UW-Whitewater, one of the UW System’s premier campuses, continues to expand its impact and reach into the communities it serves in southeastern Wisconsin with the opening of its new Community Engagement Center.
The 52,000-square-foot building is located at 1260 Main St., about four blocks west of campus. The facility embodies the Wisconsin Idea – that education should influence people’s lives beyond the boundaries of the classroom by promoting and coordinating services, learning opportunities, and innovation for communities that are historically underserved. Synonymous with Wisconsin for more than a century, this “Idea” is the guiding philosophy of university outreach efforts.
“With the opening of the Community Engagement Center, UW-Whitewater builds upon its long history of service to the community,” Chancellor Dwight C. Watson said. “Every year our faculty, staff and students spend hundreds of hours providing services and volunteer hours to the Whitewater community, our region and beyond. We are recognized nationally for this work – as evidenced by our Community Engagement Classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching – and this new endeavor will strengthen our efforts even further.”
A vibrant, modern and flexible space, the Community Engagement Center moves several university services to one location that provides easy access for clients and showcases the dynamic work carried out by the university in our community.
Some of the services that are relocating from the UW-Whitewater campus are:
- Small Business Development Center, Wisconsin Innovation Services Center and the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship
- Continuing Education Services, including adult and community outreach services
- Clinical practicum area
- Certified testing center
- Center for Inclusive Transition, Education and Employment
- Education Assessment Center
- Occupational and Environmental Safety and Health Department safety lab
- An art gallery and lab space for the visual arts
- Printing Services community use location
- Storage area for marching band and theatre props and costumes
The building offers ample space for co-working where students, faculty, staff and community members can work individually or together on projects. There is outdoor meeting space as well.
Vice Chancellor for Administrative Affairs Grace Crickette worked closely with campus and community constituents to help determine the best offerings to be located at the center.
“The Community Engagement Center is designed to be an innovative hub for collaboration and we look forward to seeing the impact it will have on our region,” Crickette said. “Community organizations and businesses can meet in this exciting new facility where experts are readily available. The Community Engagement Center will be enhanced by the future opening of the Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott Hotel, located on the south side of the property. The building has high-speed Internet service and a catering kitchen so that conferences and other large-scale events can be hosted there.”
The Community Engagement Center furnishings are more than 90 percent upcycled from furniture and accessories from other UW System campuses.
“We are committed not only to being great stewards of our money, but also the environment,” Crickette said. “Our staff collaborated with our sister campuses and found reusable items at little to no cost. These items add to the vibrant look and feel of the CEC. Our students expect us to be focused on sustainability, and we fully embraced that directive with this project.”
A grand opening of the Community Engagement Center will be held on Thursday, Dec. 5, in conjunction with UW-Whitewater hosting the UW System Board of Regents meeting.
Gina Elmore, who also serves as a development coordinator for the Office of Human Resources and Diversity, will manage the Community Engagement Center. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 262-472-1219.