While they may be new to campus, some Redbirds are already making a strong impact on their new community.
On August 17, more than 150 students volunteered time as part of the 2018 Welcome Week Service Project, sponsored by the Illinois State Chapter of Habitat for Humanity, the Back to School Alliance, and the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning.
As one portion of the Welcome Week Service Project, students gathered on the ISU Quad to build walls for the Collegiate House through Habitat for Humanity. The walls constructed by the Redbirds will become part of the 25th home in McLean County to be built by student volunteers from the Illinois State University and Illinois Wesleyan University Collegiate Chapters of Habitat for Humanity.
Students also stuffed backpacks with school supplies for the Back to School Alliance, a volunteer-based organization in Bloomington-Normal. Rena Shifflet, associate professor in the School of Teaching and Learning, brings students to the Welcome Week Service Project each year to help stuff backpacks. According to Shifflet, “The Back to School Alliance is a group that prepares backpacks filled with school supplies, so all students in the local school districts, Unit 5 and District 87, can start off the year with everything that they need. Who better to help with that goal than freshmen elementary education majors?! Giving back just helps to make a great day even better!”
Jade Surface, ISU senior and co-president of the ISU chapter of Habitat for Humanity, also agrees in the importance of serving within the larger Bloomington-Normal community. According to Surface, it’s important for students to join organizations such as Habitat in order to “interact with the community as a whole and make an impact on that, rather than just at ISU. It’s a good way for students to outreach to other parts of the town, get to know the area, and help someone who needs a house.”
Looking for your own way to make an impact? The Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning hosts projects and events throughout the year. Additional civic engagement opportunities in the community are also posted online.