Bradley University Promotes Civic Engagement

Lydia Moss Bradley, the founder of Bradley University, wanted Bradley students to become productive members of society and for the school that she started to teach “useful knowledge, practical knowledge.” More than a century later, Lydia would be very proud of the university she created and the civic leadership of its students.

During the last academic year, Bradley students raised approximately $186,000 for over 65 different charities and gave over 46,500 hours of volunteerism and community service. Bradley students also showed their compassion by donating over 6,300 articles of clothing, 2,500 cans of food, and 1,200 pints of blood. These community service efforts are coordinated by the Lewis J. Burger Center for Student Leadership and Public Service, whose mission is to educate and prepare Bradley students to be committed and effective leaders in their careers, families and communities.

In the area of politics, Students Promoting Political Involvement, the College Republicans and College Democrats collaborated with the AARP to hold a campus vote rally before the midterm election. These collaborative, bipartisan events seek to engage all students in the political process regardless of their political persuasions. For example, Mike Kittleson (Jr.) visited every dorm room and registered more than 250 students to vote. Additionally, Katie Childs (Jr.), president of the College Republicans, will be interning this summer in Washington, D.C., for U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner.

To improve the local community, Kyle Malinowksi (Sr.) is providing research support for the Peoria Area Shared Services (PASS Forward) Committee that was launched by Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis and Peoria County Board Chairman Tom O’Neill. PASS Forward seeks to explore whether more efficient government and taxpayers savings can be attained by sharing or integrating services between the city and county. Kate Green (Sr.) is interning with The Heartland Partnership, performing research and implementing projects to expand economic activities and create new business opportunities for our region.

In the area of leadership advocacy, last year, two busloads of Bradley students joined college students from across the state at a huge rally outside the capital to successfully urge the Illinois General Assembly to restore the Monetary Assistance Program (MAP). This spring, Nick Swiatkowksi (Jr.), Liz Scoville (So.) and Camile Ivy-O’Donnell (So.) went back to Springfield to lobby on behalf of the 1,605 Bradley students who receive MAP funds totaling $6,953,341 annually in need-based scholarships. The students met with and gave compelling testimony to Lt. Governor Sheila Simon, State Rep. Mike Unes, State Rep. David Leitch, State Rep. Jehan Gordon, State Rep. Kenneth Durkin, State Senator Dave Koehler and State Senator Darin LaHood.

Through Bradley’s College of Education & Health Sciences, 143 Bradley students are student-teaching in Peoria schools. Additionally, five students are providing much needed counseling, 10 nursing students are providing quality healthcare, and 15 students are giving important dietetic counseling to Peoria schoolchildren. And, recent College of Education graduates like Marcus Belin are making a big difference in the lives of Peoria children teaching social studies and coaching at the new Peoria Quest Charter Academy.

These are just a few of the Bradley students and programs impacting our community in a very meaningful way. Through these real-world leadership experiences, community service and political engagement, Bradley students are showcasing the practical, useful skills and knowledge that Lydia Moss Bradley envisioned. Clearly, they have already become productive members of our society. iBi

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