40Tude: Students engage with businesses, nonprofits

40TUDE helps local businesses and nonprofits to grow after the impacts of COVID-19.

DeKALB — 40TUDE is a collaboration of NIU’s Division of Outreach, Engagement and Regional Development partnered with the community and various campus partners.

Jennifer Groce, Director of Community Promotion has played a large role in 40TUDE. 

“The collaboration grew out of a need for both local businesses and nonprofits as a result of impacts from the pandemic,” Groce said. “It helps businesses with social media presence, website development and online orderings.” 

According to Groce, 40TUDE Business and 40TUDE Nonprofit have partners who help advise and guide the teams.

40TUDE’s Business team collaborates with OC Creative and the DeKalb County Unites Effort, according to their website. Both work as 40TUDE’s industry experts on the team and make sure industry standards are up to par as well as check students’ work and advise as needed. 

The organization helps nonprofits by listening to the community and responding with the resources that are available at the university. Some of the ways it helps is by working on data collection and analysis, communications and advocacy, fundraising and volunteer services.

40TUDE’s Nonprofit team partnered with DeKalb County Community Foundation and the DeKalb County Non For Profit Partnership, according to their website. 

Students who have worked at 40TUDE met with clients and small business owners to find out what they need and developed a work plan to execute the specific need the clients were looking for.

Groce believes it helped open the doors for many businesses and nonprofits.

40TUDE recently had a ribbon-cutting ceremony on March 31 in the basement of the Founders Memorial Library.

The ribbon-cutting was a collaboration between many different partners, businesses and nonprofits in the community. 

“We had a ribbon-cutting event to celebrate 40TUDE Non for Profit and 40TUDE for Business and really just open the door so businesses and non for profits could see both teams and hear more about the work for 40TUDE,” Groce said. “OC Creative was a large partner very generously supporting the event and was a huge collaborator in that way.” 

Groce enjoyed the ceremony and felt like it benefited the community.

“It was really exciting to see so many small businesses and nonprofits come to campus and really enjoy and experience the space offered and to have conversations with students working on the two teams,” Groce said. “It was a great celebration of all that is great about our ‘communiversity’ and the really wonderful NIU-DeKalb partnership we have.” 

75 community members attended the event. Attendees came and learned about 40TUDE as well as had the opportunity to network with current NNGO students.

Student employees who work with 40TUDE are paid employees by the university. 

They are currently hiring for the fall semester. Anyone interested can apply on the 40TUDE website for 40TUDE Business or 40TUDE Nonprofit. Students of all majors are encouraged to apply.