Community Day 2014: Nurturing a Special Partnership

Events showcase next chapter of Albion College, city of Albion connection

For Community Day 2014, Albion College and the City of Albion collaborated on a new pocket park at Michigan and Monroe streets.
Students helped get the park ready for its opening. Until recently, a long-closed gas station occupied the property.
A little sweat equity: Shovels at the ready and wheelbarrows full of mulch.
Students put their shovels to work.
Project organizer Gregg Strand, the College's director of corporate and foundation relations, speaks to community members and other guests in attendance.
Albion Mayor Joe Domingo also shared a few words at the park opening.
Albion College President Mauri Ditzler and Mayor Domingo.
Peggy Sindt, '73, president of the Albion Economic Development Corporation, and Whitehouse Nature Center Director David Green.
Along with Community Day and President Ditzler's Inauguration, Albion College also celebrated Family Weekend on September 12-13.
Students work the children's play area near the Dow Center entrance before the football game.
President Ditzler with the Loeschner family during a pregame ceremony dedicating the new video scoreboard at Sprankle-Sprandel Stadium.
Ditzler stands with the football team co-captains for the coin toss at midfield.
Francois Amet and Annick Theis-Viemont (left), representatives of sister cities Noisy-le-Roi and Bailly, France, watch the football game vs. Illinois Wesleyan.
Students and fans enjoyed the cool yet sunny afternoon at Sprankle-Sprandel Stadium.
Albion-area ministers with Mauri and Judy Ditzler (center) at the evening Community Blessing Service at Lewis Chapel AME Church.

September 15, 2014 | By Jake Weber (photos by David Lawrence) | #CelebrateAlbion on Twitter

Beyond the always popular football game, Albion College’s Community Day 2014—on Saturday, September 13—highlighted President Mauri Ditzler’s interest in strengthening the bonds between College and city. With Mayor Joe Domingo, Ditzler dedicated “Collaboration Corner” at East Michigan and Monroe streets. The park site will remain under the ownership of the Calhoun County Land Bank, with Albion College providing routine maintenance and support.

Gregg Strand, the College’s director of corporate and foundation relations, thanked a number of players in the park’s conception and creation, including city officials, College staff, the Albion Community Foundation, Biggby Coffee (located next door), and a number of College student organizations. He noted that Domingo came up with the name “Collaboration Corner,” and devoted both city and personal resources. “Anybody who likes this should thank Joe,” Strand said.

Domingo remembered the site as a former Clark gas station where he worked as a teenager “when you could drive all night with 50 cents’ worth of gas,” he said. “This corner goes to show you what collaboration can do. This is the beginning of a new era for Albion College, the city, and all its citizens.”

Watch our highlight video of the Collaboration Corner project.
A dozen Albion ministers, along with congregation and community members and the Ditzler family, gathered Saturday evening at Lewis Chapel AME for a Community Blessing Service, ending the festivities centered around Ditzler’s inauguration the day before. At the end of the service, Ditzler was invited to share his vision for a stronger College integration with the community.

Ditzler explained his vision of the College as a resource and partner. If fixing any individual problem was easy, he said, “someone would have done it a long time ago. Those of you who have been here a long time, working on the tough problems, you’re happy that the College wants to help. You know [the challenges] are really hard and you aren’t going to do it without the College—just like we couldn’t do it without you,” he said.

“Things are harder than we all think,” Ditzler concluded, “but they’re possible when we realize how to work together."