When IU’s Residential Programs and Services paired SCCAP with Eigenmann Residence Hall for the school year, neither knew what to expect.
Yet, Tom Kenning, the SCCAP coordinator for the partnership, said it’s been more beneficial for both organizations than they could have ever imagined at the start.
All IU dorms are paired with specific non-profit organizations this school year. The key, Kenning said, is to make the pairing a reciprocal relationship—both the organization and the students need to be involved and reap the benefits.
Kenning said part of the goal is to get students to look beyond the Sample Gates and make them see that Bloomington isn’t just a place to come for four years and leave—it’s a community with its own needs and issues.
But that’s the entire goal. Kenning said community members can sometimes see students as only wanting the party and college aspects of the community. He said this partnership is also helping change that view by allowing families to interact with students and put a face on the University, as well as showing young children that college students are just like them, and that it’s something they could do, too.
To build this reciprocal relationship, Kenning said floors have volunteered with Circles and Head Start, SCCAP has greeted and handed out water during move in day, and both have come together for informational meetings on campus about poverty.
Most recently, they combined forces to put on a Halloween party with Head Start and Circles. Kenning said students decorated lounges, dressed up and interacted with the kids, and did face painting.
In the future, they are planning a Christmas event, most likely pairing family “wish lists” with different floors that can provide items.
Kenning said the turn-out on both sides has been surprisingly strong, and he credits this for much of the success they’ve had.
Although he’s not sure what RPS is planning for next year, he says in his eyes, the program has been very successful. SCCAP would love to be involved again, he said, and they’re already looking forward to next semester.