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  Workshop 6: Civic Engagement  
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Workshop 6

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Student Perspectives: Service learning projects

Andy: (River clean-up project) Our project is the Schwartzman Complex. It shreds complex metal material--mostly automobiles. They separate the metal and the plastics and stuff from the cars. There is a lot of pollution in the ground as well as on the surface of the area and the complex is located right near the Rum River, which is connected to the Mississippi River. Any hazardous waste that could travel from the complex to the river could cause problems in both rivers. Our project is to try and find a way to diminish that and get rid of the surface waste before it travels into the rivers, as well as to deal with the long-term effect of the hazardous material.

John: (River clean-up project) We chose this project because we’re really connected to the river. The river has a lot to do with the whole city. We know that our age group is really connected to the river because there’s a lot of activity we can do, such as fishing, swimming, and boating. We want to keep [the river] clean for future generations, such as our kids. It would be good to preserve a great resource that we have for our community.

Rachel: (Commuter rail project) We were listening to a City Council member talk about how the North Star Corridor Train was dead. We were just amazed to hear that because it was not what we wanted to hear. It didn’t make any sense. Mr. Mittlefehldt came back a couple days later, saying that he had talked to some of his contacts and had heard that it wasn’t dead--that there was still a chance if somebody wanted to work on this project.

I don’t like waiting in traffic and I don’t like having other people wait in traffic. This $147 million has been there for seven years, and they haven’t done anything about it. They’ve rejected all offers to get this going. As a last-ditch effort, we need to go down there and see how the House works and hear what the major opponents of this are saying. They are Republicans, when most of the Republicans throughout the country support commuter rail. That in itself really didn’t make sense to me, and I figure what they must be doing is trying to get a Republican governor. Their numbers don’t make sense in regard to newer studies, and they’re using the old ones when they know that there are new ones. If this were a matter of numbers, it would have been done a long time ago.

I never thought that I would get to go down to the capital and meet different legislators and go down to their offices and into the retiring room behind the House floor. I’m excited to go paint our sign. I was excited to design the sign, and I was very excited to just interact in my community and get together with some people at the county and discuss what we could do to help save this.

Male student: (Riverfest project) We are trying to bring the historic sense of Anoka back to the river—that’s a unique positive attribute for Anoka history. In the past five years, Anoka has held a Riverfest event, but it’s not something totally new. One of our ideas is a canoe race, which actually dates back to about the 1930s or ‘40s, when a canoe race started somewhere off the Mississippi. They would spend their last night in Anoka before going to Minneapolis. We’re trying to get volunteers to help with the Riverfest. We need somebody to sponsor it, partially to cover the insurance costs. It’s beneficial to both parties because they get advertised and get their names out there in the public. We want the Council to help get the canoe race going. If it doesn’t work out this year, we still want it to work out next year or maybe years after that. We made a commercial to run on a local cable channel and we hope to be able to promote the Riverfest with this commercial. We’d like the Council to help get UCTV to run that quite often. Anoka had more connection with the river in its past and we hope that Riverfest in the future will bring people down to the river and possibly bring people from other areas of Minnesota or even around the country to visit our town.


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