Pointers Make a Difference in Milwaukee
Nathaniel Dalton
ndalt398@uwsp.edu

Last weekend, a group of students participating in the Intercity Impact service trip traveled to Milwaukee to get firsthand experience with urban sustainability.

The group worked with the humanitarian organizations Growing Power, The Guest House, and the Urban Ecology Center.

“Intercity Impact has been going to Milwaukee for seven years,” said Alanna LeClair, service trip coordinator for SIEO. “Our goal is to build active citizens. We want people to go from not knowing that there are problems to being fully educated on what they can do to help.”

Each organization that Intercity Impact visited focuses on a different aspect of urban stewardship. The first organization they visited was Growing Power.“I think my favorite part of the trip was volunteering at Growing Power. I just felt very involved and like we actually made a difference,” said Breanna Heckner.

Growing Power combats the problem of food deserts through the promotion of urban agriculture. Food deserts are areas where healthy foods are difficult to obtain, usually due to lack of transportation.

The organization also works to establish community food systems that provide safe, affordable and healthy foods to communities.

“I learned about sustainable practices at Growing Power likeaquaponics, composting with worms and beekeeping,” said Jessica Brennan.

“Growing Power is such a great organization and makes such an impact in the Milwaukee area, as well as being a great inspiration for other inner city people in different cities to make a difference in how they can eat. I’m glad I could be a part of it,” said Acelynn Moser.

Later that night, the group visited the Guest House. The organization fights homelessness and the deleterious effects it can have on communities by providing housing, education and services to Milwaukee’s homeless.

“The focus of the trip is mainly on sustainability, but also on how poverty ties into that,” LeClair said. “I think there are a lot of stereotypes about inner city homelessness, and by bringing students to these situations we mean to show that those stereotypes aren’t true, and we hope that the students bring that back to campus.”

The next day, students met with the Urban Ecology Center, an organization which fosters ecological understanding by providing outdoor science education for urban youth, protecting and using natural public areas and preserving those areas and their surrounding waters.

“My favorite part was the Urban Ecology Center because I think their dedication to restoring a park which used to be undesirable and educating the community was admirable,” said Kate Egan.When asked whether they would recommend that other people get involved in Intercity Impact, the student response was unanimously positive.

“It is a great trip that applies to all majors and all interests. You can learn how to make a difference in your own community by doing something small or big,” said Leah Rogers.

“It gives you a new view on a community you might not be used to. I’m from a small town and never guessed Milwaukee would have things like Growing Power. It was very cool to experience,” said Anna Goodrum.

Intercity Impact is only offered in the fall semester, but there are other service trips offered through SIEO.

“We’re thinking of planning a weekend trip during the spring semester to either Minneapolis or Chicago,” Leclair said. “So that’s something that people can be watching for on the SIEO Facebook page, the campus announcement emails or just posters around campus.”