Community Impact Report Shows University’s ‘Anchor’ Role in Rogers Park and Edgewater

This year’s Community Impact Report went over issues such as building sustainably and supporting minority groups in their mission to achieve higher education.

Loyola hosted a Zoom meeting April 18 where university administrators went over this year’s Community Impact Report, a document published annually by the university to outline all of the ways the university is impacted, interacts with and is influenced by the surrounding area.

Attending the meeting was Jennifer Clark, associate vice president of campus of campus and community planning, Summur Roberts, director of community relations, and Cecilia Rodriguez, project manager and business development head.

After being published, the report is sent to partners, elected representatives and funders of the university such as alumni who make large annual donations and members of the university board.

Loyola is one of two Chicagoland universities, along with the University of Chicago, to participate in the annual Community Impact Report, according to Roberts. 

The work of the report details Loyola’s efforts within its status as an “anchor” in the community, a task which the university has split into five pillars — “educate, heal, build, serve and research,” according to Roberts. 

In the Zoom, Roberts said the first pillar, “educate,” serves to share information about increasing access to higher education for minority groups. 

In order to achieve this, the university opened the Arrupe College of Loyola, a two-year program designed to be an affordable option for students to pursue a higher education, according to the university website

Within the Arrupe student population, 96% identify as people of color, 13% are undocumented, 83% are graduates of the Chicago Public Schools system and 77% will graduate the program without any student debt, according to Roberts.

Loyola partnered with Hope Chicago, an organization which aims to fund education access for first-generation students and their parents, according to the program’s website

Thanks to a recent $100 million dollar gift from John and Kathy Schreiber, Loyola is also working to increase student access to education through the reduction of the barrier of the cost of education for historically underrepresented students via the allocation of scholarship from the fund, The Phoenix previously reported. 

Roberts said Loyola is always looking to find ways to attract a diverse student population through this kind of work.

“Loyola really strives to support vulnerable populations to address the real challenges that are negatively impacting quality of life and have negative outcomes for our community,” Roberts said.

The second pillar, “heal,” is an effort by the university to actively attempt to heal, connect and support those facing health and safety issues within the university and the surrounding community.

One initiative which the university is participating in, White Coats for Black Lives, is a program which promotes solidarity with Black people working in the medical field and leverages the power of physicians to create equity in healthcare, according to the program’s website.

Loyola hosted a half-day event in order to educate about gun violence, with speeches from victims, healthcare providers, local leaders and law enforcement in April 2022,  according to Roberts.

Roberts also said the university also offers free courses and instructor training to empower bystanders to help in a bleeding emergency. 

The third pillar, “build,” focused on the university’s work in the past year to create a more environmentally sustainable campus. 

Loyola has among the most environmentally sustainable institutions in the country, according to Roberts, who said the Lake Shore Campus contains 13 LEED certified buildings, and 84,000 square feet of green roofs. 

LEED certified buildings must meet requirements surrounding sustainability in order to gain certification, according to the U.S. Green Building Council website.

Other examples of Loyola’s commitment to sustainability include its stormwater management systems and geo-thermal heating and cooling systems, as well as shuttle buses which are run on homemade biodiesel created in the School of Environmental Sustainability.

“All of the materials that we are using on campus are designed to not create a more sustainable future for our communities,” Roberts said. 

The build pillar also covered developments within the campus, such as the renaming of the outside of the Loyola Red Line stop as the Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, BVM Plaza, where the university plans to restart a late summer and early fall university farmers market.

Roberts also discussed the Elevate Devon Corridor Plan which was recently unveiled, The Phoenix previously reported

A discussion about the expansion of the Ramblin’ Around student experience guide to the university’s Health Sciences Campus in Maywood was included in the build section of the presentation as well. The Ramblin’ Around guide gives students an overview of local restaurants and places to visit on campus and in this city of Chicago. 

The fourth pillar, “serve,” spoke about community partnerships which the university has become involved in or remained involved within the past year. 

Robert said the university has given about $135,000 directly to local nonprofit organizations in the last year.

The university also aids with direct service work through events such as the Saturday of Service, which draws over 200 students annually in Edgewater and Rogers Park to become involved in community service work, according to Roberts. 

Other service work the university participates in includes the Loyola 4 Chicago initiative, Strich Day of Service in Maywood, the Village Pride Village Wide in Maywood and the Staff and Faculty Ignatian Day of Service

The fifth and final pillar of the initiative is “research.” This pillar covered the Center for Urban Research and Learning. This program focuses on urban greening and displacement on Loyola’s campuses, according to the website

“Doing reports like this enable our partners to understand Loyola’s work, and also see itself reflected in that work,” Roberts said. “Capturing data is the number one thing that makes this engine work and allows us to demonstrate our values and our mission with illustrations and narratives that are interlaced with supporting data.”

Featured image by Aidan Cahill | The Phoenix

Lilli Malone

Lilli Malone