January 2019 Spotlight – Illinois Campus Compact 2018 Recap

January 15, 2019

As we start the New Year we want to look back at all the success and work done in 2018. Illinois Campus Compact, along with our partners and members, took on new events, launched several new programs, and continued important civic engagement work.

At the beginning of 2018, on March 5th, ILCC held the Campus Meets Community Event in collaboration with the University of Illinois at Chicago, America’s Urban Campus, the ABCD Institute, and the University of Chicago’s Office of Civic Engagement. This event gave community based organizations (CBOs) a place to converse about their experiences with higher education institutions. The event also brought CBOs and higher education staff together to participate in several breakout workshops where they learned about research, asset mapping, how to work with students, and more. After the event ILCC put together a report to gather all the information shared into one place. This resource will be the starting off point as we plan the next Campus Meets Community event on March 4th, 2019.

Later in March, ILCC published our first Membership Spotlight. This monthly article was developed to showcase Campus Compact member institutions and what their campus is doing in terms of civic engagement. So far, ILCC has spotlighted 10 universities and colleges through this new initiative.

Throughout the year, ILCC along with other Campus Compact’s, held many webinars on a plethora of topics. ILCC’s first 2018 webinars started with Creating Respectful Partnerships with Native and Indigenous Populations. This series focused on how higher education institutions could create mutually beneficial, educating, and respectful partnerships with native and indigenous populations. Later in the year, ILCC held webinars on campus voter engagement, sustainable rural communities, and was a part of National Campus Compact’s Webinar Series. ILCC contributed to this series with a webinar on spirituality and civic engagement. All ILCC webinars can be found here.

At the end of March, Illinois Campus Compact traveled to Indianapolis, Indiana for the Campus Compact National Conference. Here, higher education professionals and community organizations gathered together to share research, programming, and new initiatives. Presentations focused on the future of our democracy, new public service initiatives, and the role higher education plays in creating civic minded individuals.

Last summer we also announced Illinois Campus Compact’s newest AmeriCorps Program. ILCC Service Corps is an AmeriCorps State program that allows Illinois college students to earn an education award for completing service hours. Students can complete these hours at their schools, or at local nonprofits. We are still accepting applications for this program here.

It was a summer of firsts for ILCC, as we also kicked off the Tyson Foods Summer Community Internship Program. This program, sponsored by Tyson Foods, funds 40 internships at community nonprofits in Illinois and Iowa. Last year the 20 Chicago area nonprofits we chose, selected college students to work with them full time for eight weeks. Throughout the eight weeks, student interns shared what they were learning and what they were doing by posting on social media.

Several interns were located at farms where they learned about edible weeds, how to grow sustainable gardens, and how to share this information with others. Many other interns worked with immigrant communities, offering education, job readiness, and even transportation. Other intern’s day to day looked very different. Some worked on developing new databases so that nonprofits could work more efficiently. The summer interns also participated in training events throughout the summer. These events focused on subjects such as cultural humility and corporate social responsibility.

The 2018 summer community internship program was such a success that Tyson Foods and Campus Compact are teaming up to offer the program again. So far, ILCC has chosen the 20 Chicago Area nonprofits that will be the 2019 sites, and are currently accepting applications for student interns.

The Tyson Foods internship program was not the only new summer program for ILCC. In 2018, ILCC had our first cohort of summer AmeriCorps VISTAs at Illinois Institute of Technology. The Global Leaders Program creates access and opportunity for Chicago-area high school students in STEM fields by offering four weeks of collaborative, project-based programming each summer, the implementation of a Community Innovation Project of their own design during their junior year, step-by-step college advising and guidance during their senior year and workshops, field trips, and career development opportunities. The five summer VISTAs worked directly with students by holding workshops and leading students through lessons.

Once fall came around, many of ILCC’s efforts focused on voter engagement and voter education. At the beginning of September, ILCC held a voter engagement networking event where higher education professionals could learn about the resources from local voter engagement organizations, and share tactics on how to increase voter engagement. BallotReady, State Matters, and Campus Election Engagement Project (CEEP), were all in attendance and shared the tools they developed specifically for young people and college students. On top of this event, ILCC teamed up with CEEP to offer mini grants to support schools in voter engagement. You can learn how North Central College used their mini grant to encourage student voters in the October Membership Spotlight.

In fall, ILCC welcomed a new cohort of AmeriCorps VISTAs. These VISTAs are located at the following universities and colleges North Park University, Millikin, Governors State University, North Central College, University of Illinois Springfield, Northwestern, McHenry County College, Northeastern Illinois University, Parkland College, National Louis University, Adler, Western Illinois University- Quad Cities, Loyola, Rockford University, Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Knox College, and Illinois Institute of Technology. At these institutions VISTAs will work in civic engagement offices, youth programming, volunteer recruitment, and much more.

At the end of October, Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri Campus Compacts, along with Illinois Institute on Rural Affairs, hosted the Rural Community Engagement Summit. The summit kicked off at Western Illinois University-Quad Cities and featured speakers, case studies from rural higher education institutes, a panel of community voices, and several small group discussions. During small group discussions participants explored what makes civic engagement different in rural communities than urban communities. Participants also addressed the challenges for both higher education and community organizations in rural areas. At the end of this discussion, they brought up suggestions for to create mutually beneficial relationships between rural higher education institutes and the communities that they inhabit.

2019 is proving to be just as eventful as 2018. In the next few months ILCC will continue to recruit for the Tyson Foods Summer Community Internship, we will host several events about Census 2020 engagement, hold another Campus Meets Community event and take part in the Midwest Campus Compact conference. This year ILCC will also move offices for the first time in over 15 years. Although not certain where we’ll end up, ILCC is excited about a new year, and new opportunities to serve Illinois.