Campus meets community vendors and resources

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Sophia Mullowney

DeKALB – The MLK Commons played host to a business block party Tuesday aimed at providing an opportunity for students to become acquainted with area businesses, organizations and resources.

Local vendors affiliated with the DeKalb, Sycamore and Genoa Chambers of Commerce attended the event. Students were able to spontaneously arrive between classes and take advantage of informational pamphlets, coupons, food samples and many other perks.

For Director of Community Affairs and event coordinator Jennifer Groce, Campus Meets Community showcases the partnership between NIU and the greater DeKalb area.

“This is a great celebration of communiversity,” Groce said. “Our campus has really led the way in community partnerships. This is just a continuation of that, that great celebration of why we love our community, and why our community loves our campus.”

Sophomore kinesiology major Jada Williams said she enjoyed the access to local businesses that she otherwise would not be aware of.

“It’s cool having all these vendors out and getting people to the center of campus. I think it’s really awesome.” said Meg Wolowicz, senior rehab and disability services major.

VENDORS

Many local businesses, organizations and campus resources were on hand to promote their presence for Campus Meets Community.

Athletico representatives Brittany Ray and Latasha Williams were present to speak about opportunities for students to take advantage of their rehab and clinical services as well as frequent screenings at campus events.

uBreakiFix, an electronics repair shop new to DeKalb, seeks to target students with technology troubles, according to company representative Anthony Guida.

“We have an easy way to talk to everybody,” Guida said. “It’s an easy match.”

Mike Spychal and Bill Frederick of Jonomac Orchard discussed opening weekend for their fall-related activities, such as pumpkin picking, a haunted corn maze and a weekend hosting food trucks. Jonomac Orchards is also hiring students for the fall season.

Various community outreach programs also attended, as a way to make themselves known in the scope of campus impact. Safe Passage, a DeKalb County crisis shelter, had a prominent spot in the walk.

Per volunteer coordinator Pamela Rosales, the shelter provides free and confidential counseling, legal advocacy and orders of protection for men, women, and children. The long-term goal of the program is to raise awareness and combat domestic violence and sexual assault at large in the DeKalb community.

Armed with free samples of macaroni and cheese, Andre Allen Jr. of Sycamore’s Betty Jean’s Soul Food Diner spread the word about his family establishment’s enthusiasm to reach out to students.

“This event is a really good idea to help students who are coming to Northern get exposed to more community [businesses],” Allen said.