Continuing community engagement through student immersion with CAMPus Impact

CAMPus Impact has big plans for the year ahead, focusing on continuing engagement with the Near West Side community through student immersion.

CAMPus Impact is a student organization dedicated to community engagement and beautification initiatives in the Near West Side. In collaboration with Near West Side Partners, Inc., the organization remains dedicated to connecting with its community through partnering with local organizations and exploring businesses near the area. 

It is currently planning for the spring semester with a focus on social outings and continued volunteering efforts. CAMPus Impact is planning group lunches and dinners at local Near West Side restaurants for their members. It is additionally aiming to partner with Acts Housing, City on a Hill, Inc., and more to create more volunteering opportunities for students.

“We hope to have at least one social and one volunteer event each month,” says CAMPus Impact President Nathan Russell.

In October 2023, students of CAMPus Impact used their fall break to connect with the Near West Side. Marquette Making a Real Difference in Gulf Regions and Areas Surrounding (M.A.R.D.I. G.R.A.S.), a campus organization recognized for disaster relief work, participated in this annual project with CAMPus Impact. The organizations plan to partner again in the future.

Twenty students representing all undergraduate classes took part in the three-day initiative. This trip allowed students to learn extensively about the Near West Side and establish connections with various organizations looking for volunteers. 

“Learning about where you live is important,” says Russell. “These students got to learn that they were stakeholders in this community and how much there is to offer.” 

The students assisted with the efforts of Project Homeless Connect, brought to campus through the United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County. The students guided unhoused community members through resource fairs and various screening processes to provide necessary resources at the Alumni Memorial Union.

The group also collaborated with Hope Lutheran Church to help with painting in bathrooms and basement spaces and worked with Neighborhood House on efforts related to yard work and cleaning their daycare kitchen. Additionally, students worked on landscaping at Full Circle Construction, focusing on curb-appeal efforts such as planting tulips and trash pickup. 

“It’s nice to realize that there are Marquette students who want to both do service but also want to learn about the community,” says Russell. 

The organization encourages students to get involved in-person and online. To stay informed, follow CAMPus Impact and Marquette M.A.R.D.I G.R.A.S. on Instagram. Additionally, log in to Presence for more information on how to join the organization’s email list, where you will receive details about volunteer opportunities and upcoming social events.