by Randiss Hopkins
The Save Chicago Campaign got a big boost in May, when NIU President Doug Baker called me to his office to tell me that he had spoken with the Kristin Barrett, vice-president of the 1871,a Chicago-based incubator for entrepreneurs, and that she wanted to learn more about our campaign.
Just a few days later, I toured the 50,000 square-foot facility in the Merchandise Mart, with two outstanding members of our board, Steffen Canino, director of marketing/communications, and Nathan Lupstein, director of volunteer programs. Joining us was Dr. Lisa Freeman, executive vice-president and provost at NIU.
Our day began with Kristin taking us on a tour of the beautiful co-working space. Immediately, we saw that 1871 was a place that is very conducive to creativity. Young entrepreneurs, mostly from digital start-up companies, filled the meeting tables, and inspiring artwork and quotes graced the walls.
After exploring the facility, we made a Prezi presentation to Kristin about our plans and goals for the Save Chicago Campaign. She was so impressed that she immediately offered to provide us office space and mentoring to help take our movement to the next level. We hope to use our time at 1871 to add more structure to this movement and plan some exciting volunteer projects for the upcoming school year.
One of the best parts of our day at 1871 special was being accompanied by our Dr. Freeman. She is a great example of our university going above and beyond to support students and nurture student career success.
On behalf of the Save Chicago Campaign, we would like to thank Northern Illinois University and 1871 for this incredible opportunity.
Randiss Hopkins, who grew up in the North Lawndale neighborhood on Chicago’s west side, is an NIU music education/jazz performance major who is active with the Campus Activities Board and has worked to tirelessly create change in creating the Save Chicago Campaign.