- Last Updated on April 25, 2012
- Written by CMI Staff
The Center for Midwestern Initiatives, Galesburg Community Foundation (GCF), and Knox College (Galesburg, Illinois) have collaborated to establish the CMI Action Team, a student-based effort dedicated to civic engagement and community service. The seven-person team is currently involved in an array of projects with area schools, nonprofits, and local initiatives. Josh Gibb, GCF executive director, said, "I am pleased our foundation has been able to support this new program. Student-driven service strengthens communities and develops leadership."
Alison Ehrhard (St. Louis, Missouri) is currently a post-baccalaureate student at Knox College who is involved in the Knox Prairie Community Kitchen. She is working with CMI to increase Galesburg youth involvement in the community. So far she has worked with the Community Foundation and Galesburg High School to begin a Youth Empowerment Project (YEP), beginning fall 2012. YEP is designed to empower youth to take part in the community through philanthropy and youth-driven projects. In addition to YEP, she is working with the Historical Society of Galesburg to make their website more interactive for the more Internet savvy, younger generation. She has also been helping Joshua with writing blurbs on the different historical markers in Galesburg for the interactive Google map.
Elizabeth Drake (St. Louis, Missouri) is a third-year, English Literature major at Knox College. She works mainly with the writing aspect of CMI’s efforts. She has been working for CMI as one of the primary writers for the website blog. She edits articles that others send to CMI, and conducts interviews and research for new stories, all of which are posted on the website. She also assists Sheena with posting articles, and maintaining the website.
Emily Oliver (Newton, Connecticut) is currently a post-baccalaureate fellow at Knox College, where she has been working on the Knox Writers' House, an online archive and auditory map of American essays, poetry and fiction where visitors can listen to authors reading their work. She has taken on a similar project for CMI called This American Lifestyle for which she has been recording audio stories about small towns along the Spoon River Valley in Illinois. The project seeks to document how communities are dealing with the decline of rural America. Her work has been posted on the CMI website as mix of narrative, audio file collage, and digital imagery.
Josh Tatro (Galion, Ohio) is a third-year Sociology-Anthropology major at Knox College. He is currently heading up a project with the Galesburg Historical Society where he is working on cataloging and researching various historical sites in Galesburg. His work will be compiled into an interactive Google map that will function as a walking tour of significant town landmarks for potential visitors. The map is being constructed in conjunction with his efforts to improve the Galesburg Historical Society’s web presence by creating a blog for the Society that features their current projects, events, and research services. Ultimately, Josh’s work is intended to compliment the greater initiatives of the entire CMI team to emphasize and capitalize upon Galesburg’s unique community assets in order to attract new, sustainable businesses and homebuyers, as well as to remind current citizens of their town’s rich heritage.
Helen Schnoes (Minneapolis, Minnesota) is currently a post-baccalaureate fellow at Knox College where she is working on food and sustainability at Knox. Helen is involved with several projects at CMI, these include the Cyclists of Galesburg effort to improve bicycling infrastructure and culture in town. She helped develop a website for the effort, and worked with committee members to create a case statement that will be used by city council to formalize a bike-route plan. In addition, Helen has worked on Knox college sustainability projects, and facilitated a discussion on the establishment of a sustainable community youth camp.
Katherine Miller (La Grange, Illinois) is a fourth-year at Knox College with an Economics and Business double major. Her primary work on the CMI team is with the Galesburg Community Foundation, whom she is working with to create pamphlets for The Register-Mail newspaper that explain the purpose and goals of the community foundation to the Galesburg public. She is also working with the Galesburg School District 205 on their 2020 project, a $110 million campaign to improve existing school facilities, and build new school facilities where needed. Katherine and Sheena are also helping them develop a website and other content that will be used to market the school development project.
Sheena Leano (Palm Springs, California) is a fourth-year Creative Writing and Economics double major at Knox College. She is the technology specialist on the team. Her main responsibilities revolve around CMI's website and its online presence. She manages the content of CMI's website by editing, working with multimedia such audio, video and photos, designing pages and posting articles. She sends out electronic newsletters that contain news and stories from the site to CMI subscribers. As the creator of CMI's Facebook and Twitter accounts, she maintains the non-profit's online presence by posting relevant links and articles for fans and followers on those sites. Her projects outside of CMI include the website designs of, and development for, the Galesburg Community Foundation and Galesburg School District 205.