically motivated and are active participants in the world around them. Although the time spent in the classroom is crucial to a student’s development, the participation in extracurricular activities is just as imperative. It has been found in countless studies that participating in extracurricular activities of any kind positively affects student learning and development. Focus studies and surveys were given to IWU students in order to assess student involvement.
Heartland Head Start Projects:
I interned this spring with Heartland Head Start and although I primarily worked with one bilingual preschool class, I also partnered with one of the Family Resource Advisors (FRAs – essentially social case workers) in meeting families’ needs. Therefore, the mixture of social service agency, educative facility, and one-on-one interactions with children and families was just what I was looking for to combine the interests reflective of my majors!
A Note from Hayley:
My interest in Heartland Head Start stemmed from my majors in sociology and Hispanic Studies. I was looking for an opportunity to use the Spanish language in a social service atmosphere. I discovered that Heartland Head Start was a wonderful fit for me! My interest in bilingual preschool education has greatly increases, and I hope to work with related agencies in some capacity in the future. I want to thank Dr. Sikora for both overseeing and challenging me to accept the responsibility of this internship and to leave something with the organization. Thank you so much again!
State Farm Projects:
At State Farm, I worked in Public Affairs on the Green Team Initiative. I worked on a large variety of projects, but the majority were focused on internal and external communication of the Green Initiative. Basically, State Farm is pretty green and has been working on it for a while, but nobody knows about it, so I was trying to fix that problem. I gave many presentations to a variety of groups (ranging from interns to senior employees) about State Farm’s Green Initiatives.
Red Cross of the Heartland Community Projects:
My non-profit assignment was with the American Red Cross of the Heartland in Bloomington. I created a Community Disaster Education for Renters program. I started with a student survey and lots of research to find out what information people are missing when it comes to renting property. I ended up creating brochures, curriculum, gave presentations, and began the plans for a Renters Awareness Week that would (hopefully) occur in October 2008.
State Farm Projects:
I worked in the Property and Casualty Actuarial at State Farm. In the Actuarial department I worked on a countrywide pricing project, where I updated and analyzed data on off-road vehicles that is used to determine whether the department should propose a rate change for 2009. I also worked with the competition unit to assemble an electronic library of homeowners’ coverage for the top five insurance companies in Wisconsin, Washington, and Florida. Furthermore, I assisted my supervisor with smaller administrative tasks, such as preparing a spreadsheet with rate change proposals for our Vice President and identifying trends in the department budget for further consideration.
I worked at the East Central Illinois Area Agency on Aging (ECIAAA) for my community project. At ECIAAA, I worked with my supervisor and the Illinois Pioneer Coalition to research cultural changes in nursing homes. In addition to this research, I was responsible for expanding our network by updating and adding to a database of contact information with other individuals and organizations that are involved with this campaign. I also worked with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistant (VITA) program to assist seniors who were eligible for the 2007 Federal Economic Stimulus Payment, but had not yet filed a tax return. For another project, I created an information brochure about fraud and phishing scams that target senior citizens. Finally, I worked with my supervisor at the Action Research Center to design another internship position at ECIAAA that would be open to IWU students during the 2008-2009 school year.
A Note From Allison:
I think that this is a great program! It is well structured and unique and gives you the opportunity to work in both the non-profit and for-profit worlds simultaneously. This exposes you to two work environments with great people, projects, and opportunities. Having participated in this program, I feel as if though I have gained a new set of skills. I’ve had the opportunity to develop personally and professionally, and I have enhanced my technical and computer skills. My advice to future applicants and program participants is this: Make the best of it. Maintain a positive attitude and talk to as many people as you can. There is something new to learn from everyone. Most importantly, work hard, have fun, meet new people, and make new friends.
State Farm Projects:
I worked in Property and Casualty Claims at State Farm. At State Farm, I worked on daily tasks in my department, including editing memos, reviewing claims procedures, and working on the Military Affinity group newsletter. I also organized an event for my department called Showcase Your Talents as part of State Farm’s diversity and inclusion efforts. I also sat in on editorial meetings and job shadowed in the Corporate Law department.
Autism Society of McLean County Projects:
In the community, I worked with E=MC2, a program of the Autism Society of McLean County that focused specifically on employing adults with autism in the community. At E=MC2, my goal was to initiate a public awareness campaign to educate about the employment potential of adults with autism. This involved crafting media for the general public, including interviewing parents of children with autism to write feature stories on individuals with autism in the workforce. I also drafted a proposal for E=MC2 to present at a conference hosted by the McLean County Chamber of Commerce.
I designed a survey to distribute to 4-H members past and present between the ages 12-14. Research by 4-H shows that if children remain club members through the age of 12-14, there is a sginificant chance they will remain involved throughout life. However, more youth than ever are dropping out in this age range and the organization wanted to understand why and how they can fix it. I also helped do various tasks such as writing sponsorship letters, creating potential sponsor lists, writing grant letters, and doing various tasks to prepare for the McLean County Fair.
In recent years, colleges and universities across the country have recognized the value of community service in the academic curriculum. Illinois Wesleyan University is an institution solidly grounded in the liberal arts. However, until recently, the benefits of participatory action research and academically-based service learning have been ignored. Community involvement has been classified as an extracurricular activity rather than as an academic necessity. Professor Jim Sikora and Professor Jim Simeone started the Action Research Center, offering their first seminar in the fall of 2003 Together with Assistant Dean Clark, Graduate Assistant in the Office of Student Activities Danielle Kuglin, and Professor Sikora, Hannah Giunta and Jeff Scott formed a partnership to investigate the possibility of creating a volunteer center at Illinois Wesleyan. To this day, the Action Research Center continues to develop and provide the impetus for further inquiry into community service on campus. It is now headed by Deborah Halperin!
Julie Krause worked with the Development Office to compile interviews from various students and alumni for the “Student Profile Program.” She later interned with the Great Plains LIFE Foundation, a non-profit organization that is committed to charitable causes, community-service projects, and most importantly, education. One of the main projects she had was to help organize the Worker’s Memorial Tag Day. Its purpose is to make the public aware of the dangers that exist as we enter highway construction work areas.Many children have lost parents due to this and have therefore been left without a parent to provide the means to receive an education. This event’s proceeds would be dedicated to the Midwest Scholarship program to ensure that each child who has lost a parent is provided with the financial means to complete his or her educational goals.
Over the summer of 2007, as UNITY Center was preparing for future expansion, summer camps, fall programs, marketing and funding, Emily was able to complete a number of tasks and projects. She assisted the Program Director with writing and researching grants for UNITY programs and general operations, completed expense reports for an accounting system, and performed other administrative tasks.
Robert Guise, Erin Lohrstofer, and Tyler Miller (’06 / ’08) -as interns and Weir Fellows Program students- monitored and tested the quality of water found in Kickapoo Creek. A side project of their monitoring was to determine whether or not salting from roadways, specifically Route 51, caused a negative impact on Kickapoo Creek and, in turn, its inhabitants. Additionally, they wanted to see if the quality of Kickapoo’s water differed after it passed through locations such as a horse and cow farm, a gravel company, and the town of Downs.
Kyle Charles, Pat Kleszynski, Amy Rohalla, Mary Roth, and Carmen Simkins -the Facilitators of this project- wanted to address the relationship issues between sororities on the IWU campus and procure a way in which to resolve said issues. There was much tension between individual sorority houses and their members, and IWU faculty and staff. Their goal was to work with the governing body of all the recognized sororities on campus-the Panhellenic Council-to plan an event that would bolster public relations (PR) between sororities, faculty, and staff, as well as give sorority members an opportunity to interact in a fun and relaxed environment. Members from different sororities would be paired up, thereby finding themselves having to work together to plan and lead academic and athletic activities for the faculty and staff’s children during the event. The facilitators produced a background information packet as well as a “How-To” packet in the hopes that it will help future organizers.
Kyle Duffie worked with the Spence Farm Foundation whose mission is to historically preserve the oldest farm in Livingston County as well as to provide education and awareness of environmentally sound farming practices. Kyle helped write a grant to the Illinois Humanities Council for a video project that provides education on the heritage, history, trades, alternative farming, and natural areas that are unique to Central Illinois. This project was in collaboration with the Old House Society that preserves 50+ year-old neighborhoods, buildings, and landscapes in the local community. This project was geared towards youth in multiple school districts in the area.