The University of St. Francis (USF) recently hosted an “On the Table” discussion at the university’s main campus.
On the Table is an annual forum, sponsored by The Chicago Community Trust, designed to elevate civic conversation, foster new relationships and inspire collaborative action across the region. According to The Chicago Community Trust, more than 100,000 individuals engaged in the process through discussions, workshops, or social media that day.
Over 70 community members from local organizations including Mayor of Joliet Bob O’Dekirk and Joliet Police Chief Brian Benton, Joliet Junior College President Judy Mitchell, and representatives from United Way, Joliet School Districts 86 and 204, the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate, Habitat for Humanity, the Joliet Public Library, Our Lady of Angels, Harvey Brooks Foundation, Joliet City Center Partnership, Will County Executive’s office, Cathedral Area Preservation Association, Center for Disabilities Services, Spanish Community Center, Center for Disabilities Services, NAACP, Cathedral of St. Raymond’s, Big Brother Big Sisters, YMCA, Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Guardian Angel Community Services, Joliet Community Hospice, and Will County Community Foundation participated in 9 meaningful roundtable conversations during the USF event.
Groups explored the ways in which community members could collaborate to make the community stronger, safer and more dynamic. Ideas generated were centered on themes like education, jobs, diversity, safety, sustainability, and community service and resource-sharing.
“Our community is as strong as our relationships. Taking the time to talk and listen to each other provides us with insights, connects us to resources, and creates a catalyst for positive change,” said Tracy Spesia, field experience coordinator and school partnership liaison for USF’s College of Education and moderator of the On the Table event
The event also included the opportunity to apply for grants called “Acting Up Awards.” Chicago Community Trust is providing up to 100, $1,000 awards and up to 20, $2,500 awards for community projects. Anyone who attended an On the Table discussion was eligible to submit a grant proposal to help turn their conversation into action. Each of the 9 discussion tables at USF’s event was encouraged to submit a proposal. Award winners will be announced on June 30.
The University of St. Francis, in Joliet serves 3,900 students nationwide, offering undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 48,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit stfrancis.edu.