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NIU students help ‘Save Chicago’

April 11, 2014

Save Chicago Day poster

by Randiss Hopkins

The Save Chicago Campaign’s first Save Chicago Day was a huge success, with over 120 Northern Illinois University students impacting the city of Chicago through their volunteer efforts.

On March 7 at 10 a.m., Save Chicago Day volunteers filled the New Hall Community Center for a mandatory briefing before departure. During that time, students received T-shirts and a continental breakfast, and got a chance to meet with their respective team leaders. The executive board of the Save Chicago Campaign led the students in chants and songs to magnify the anticipation for volunteering in the city many of our students call home.

We loaded the buses for Chicago at 1 p.m., and the students arrived to their volunteer locations by 3 p.m. We were able to send volunteers to a host of nine sites all over the city including the Homan Square Park District, Chicago West Community Music Center, North Lawndale YMCA, Holy Family Ministries, Interfaith House, Valentine Boys and Girls Club, Morgan Park Boys and Girls Club, Roseland Christian Ministries and Roseland “Good News” Daycare Center. From 3 to 5 p.m., our students helped maintain facilities, prepared meals for the homeless and managed to work with over 200 youth.

To end this historic day of service, all of our Save Chicago volunteers met up at Garfield Park (a historical landmark in Chicago) for dinner catered by Giordano’s. We even had Rainn Darring from the Save Chicago Campaign executive board bring his DJ equipment and provide us with music while students waited for the food to be served. The plan was to eat and gather thoughts from our volunteers about their experience, but all of our students were up singing and dancing with energy so high that we could do nothing but watch and smile. At that moment, we knew in our hearts that on March 7, we made a child smile, we made our university smile and ultimately our city smile.

Thank you, NIU!

Randiss Hopkins

Randiss Hopkins


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.