Elizabeth Killian, president of CAMPus Impact at Marquette University discusses below the work her organization completed over the weekend of October 18th and 19th and what this work means to the local community and the students involved. CAMPus is a creative name identifying all seven neighborhoods in the Near West Side to include: Concordia, Cold Springs Park, Avenues West, Merrill Park, Martin Drive, Piggsville and of course “us” for the students of Marquette University.

Keith: What occurred with Campus Impact this past weekend?

Elizabeth: Over the weekend, 10 Marquette Students spent their Fall Break in the Near West Side staying at City on a Hill, and working with a multiple non-profits. Those include ACTS Housing, Neighborhood House, The New State, The Near West Side Partners, and City on a Hill. We participated in all types of work including: yard work, demolition, cleaning, working with children, organizing, and painting. It is amazing that we are able to help the organizations that do so much in the neighborhood that we live in. We ended each service day with a reflection, to share our experiences and thoughts that arose while we were working. We also spend our evenings sharing a meal with a multitude of Marquette alumni. We are able to find connections and build relationships.

Keith: Why is important for students to go through such an experience?

Elizabeth: It is important for students to go through such an experience because we live in this community in which we are able to give back. This experience is different from any other because it is in the Near West Side. This allows CAMPus Impact to build and maintain relationships with different organizations in the neighborhood, which gives us the opportunity to continue to work with and engage with residents and employees of the neighborhood throughout the entirety of the school year.

Keith: What was some of the highlights, lessons learned from the experience?

Elizabeth: My favorite parts of the trip were interacting with the people we met. When working with ACTS Housing, I was able to talk with the homeowner about what she envisions for her home that is currently under construction. It was so great to see the potential of what she wants and help them take a step to get there.

This year I really reflected on the ideas of time and immersion. I thought about how much time we saved the families and organizations by cleaning their yard or organizing a storage room. When we are able to complete those simple tasks it gives the organizations and homeowners more of their own time to focus on the primary aspects of their job or home renovation. I also thought a lot about immersion as we were able to both stay and work in the Near West Side. I always love that specific aspect to this experience because it puts everything into perspective. Students are able to see the beauty the neighborhood that Marquette is located in.

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