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Community Partnerships Day celebrated at WKU Hill House

WKU President Gary Ransdell and Bowling Green Mayor Bruce Wilkerson signed the Community Partnerships Day proclamation on Friday (Sept. 18) recognizing the commitment and continued support of community members, organizations, WKU students, faculty and staff to working together to improve quality of life.

WKU President Gary Ransdell spoke during the Community Partnerships Day event Sept. 18 at the WKU Hill House on East 11th Street. (WKU photo by Clinton Lewis)

WKU President Gary Ransdell spoke during the Community Partnerships Day event Sept. 18 at the WKU Hill House on East 11th Street. (WKU photo by Clinton Lewis)

By proclaiming September 18 Community Partnerships Day, the document states that the university and city “urge all students, faculty, and staff to continue the work of building positive and supportive relationships for the greater good of all.” This challenge has already been accepted by numerous students, faculty and staff who engage in volunteer service, service-learning and community-based research locally, regionally, nationally and abroad.

The proclamation signing took place at the WKU Hill House on East 11th Street, a symbol of seven years of invested partnership between the campus and community. The house was previously known as a haven for criminal activity until purchased and renovated by local resident Bob Basham. Soon after renovations were completed, Basham approached the WKU ALIVE Center for Community Partnerships about using the residence for good. Since then, 23 WKU graduate students have lived in the house and worked alongside community members to increase positive activity in the area by developing a neighborhood association, hosting community events, and completing community-based research projects that address local issues through an asset-based approach to community development.

“I think having the Hill House in the neighborhood and having this partnerships is fantastic. The neighborhood has changed dramatically since 2008. It has improved dramatically,” local resident Mike Steele said.

Steele helped Basham make numerous renovations to the home currently known as the WKU Hill House. He believes turning the house around and bringing the WKU Hill House to the area caused other neighbors to respond with improvements to their living areas.

Scenes from WKU Hill House proclamation and open house on Sept. 18.

A tree was planted at the WKU Hill House on Sept. 18 as part of Community Partnerships Day. (WKU photo by Clinton Lewis)

“It seems like the neighborhood has gained some momentum,” Steele said. “It is nice to see things have improved so much.”

Since 2009, WKU Hill House students have facilitated political conversations and organized neighborhood watch meetings. They have organized Unity in Community days, Sunday Dinners, and safe Halloween events. Students have implemented community-based research projects with topics such as smoke-free communities, trust and self-disclosure, refugee resettlement, public transportation, community engagement, and bereavement.

The WKU Hill House is a program of the WKU ALIVE Center for Community Partnerships. The WKU ALIVE CCP supports community development locally and abroad through campus and community partnerships. The ALIVE CCP connects students, faculty, staff, and community members to resources and opportunities for meaningful service and public scholarship.

Contact: Aurelia Spaulding, (270) 782-0082

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