In a new collaboration, Drexel’s Residential Living Office and the Lindy Center for Civic Engagement have partnered to establish nine community sites that will be linked directly to each of the residential living communities. The partnership connects residence hall staff and students to a specific Drexel Community Scholar at the Lindy Center in order to increase participation of volunteer opportunities at local West Philadelphia sites.
This is the first year for this new partnership, which is the first step in creating a “culture of service” at Drexel, according to Reeba Monachan, assistant director of community development and engagement for the Office of Residential Living at Drexel.
“Drexel students are extremely talented and motivated. Some of things they do could really benefit the surrounding West Philadelphia community and this is the perfect place to do it,” said Monachan.
Liza Rubin, a junior psychology major, is head resident assistant for Kelly Hall on campus and a Drexel Community Scholar for the Lindy Center. Rubin said she is ecstatic for this natural partnership that benefits everyone involved.
“Service offers a harsh reality check. It allows us to put our problems in perspective, and truly appreciate everything we have. It is important to give back to your local community, and share with those less fortunate than you,” said Rubin.
It’s especially important for Drexel students where poverty is extremely prevalent in the local community.
“Students tend to get caught up in the daily stresses of college life, focusing more on a bad quiz grade or drama with a roommate than larger problems that some of our neighbors face, such as not having enough money to feed a child,” said Rubin.
Rubin was promoted to the Team Leader of the Hunger and Homelessness Coalition at the Lindy Center this year and helped to establish the RLO/Lindy Center partnership. Rubin, along with her Kelly Hall staff, is currently working on a project called “Listen for Lombard” where students will host low-cost concerts to benefit the soup kitchen and talented musicians in the local Philly area.
This collaboration initiative started in the summer of 2011 and kicked off with a “Block Build” on October 8 for Rebuilding Together Philadelphia (RTP). RTP serves as a local form of Habitat for Humanity and students participate in periodic rebuilding and revitalizing of old homes. Currently the Caneris/University Crossings and the Axis staff are working to raise money for future RTP projects.
“We are really trying to not only have an impact in the local community but also with Drexel. This project aligns with President Fry’s initiative to build up the Powelton, Mantua area,” Monachan said. “Our goal is to make volunteerism easy so it’s something that benefits the students with credit, development and education of the issues.”
The ongoing partnerships include the following organizations and residence halls:
- Wright Recreation Center and North Hall
- Youth Build and Millennium Hall
- Saturdays for Seniors and Towers Hall
- Urban Tree Connection and Calhoun Hall
- Mantua Community Center and Myers Hall
- Lombard Soup Kitchen and Kelly Hall
- Rebuilding Together Philadelphia and Caneris/University Crossings & the Axis Halls
- Philabundance and Stiles Hall
- Summer/Winter Garden and Race Street Residence/Van Rensselaer Halls
---Stephanie Takach, University Communications