Partnership between Marquette university, local corporations: Receives civic engagement award

Contact: Gavin Luter, 608-890-3224
[email protected]

The Near West Side Partners (NWSP), a non-profit founded through support from Marquette University, Aurora Health Care, Harley-Davidson, MillerCoors and Potawatomi Business Development Corporation, works to revitalize and sustain Milwaukee’s Near West side as a thriving business and residential corridor. For their work improving lives for residents, students and employees in that neighborhood, the Near West Side Partners will receive an Esther Letven Campus-Community Partnership Award. The award will be presented by the Wisconsin Campus Compact on April 18 at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, as part of the Civic Engagement Institute.

The Esther Letven Campus-Community Partnership Award recognizes up to two outstanding campus-community partnerships that produce measurable community impact as well as student growth and learning. The purpose of this award is to honor partnerships that have successfully demonstrated a mutually beneficial and mutually invested partnership between higher education and community.

The five institutions have committed financial and human resources to the NWSP through 2019. The NWSP has connected university, government, industry, resident and nonprofit partners to generate increased economic opportunity and greater support of public systems in the area. For Marquette University students, the partnership has provided many opportunities for service and leadership. Hundreds of students and more than a dozen faculty from the Marquette campus have been involved in the partnership, and have learned important lessons about structuring civic engagement relationships and considering how anchors, residents, students and employees can work together to build a stronger, healthier community.

“Marquette University is proud to be located in Milwaukee’s Near West Side and is committed to the long-term investment and development of this community – for our students, our staff, and our neighbors,” says Dr. Michael Lovell, president of Marquette University. “Working together with each of our major anchor institutions, we know that we can revitalize this important part of our City, making it among the best places to live, work, play and learn in the country.”

Since the partnership was created, home sales have increased, a new park and community garden were developed and the Near West Side welcomed three new restaurants and a gas station. Residents have connected with each other in new ways, too, forming a resident council, expanding community meetings and creating neighborhood ambassadors to respond to safety concerns and provide resources to community members.

“We’ve been able to achieve so much, so fast, because of the power of collaboration, bringing together the resources of each of our anchor institutions – Aurora Health Care, Harley-Davidson, Marquette University, MillerCoors and Potawatomi Business Development Corporation,” says Rana Altenburg, VP of Public Affairs at Marquette University and Board President of Near West Side Partners. “Together, we are able to achieve what none of us could do on our own – revitalize and sustain this key part of our community.”

The Wisconsin Campus Compact will present five other awards at the April 18 Civic Engagement Institute. Campus Compact is a national coalition of nearly 1,100 colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education. In 2002, Wisconsin joined National Campus Compact’s movement toward an institutionalized commitment of civic engagement and service-learning. Learn more about the Wisconsin Campus Compact at