SIUE Successful Communities Collaborative has chosen the city of Edwardsville as their 2019-2020 partner.
There are three projects being worked on over the next year: downtown parking, a new sports complex and conservation and environmental issues in the community.
According to their website, the SSCC is a program on campus that allows SIUE students to gain real-life experience while assisting local communities with economic, social and environmental projects.
At a kickoff press conference for the partnership on Monday, Connie Frey Spurlock, SSCC faculty director and associate sociology professor, said the SSCC decides which group to work with based on the goals of potential partners, what SIUE can offer to them and the scope of their projects.
“The best partners are those that are equally excited about moving their agenda forward and seeing students [getting] real-world experience,” Frey Spurlock said. “So, they’re just as excited about the students learning as meeting their own goals.”
Edwardsville Mayor Hal Patton was present at the event on Monday and spoke about the importance of a strong partnership between SIUE and Edwardsville.
“You don’t hear about a growing university in a dying community or vice versa — you don’t hear about a growing community in a dying university,” Patton said. “You see us growing together, and that’s what I have always been so proud of in my tenure working with the chancellor and working with the faculty and the students out at SIU.”
Civil engineering professor Ryan Fries said he will be working with the city alongside a group of senior and graduate students in a 400-level class.
“They will be using the latest tools to predict how many folks would drive to and from the new Plummer Family Park,” Fries said. “No one likes to be stuck in traffic, especially before or after a game, so designing those facilities correctly is a very important task.”
Management and marketing professor Katie Robberson said her class has seen the first draft of the proposed ice rink, and that this semester they are looking to figure out how the community will use the ice rink, how far people might travel to it and the demographics of those who might use it.
“It was amazing to me the spark that has already started in my classroom. From a faculty perspective, I think students learn best by doing,” Robberson said. “I really think that’s such an important part of what we can bring in the classroom, especially when they get towards the end of their time in their undergraduate career.”