The annual Campus Meets Community neighborhood party is back! It will take place on Thursday, September 9 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Martin Luther King Commons and is free and open to all NIU students, faculty and staff. The Block Party is an opportunity for local businesses and nonprofits to welcome the NIU community back to campus each fall and showcase all that the DeKalb area has to offer.
“The block party started four years ago, when local organizations contacted the university and wanted a way to welcome the NIU community to DeKalb,” says Jennifer Groce, NIU’s director of community promotions in the Division. awareness, engagement and regional development. “The block party is a really fun atmosphere, with free music, vendors and food samples. It’s a great way for students, faculty, and staff to find out what’s going on at DeKalb and learn more about local businesses and organizations.
The DeKalb County Health Department will be on hand to answer questions and provide free COVID-19 vaccines. Mortenson will provide free water to attendees and sponsor the Mortenson Innovation Alley, showcasing campus and community innovation partnerships in which students and faculty can get involved.
“This is a great opportunity for students and faculty to connect with local businesses as well as non-profit organizations in the region, including the Tails Humane Society, the Youth Service Bureau and the Egyptian Theater,” says Groce. “Maybe they would like to partner with a local business or nonprofit for a class project, find a place to volunteer, or find services they would like to use. DeKalb County has a rich collection of nonprofit organizations that provide social services, community improvement, as well as arts and culture.
Students and staff can enjoy free food samples from Barb City Bagels, Lincoln Inn, Burritoville, Meijer, Jimmy Johns, and other local grocery stores and restaurants. They will also learn about the sport and art of skateboarding from the staff at DeKalb’s Fargo Skateboarding.
Groce is particularly looking forward to an interactive exhibit provided by DeKalb Belonging Council and public radio station WNIJ during the block party.
“After Dr John a Powell visited DeKalb in October 2020 for a conversation about creating a culture of belonging in our community, the Belong initiative began. The City of DeKalb and NIU have partnered with local nonprofits to create a membership council, host diversity dialogues and create works of art, such as Faces of Belonging, a moving portrait exhibition. on local buses, ”says Groce. “I’m delighted that the NIU College of Visual and Performing Arts is taking photos and WNIJ is collecting audio interviews for a Belonging pop-up exhibit during the Block Party.”
Mark your calendar for the Campus Meets Community Block Party on September 9 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.