By: Eileen Carroll – Sophomore, Communications
Deep breaths can be heard from all over campus. It is finally Friday! After a week full of cramming for exams and drinking way too much coffee to stay awake to complete last minute projects and assignments, the weekend certainly brings a smile to any college student’s face. Going through the motions of the college life can get old rather quickly. The week is class after class, but then the weekend finally rolls around. The light at the end of the tunnel. For many students, every weekend is the same routine— going to a party with friends and calling Domino’s on the walk back so that the large pepperoni pizza will be there just in time. Now, to be honest, the pizza part isn’t that bad. A change of plans would be nice, though. Then, an event pops up on your Facebook page for UpDayton. It was as if Facebook was reading your mind. Let’s check it out!
UpDayton is a nonprofit organization that originated about four years ago from an idea a student had. This student felt public transportation to downtown Dayton was unsafe and wanted a new bus system to get there. Those who work at UpDayton believed this was a fantastic idea, but the price was not right. This project would go over the budget. To try to show students downtown Dayton is safe, UpDayton began hosting events with everyone there.
One of the main goals for UpDayton is to expose young adults to the Gem City and reveal everything Dayton has to offer. We are students here at the University of Dayton, but how much does a student know about the area of Dayton? One cause for this might be the “UD bubble” that some students affiliate with the school. It is believed that while attending college here, students have their own little community and do not become familiar with the surrounding area. UpDayton believes it is our civic duty to get more involved and learn more about this city we are all blessed to call our home for four short years.
The city of Dayton has endured a rough decline in population since the 1970’s, and even though there have been modest gains in recent history, it is a slow process that will take time. For the first time in many years, population is increasing, instead of decreasing. It is a small increase, but this shows people want to work and live here. Job growth is a key factor that has helped to change this. Those working at UpDayton want people to see the city of Dayton for what it really is— a place full of opportunity. By volunteering with UpDayton or participating in events held by UpDayton, a student can make a tremendous impact on this wonderful city.
The committee leader for UpDayton’s Discover Dayton branch, Mary Rospert, explained the beliefs and ideas that belong to this organization. One idea is students can return to Dayton once they have started their career. Deciding to work here would be ideal, but it is understood people want to work in their home city for a while. Students come from all over to study in Dayton, but then go to another city once his or her degree is completed. Dayton does such an amazing job of educating young students full of great potential, but this is all gone after attending college or university.
UpDayton works on a number of different projects throughout the year, but the biggest one is called Summit. This year it will be held on Thursday, April 28. Members from the community come to Summit with ideas believed to help better the city. The top three ideas are funded and this helps the winners get their projects started. One winning idea in 2015 was to have bike racks on Brown Street. This was such a rewarding project and has been beneficial in making the city of Dayton a more bicycle friendly community.
Wanting to make a change is a desire held by many students at the University of Dayton and this plays a role with being an active community member. When we have a problem with something, but don’t do anything to change it, that is not helping anyone. Change can come from the smallest action. Since Dayton is smaller than most cities, little things that are done can make a bigger impact than what we might think.
“You can change anything you want in Dayton as long as you work for it,” Rospert said.
By getting involved with UpDayton as a college student, one can receive professional experience that will be helpful when the dreaded time to go out into the real world comes.
Sarah Thomas is the intern for the UpDayton’s Campus Catalyst Committee and she gave students advice by saying, “UD students can get more involved by coming to UpDayton meetings, joining the group on Facebook to stay up to date on any events, and especially attending the UpDayton Summit on Thursday April 28th to meet other young professionals in the community.”
The contact information for the director can be found on the website at http://updayton.city. Volunteers are always in demand and this is a marvelous way to respond to the civic duty as a community member, and one also can get volunteer hours by helping facilitate fun activities.
Do not wait until your last year as a student here at UD to learn more about Dayton. Go to the UpDayton website, contact them and make that first step. A famous saying says that you only get out what you put into something. Participating in UpDayton events will enhance your college career and also help advance the city of Dayton, which we will all hold a special place for in our hearts.