NU freshmen donate time, labor for SCAPE

Marshall Cohen

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

The Class of 2015 participated in the largest one-day community service event in Northwestern history on Sunday.

More than 2,200 students cleaned up parks, planted gardens, washed cars and read to children in Evanston and Chicago as part of the Serving Community And Providing Engagement program, or SCAPE. The local outreach initiative is the newest element of Wildcat Welcome Week.

The entire freshman class and all new transfer students were dispatched to 40 different locations spanning from the Henry Crown Sports Pavilion to the South Side of Chicago.

Betsi Burns, assistant dean of students, spoke at SPAC, 2311 Campus Drive, before the freshmen set off on their community service projects.

“I know that almost all of you worked in some capacity at your high schools or in your hometowns on community service, and we want to continue that tradition for you as you become members of our Northwestern community and the city of Evanston,” Burns said.

Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl also spoke and welcomed the new students to their newest home.

“I’m your mayor just as much as I’m everyone else’s mayor in this city,” Tisdahl said. “And I hope today isn’t the only day that you all work on service projects in Evanston.”

In Evanston, students volunteered at Washington Elementary School, 914 Ashland Ave.; sustainable growth promoter The Talking Farm, 1234 Sherman Ave.; Dr. Bessie Rhodes Magnet School, 3701 Davis St.; family resource center The Family Room, 3009 Central St.; and several other locations.

Some students were bused to senior citizen facilities in nearby suburbs Skokie and Wilmette as well.

Weinberg freshman Billy Morrison said he was excited to get out and see the communities surrounding NU.

“This is an interesting project and a great way to give back to the Evanston community and to get to know people around town,” said Morrison.

Morrison was among a group of students that met with senior citizens at the Mather Pavilion, 820 Foster St., a residential nursing home in Evanston.

Other students helped clean up the Frances Willard House Museum, 1730 Chicago Ave. They moved a broken copier machine as well as many pieces of old furniture and dozens of books from the building to a nearby trash container.

Janet Olson, a volunteer archivist for the Frances Willard Memorial Library and Archives, said she appreciated the extra help.

“If the entire freshman class is helping other people the way that this group is helping us, then it’s a fabulous thing for the local community here,” Olson said.

In a news release, SCAPE organizer Jessica Sopko explained the reasoning behind Sunday’s unprecedented service event.

“This is a chance for the newest members of the student body to learn firsthand of the value that NU places on community service and ways they can become involved in service locally,” Sopko said.