Closing the sustainability loop

By Lauren Rohr/For CU-CitizenAccess.org — The Sustainable Student Farm serves a variety of purposes on the University of Illinois campus. Hundreds of students gain hands-on experience by working and researching at the farm almost year-round. Dining Services buys the farm’s produce and uses it in meals served to students who live in residence halls. And now, with the farm’s vermicomposting project, farm manager Zack Grant and his team are aiming to close the sustainability loop by using waste to fertilize produce. The Sustainable Student Farm is in operation for at least 10 months of the year.

Giving back through track

By Jonathan Nonnie/For CU-CitizenAccess.org — A sports-related injury can be a devastating event in the life of an active young adult. But for Nealay Kalita, a sophomore student at the University of Illinois, a torn ACL lead to a leadership position. Kalita, a native of Champaign, attended University Laboratory High School. In his time there, he was an outstanding runner and a state competitor in track and field. During his senior year, he tore his ACL while playing basketball. The injury prevented him from participating in his final season of track and field, but he embraced the opportunity in front of him.

One community garden provides more than fruits and vegetables

By Karyna Rodriguez/For CU-CitizenAccess.org — One person can make a difference. Nicole Bridges embodies that statement more than almost anyone I’ve ever met. Nicole runs Prosperity Gardens in Champaign, Illinois. I first heard about Prosperity Gardens when I worked on a story about the nonprofit for The Daily Illini. I interviewed Nicole and was inspired by her dedication and selflessness.

Growing up Asian in a white family; one adoptee’s struggle

By Earn Saenmuk/For CU-CitizenAccess.org — There was a girl in my Korean class. Well, there were more than one, but this particular one was special. She was very nice, and her Korean was so good that I felt a little intimidated. I noticed while the teacher was taking attendance that her last name did not sound like an Asian last name. Her name was Claire Hampton, though she told the teacher that she also has a Korean name, Hwaesuk.

Race makeup of local police staff mirror national trends

The racial makeup of police departments across the country has grown to become a heated national issue after a white police officer shot and killed Michael Brown – an unarmed black teenager – in Ferguson, Mo., last month.

An initial analysis by CU-CitizenAccess.org of local police staff numbers revealed a race gap mirrored in national and regional reports. The staff information was obtained through requests made under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.

Bike friendly Chambana draws new version of polo

Champaign-Urbana is a biking town, and as an avid biker, that was something I noticed very quickly upon moving here.

Bike lanes run all through both cities as well as campus. Shops like The Bike Co-op and Neutral Cycle provide local cyclists with affordable service and offer to teach people who come in how to maintain a bike themselves, while other stores deal with high-end, professional equipment. People get together to go on group rides.

Slackers on a line

Klara Debie/For CU-CitizenAccess.org — On one of the first sunny days of spring, I saw some people balancing themselves on a tightrope – or that’s what I thought they were doing. They had put a rope between two trees on the quad and were walking across it, running sometimes, jumping on, doing tricks and often falling off it. They were slacklining. As with anything out of the ordinary, I was gripped the moment I saw it. How were they able to find their balance on such a thin, unstable surface?

Step by step instruction on financial aid application helps visitors to Shadow Wood lab

Giovanna Olea/For CU-CitizenAccess.org – Giovanna Olea works for CU-CitizenAccess.org as a community ambassador in a computer lab at Shadow Wood Mobile Home Park. CU-CitizenAccess.org has opened and operated a computer lab within the park for the community since 2011. Olea writes about her experiences here. Last week was a little busier than usual. The children were really nervous and excited because they were going back to school.

Changes to bilingual program in one Champaign school forces some parents to make difficult decision

By Giovanna Olea/For CU-CitizenAccess.org – Giovanna Olea works for CU-CitizenAccess.org as a community ambassador in a computer lab at Shadow Wood Mobile Home Park. CU-CitizenAccess.org has opened and operated a computer lab within the park for the community since 2011. Olea writes about her experiences here. Many families stay in Champaign-Urbana because their children have problems with school. I heard from several mothers in Shadow Wood that the school their children attended last year will not have bilingual teachers again this year, so the parents were asked to find a different school for their sons.