Last Wednesday, September 10th, the 9th annual Community-University Partnership Program (CUPP) Block Party took place at WIU, although this year, it wasn’t much of a block party, due to all the rain we got last week. The event had to be moved inside to the Heritage Room instead of the normal location on the Sherman Hall lawn. Being inside did not stop the community or campus from having a great time, though. I attended the event and everyone was excited to be back on campus, starting the fall semester.
Macomb Mayor Mike Inman and WIU President Jack Thomas were there conversing with members of the community as well as WIU students. Businesses from all over Macomb were handing out free food and gifts. Being there to interview people for this blog didn’t stop me from grabbing some free pizza and ice cream. I was even offered a job from one of the businesses! I also walked away a winner as I won the Chamber of Commerce drawing; I won $10 worth of Chamber dollars that can be used anywhere in Macomb.
I spoke with Fisher Boyle, a freshman at WIU; he was having a great time with his friends at the event. He explained that his friends invited him to attend the Block Party and he thought it would be interesting to learn about all the businesses that are in Macomb and enjoy the free food.
“Macomb is a small town so it’s important for the students to know the community,” said Boyle.
Alex Geisler, president of the Macomb Area Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Development Corp. explained to me that only businesses that are Chamber members can participate in the CUPP event and it’s free for them to have a booth at the Block Party.
It costs the businesses anywhere from $45 to $2500 to be a Macomb Area Chamber of Commerce member; the fee depends on the size of the business.
“It is important to bring the community and University together, to have that partnership and exposure to the students,” said Geisler.
There were many families from the community and students at the event. It’s great that Western has a partnership with the community; the event helps students build relationships with members in the community. A relationship between students and the community is crucial because it helps students realize that Macomb isn’t just a “College Town” and to respect the neighborhoods, people and community as a whole.
The University and its students are a big part of Macomb and their business greatly affects the businesses in Macomb. It’s important that the students know what Macomb has to offer and this Block Party did just that.