Ivy Tech, IUN combine cleanup efforts
By MichELLE L. Quinn Post-Tribune correspondent April 21, 2014 10:28PM
Vounteers congregate at Ivy Tech and grab rakes and bags to cleanup the 35th street corridor between IU Northwest and Ivy Tech on 4/19/14. It was part of the Brother 2 Brother sponsored 6th Annual Earth Day Cleanup. | John Booz/ for the Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 23, 2014 6:03AM
GARY — Indiana University Northwest and Ivy Tech students took their community engagement skills to the streets Saturday afternoon and did some cleaning up along the way.
Indiana University’s Brother 2 Brother Student Success Program, along with several other student organizations, celebrated Earth Day with its sixth annual clean up around the campus. One set of students started on one side of 35th Avenue and cleaned from Ivy Tech’s Gary Campus to IUN, and the other group did the opposite side from IUN to Ivy Tech, said Brother 2 Brother president Raja Williby.
Williby said the project started at Ivy Tech, but now that Brother 2 Brother has moved to IUN, the group saw fit to “build a bridge” between the two campuses.
“We’re leading the charge and showing residents that you can clean your community and that doing so is better for the city as a whole,” Williby said. “Every year, if more people come, there’s less work to do for each of us. We do it because it needs to be done, but then we want people to do it because of the tradition.”
Jesse Johnson, president of IUN’s Minority Clubs, said 10 people from the community called to see what they could do, and others driving by stopped to pitch in.
After the cleaning was done, the groups met with Earl Jones, a IUN professor of urban planning, and his class for a “Meet and Greet Block Party” at 35th and Jefferson avenues. Students tossed around a football as they waited for neighbors to come by.
Jones, who counts community engagement as one of his primary focuses, said the community needs to see IUN and Ivy Tech play a bigger role.
“Most communities don’t have these resources — a four-year college and medical school — within walking distance, and we want people, especially young people, to see we’re here and what we can do for them,” Jones said. “It’s a nice way to get the word out.”
Marlon Mitchell, Ivy Tech Gary Campus’ president, said he believed Saturday’s event to be the first of its kind and the largest group ever put together for the cleanup. He, too, encouraged the connection between the two schools.
“It’s a great effort to revive the relationship between our two schools and have students connect with the community,” Mitchell said. “And with the community service aspect, Ivy Tech students have a chance to see how to further their career development.”