“The Bloc party started four years ago, when local organizations reached out to the university and wanted a way to welcome the NIU community to DeKalb,” says Jennifer Gross, NIU Director of Community Promotion in the Division of Outreach, Engagement and Regional Development. “The group party is a really fun atmosphere, with music, vendors and free food samples. It’s a great way for students, faculty and staff to discover what’s happening at DeKalb and learn about local businesses and organizations.”
The DeKalb County Health Department will be present to answer questions and provide free COVID-19 vaccines. Mortenson will provide water free of charge to those who attend and Mortenson Innovation sponsors, highlighting the campus and community innovation partnerships in which students and faculty can participate.
“This is a great opportunity for both students and faculty to connect with local businesses as well as non-profit organizations in the area, including Tails Humane Society, Youth Service Bureau and Egyptian Theater,” Groce said. “Maybe they want to partner with a local business or nonprofit organization for a class project, find a place to volunteer or find services they want to use. DeKalb County has a rich portfolio of nonprofits that provide social services, community improvement, and the arts and culture.”
Students and staff can enjoy free food samples from Barb City Bagels, Lincoln Inn, Burritoville, Meijer, Jimmy Johns, and other local grocery stores and restaurants. They will also learn about the sport and art of skateboarding from the staff of DeKalb’s Fargo Skateboarding.
Groce is especially looking forward to an interactive exhibit presented by the DeKalb Affiliation Council and public radio station WNIJ during the group gig.
After Dr. John Paul visited DeKalb in October of 2020 for a conversation about creating a culture of belonging in our community, the Belong Initiative began. The City of DeKalb and NIU have partnered with local nonprofits to create the Affiliation Council, conduct diverse dialogues and create artwork, such as Faces of Affiliation — an animated gallery of images on local buses,” Gross says. Pictures and that WNIJ will be collecting audio interviews to showcase affiliation popup during the group gig.”
Mark your calendar for the Campus Meets Community Block Party September 9 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.