April 26, 2001
Vol. 20 No. 15

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    Clinton, McCain will address convention hosted by University

    By Peter Schuler
    News Office

    In June, the University will welcome 1,100 participants to the seventh National Convention of City Year, an Americorps national service program. The University will serve as the host site for the convention. Former President Bill Clinton and U.S. Senator John McCain are among the national figures who will address the gathering.

    Founded in 1988, City Year is modeled after the Peace Corps and offers young people the opportunity to spend a year working in urban communities. In exchange for their service they receive a small weekly stipend and a $4,725 year-end award that can be applied to college tuition or student loans.

    Scheduled from Wednesday, June 13, through Sunday, June 17, the convention will involve nearly 1,100 participants, all of whom will be housed in various campus residence halls. Ceremonies and conference sessions will be held at a number of locations on campus, including the Henry Crown Field House, Mandel Hall, Ida Noyes Hall and the Reynolds Club. The convention includes four days of workshops, policy discussions, keynote addresses and a community service day in three city neighborhoods.

    More than 5,000 young people have served with City Year since its inception, with more than $180 million from the public and private sector committed to the program. Now active in 13 U.S. cities, City Year participants have served a total of 7.2 million hours of community work. The convention is titled “cyzygy,” derived from the astronomical term “syzygy” that refers to a perfect alignment of planets.

    City Year’s Executive Director in Chicago Craig Huffman, a 1994 graduate of the School of Social Service Administration, and Julie Patel (A.B., ’00), who is currently a corps member, will join Kadi Tierney, cyzygy National Director, to coordinate this year’s convention. Hank Webber, Vice President of Community Affairs, Pamela Bird, Assistant Director of Community Affairs, and Michelle Obama, Associate Dean of the Student Services Division, will lead the University’s support.

    “It is our hope that the convention will highlight the University’s involvement in the surrounding communities and serve as a unifying event for the South Side of the city,” said Webber.

    Bird added, “We also recognized hosting this convention as an exciting opportunity to showcase our University to nearly 1,000 potential students and showcase City Year to our students as an opportunity for community service.”

    On Saturday, May 5, the University Community Service Center and City Year will join forces for UCSC’s Spring Quarter Day of Service. Teams of students, faculty, staff and City Year corps members will work on daylong service projects in Woodlawn, Washington Park and other communities. Service projects will include beautification, painting, gardening and working with children. For more information on organizing a team or participating, contact Nirav at ucsc@uchicago.edu or (773) 753-GIVE.

    In Chicago, City Year’s corps members work in neighborhoods throughout Chicago. They teach adult literacy, tutor students in after-school programs, counsel battered women, teach first aid and foster community organization, among other activities. A guiding principal of City Year is the opportunity for individuals from diverse socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds to work together for common goals.

    Clinton proposed the Americorps concept during his 1991 presidential campaign and made it one of his key public policy initiatives. He has continued to be an enthusiastic supporter of Americorps and City Year.

    The program also receives support from major corporate sponsors, and this year’s conference will bring to campus Timberland CEO Jeffery Swartz, Massachusetts Financial Services CEO Jeff Shames and Newsweek correspondent Jonathan Alter.