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Freshman Jenna Hania (Branchton, Ontario), sophomore Travis Bandstra (Pella, Iowa), and senior Jocelyn Black (Chicago) don't want to change the world, just one small corner of it. The student team presented a proposal on behalf of the College to representatives of four local legislators Friday, January 23, to secure funding for the neighboring suburb of Robbins, Illinois.

The presentation provided a graphic description of the deterioration of the city's infrastructure, including its water and sewer systems, roads, and municipal property. Research compiled by Hania and Bandstra indicated that more than $10 million is needed to revitalize the blighted city, including an infusion of commercial business.

As a member of the Illinois Campus Compact, Trinity secured a $5000 grant from the McCormick Tribune Foundation last fall to partner with Robbins, a community where 29 percent of the families who live there are below the poverty level. Trinity's proposal for Robbins outlines options for supplemental education for children in the community's schools, connecting Trinity's Small Business Institute with the city government, and linking the College's social work department to work with senior citizens.

Staff representatives from the offices of U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, U.S. Sens. Peter Fitzgerald and Dick Durbin, and state Rep. William Davis attended the students' presentation.

"The 30th district has many communities like this, but I didn't know that Robbins is that bad," said Briana Walker, district administrator for Rep. Davis. "Economic development is a big priority for our staff, so we'll be sure to take a closer look at what we can do for Robbins and its residents."

Former Palos Heights Mayor Dean Koldenhoven, who is serving as a local community liaison to assist with the project, commended the students for their work.

"This group has been diligent throughout their research, and I am very impressed by their initiative. They did a terrific job of articulating the case for Robbins, and it has been a great pleasure for me to work with them."

Related Story:
McCormick Fellowship Grant Promotes Community Engagement

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