October 22, 2014

Idea Library


Idea Library

Welcome to the Idea Library! Below you will find a multitude of ideas that need YOU to make them a reality. If you see something you would like to do, make it good, make it better, make it its best, and then make it happen! The greatest things in life start with just an idea…

If you’re stuck and need some help getting a project started, head over to the ARC Tank and speak with Deborah Halperin, (CLA 116), Bevin Cowie (CLA 118), or Carrie Mack (CLA 114).

Porch 2.5


Study absentee landlords

Host a Tool Library Workshop

Build a porch or paint a house

Develop a market strategy to attract new home buyers to the Westside. Who is going to buy a home on the Westside?


Economic Development

Launch a micro-finance program where small loans are made and paid back over time to replenish the account and make more loans.

Open a used bookstore on campus where students can buy donated books.

Build large planters to be used as Adopt-A-Pots in downtown and on the Westside. They will be built with plexi-glass sides so that advertising can be sold on one side.

Create a mobile wishing fountain. The fountain would actually move around town and people would make a wish and throw the change into the fountain. The fountain would feature a different non-profit organization each month and would receive the donation of the change.

Produce and sell a non-toxic laundry detergent to college students. Profits are used to give away free detergent to families in need since detergent cannot be purchased with a LINK card

Social Media Support for Westside small businesses

Research: What kind of stores can succeed in low income areas?-

Implement a job board

Research: TIF v BDD with the city

Offer “Project Prom” where formal dresses are donated and then sold to high school students for prom through a pop-up boutique

Host clothing exchange parties where professional women and men bring in 5-10 gently-used items of clothing upon entry and may take as many (or less) when they leave. Anything leftover is used to start a clothing closet for people entering the workforce.

july2009 049


Youth and Arts programming

Students create a wall of “problems to solve” and a wall of “wonder” that showcases cool ideas and inventions. “Genius hour” gives students time to get inspired by the two walls and come up with innovations.

Research: What does a 12-year-old want to do in the summer?

To promote a more kid-friendly neighborhood, Play On! would focus on making west-side parks more recreational. Sheds would be built at the parks and would have materials available for kids to rent such as sports equipment, games, and toys. Neighborhood volunteers would help manage the shed during peak hours (i.e. after school, weekends). For their part, IWU students and the athletic department could run a toy and equipment drive to collect materials to stock the sheds. Items would include things like Frisbees, jump ropes, checkers, sleds (winter), baseballs, scooters, chalk, kites, and other things.

This summer program would promote youth safety and education. The youth would be educated on health and nutrition using a variety of fun, engaging activities. If the kids were to form sports teams, local businesses could potentially sponsor them. It would also benefit the youth to have an equipment drive. The ideal place for this program would be on the west-side near the bike trail, with possible transportation assistance needed for the kids.

Youth at risk or youth who are in need of productive, community activities would take part of this potential program. Essentially, it would be a bike program that would have kids building bikes from scratch. These bikes would be bikes that are donated. Helped and supervised by local police volunteers, community members, bike mechanics, and Tool Library staff, the kids would learn how to build and fix bikes that they can then keep. A vacant building or perhaps the bike store on Market Street would be a good, possible location to host the builds.

AFB at milestones 3


Research: Can a school or community-based computer lab mak a dent in the digital divide?

Create an intergenerational radio talk show aimed at grandparents raising grandchildren

Resume Ready program where IWU helps job seekers in the community with resume development and printing on high-quality paper. Job seekers can also use computers to search for jobs and practice interview skills. Job seekers pay only for the printing.

AFB garden harvest

Greening and Food Justice

Research: The feasibility of Pop Up Produce Stands

Veggie Bike

Beautification Awards

Prairie project where students start mini native plant gardens on street corner then collect the seeds and plant additional street corners in the following year

A community partnership would be created with local bakeries and grocery stores to receive food donations. This food would then be distributed from a central location with option for delivery

GYSD red cross safety info

Safety, Health & Wellness

Create a Library of Things

Cop on the Block -can it work?

The focus of Cool Kids Cook! would be to teach kids the fundamentals of basic, healthy cooking. A commercial grade kitchen similar to the Milestones Early Learning Center’s would be needed for the mini-classes to take place. Nutrition students and other volunteers would educate the children on health and nutrition while cooking with produce from the Peace and community gardens. Perhaps even the excess from the Farmers Market. The Nutrition students would also develop simple, healthy recipes that the kids can take home.

Tooth Totes for Tots would essentially distribute bags with toothpaste, toothbrushes, and floss to elementary schools on the west-side. These totes would also include pamphlets that stress the importance of dental care

This program would educate families, schools, and the community on basic wellness. It would focus on personal hygiene, nutrition, and education as well as promote parent-teacher interaction, sickness prevention, and the importance of school attendance. Programming would be in and out of school to better reach the youth and community at large. A donation program that gives out toothpaste, toothbrushes, etc., would also help to effectively stress basic wellness and hygiene

The Westside Wellness Fair would offer free flu vaccines and Wellness goodie bags to the community. Information about Health Services on the Westside would be available to inform community members about the importance of disease prevention and hygiene. A child-friendly info session would also help to educate the youth on health and wellness. IWU Nursing and Pre- Med students as well as faculty members would staff the event and be able to answer any questions community members may have. They would also take the opportunity to survey the community for future wellness services or services that are needed more frequently. The Book Bike and Pop-Up Produce stand would also be available to show what they have to offer

Roadside Assistance/Safety for Women

Through the Tool Library you could learn to change a tire, check coolant levels, check tire pressure, pop the hood, change/check oil, roadside safety (whom to call, how to protect yourself, amenities to keep in your car), jumpstart a car, what the lights on the dash mean, etc.

Other: Goodie bag with tire pressure gauge, info pamphlet, flashlight (hand crank powered), fold up safety blanket, potentially motor oil and funnel.

WIBO 2011 2


Determine use of free bus passes

Launch a bike share program in town, similar to the IWU bike share program



Collect historical photographs and information for the Westside history project

WBRP Newsletter or Annual Appeal

Update the Teska plan



Host IWU’s Harvest Festival and Alternative Fall Break on the Westside


Neighborhood Identity

Create an inventory of all public artwork (like murals and statues) in Downtown Bloomington

Create bike racks/benches/planters that reflect the cultural history of the neighborhood

Design a Westside  calendar

Marketing the West Side Story would essentially promote all the work that is done in West Bloomington as well as the local businesses. There would need to be a monthly newsletter that could be potentially supported by local business ads. These newsletters could be delivered by neighborhood kids with supervision. The kids would receive incentives for delivering the papers. To further promote the West Side Story, there could be bus advertisements as well as radio advertisements. Many businesses also have many social network fans that could help get the story out. For example, the Market Street Bakery has 1,330 fans while the WBRP has 742 fans.

This would be a west-side event in which community members will receive a free meal (using community donations), and will have the opportunity to get information on legal and local services. This event would be best if it takes place after the last Farmers Market so that any produce left over does not go to waste. Community members, officials, business owners, and children alike would sit down to a meal and would help people see officials in a better light. There would also be fun activities for the kids. The best location for an event like this would be a place like the Coliseum since it has a commercial grade kitchen.

The goal would be to make the west-side more approachable and to get the Blo-No community more involved with this family-friendly event. At the end of the 5K, the community would gather at the “Finish,” where Westside speakers will be holding signs and telling their stories. Then, volunteers and local vendors and sponsors would have more activities to engage the community. The vendors and sponsors would also have the opportunity to display information on how they actively participate in the community.



Public Art

Poetry on the streets

Ghost writing

Art walk from downtown to the Westside

Work with quilters (a club at a church or a senior center) to create keepsake quilts or pillows for college students graduating with many t-shirts

Re-purpose old phone booths as public art galleries featuring local artists

Use Tool Library tools to build playing card holders out of woods leftover from Habitat builds. Donate some to the families or senior centers. Host a big card game tournament every years to raise money for the next year of donation

This program would target multiple age groups and their interests. Themed nights such as Zumba, bingo, movies, etc. would engage the different community members and would also provide a meal/snack to the participants. It would be run by volunteers who need/want service hours such as the Greek houses, athletes, classes, etc. This program would ideally need the use of the vacant space at Wilson Cycle.

This Vintage Community Thrift Store would employ members of the community who would then be in charge of the donations made. Students and community members would be able to host workshops in which they teach various kinds of arts. For example, IWU art majors could hold workshops on art making, the IWU knitting club will teach knitting/crotchet, etc. Small fees charged for these workshops would then be used to fund the Community Fitness Center which will promote nutrition, kinesiology, volunteer opportunities, sports, and the Peace Garden among other things. This would give Nursing/Pre-med majors the opportunity to take part in the community.

western avenue community center

Food Pantry Delivery

Seniors sometimes face mobility challenges and these can heighten during the winter with bad weather and hazardous driving conditions. For regular users of the Western Avenue food pantry, seniors can sign up to have their one bag of food delivered to them during the winter months of Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb, and March. Volunteers will make the deliveries. We will also use this opportunity to promote the Peace Meal program.

Good, Better, Best it. Make it happen!


Track Your Life

We would host a shoe and clothing drive with girls from the club to equip them in running a 5k. We would also train them while club girls help with the drive. We would try and partner with IWU female athletes.

Good, Better, Best it. Make it happen!

habitat for humanity

Habitat for Humanity

In honor of Habitat for Humanity’s 100th house, they could build 100 bird houses with tools from the tool library and encourage kids to sell them to raise money for Habitat. This could be a cool special event.

Good, Better, Best it. Make it happen!


Downtown Bloomington Association

Downtown Quad Invasion

Description: A festival to bring downtown businesses to the Quad. Free food, music and entertainment.

Good, Better, Best it. Make it happen!


Titan to Tikes Mentorship Program

Health mentorship program for students in the YWCA daycare with IWU students.

It would include a series of educations including oral hygiene, proper medicine usage and signs of illness and safe touch. Donation would be accepted with related objects (i.e. toothbrushes). One minute instructional videos on health geared towards Hispanic students (like Dora) helping to educate while still in cooperating learning English ad Spanish.

If there is an interest, there could be a survey to see what programming is desired and expand to helping mother’s understand healthcare services, educating YWCA staff on Latino culture and helping with bilingual/general financial planning for mental health.

Good, better, best it. Make it happen!

conexiones latinas

Conexiones Latinos de Mclean County

Open a Latin World Cultural Center: Café and Bookstore on the Westside. It would be a good economic development opportunity for the Westside. This is also a part of town that has a concentration of Latinos.

Good, better, best it. Make it happen!

west bloomington revitalization project

West Bloomington Housing Collaborative

Making Music the Magnet (for community activists). Partner with IWU RSOs/groups to bring live music to the community and West Bloomington residents.

Good, better, best it. Make it happen!

The Miracle League

The Miracle League

The IWU Baseball and Softball teams would pair with The Miracle League as buddies for their players. The IWU athletes would be buddies for the fall season with the All-Star game being held at the IWU baseball field. The players would wear IWU jerseys, and the game would be a fund raiser for the Miracle League held on the Sunday of the coming weekend. The Funds would go to the new field for the Miracle League. Alum could sponsor a Miracle League player as well.

Good, better, best it. Make it happen!