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Tip Sheet for the week of Jan. 23, 2012

January 23, 2012

Story Idea
Twenty UW-Eau Claire students — including several from the Chippewa Valley — spent part of their winter break building houses in Alabama as part of a Habitat for Humanity project. The group, members of the Circle K student organization, traveled to Mobile, Ala., where they worked in the Hillsdale area. The area had been a tough neighborhood but in recent years many of the run-down homes were bulldozed and the Habitat organization has built about 40 new houses. As a result, the area has become a well-maintained, safe neighborhood, according to UW-Eau Claire volunteers. The volunteers helped with framing homes during their visit. Beth Harrington, a nursing major and president of Circle K, said the trip was rewarding because it was a reminder that everyone — even in just a few days and with little experience — can make a meaningful difference in the lives of families and communities. Donna Raleigh, an adviser to the group, was among those who traveled with the students. A church in Mobile provided lodging and meals, and a grant from UW-Eau Claire's Center for Service-Learning helped keep students' out-of-pocket costs reasonable. This is the second year the Circle K students have traveled during Winterim for a Habitat project. In 2011, the group went to Miami, where they worked in an impoverished part of the city. To learn more about the project or to see photos from the trip, contact Beth Harrington at or Donna Raleigh at

Story Idea
Ten social work majors spent nearly two weeks in the coalfields of eastern Kentucky and southwest Virginia as part of an Appalachian immersion trip that focused on social programs and activism in the area. Jessica Aguilar, a senior from Eau Claire, was among the students who participated in the trip. Dr. Vanda Galen, chair of the social work department, and clinical instructor Sarah Niles led the excursion. The immersion focused on the social work history of the area, the Appalachian culture and the conflicts arising in an economy based on extraction of coal. Students stayed in coal company towns, where they learned about community activism to limit mountaintop removal to extract coal. Since returning to campus, students raised money for Appalshop, a nonprofit arts and education center in Whitesburg, Ky. They raised more than $330, an amount matched by Galen, so they donated nearly $700 to the center. Students also put together a quilt representing their experiences. Each student contributed squares to the quilt, which is displayed in the social work department office in the Human Sciences and Services Building. For details, contact Dr. Vanda Galen at 715-836-5366 or; or Jessica Aguilar at

Story Idea
The UWEC Players' presentation of "I Bet It Was the Butler," a comedic murder mystery, will continue Jan. 27-28 in Kjer Theatre. The play is written and directed by student members of the UWEC Players. The play stars six members of the UWEC Players, self-described on Facebook as a "renegade theatre group" that produces student works outside the university's main stage productions. Rachael Bejin, a senior theatre arts major from Eau Claire, helped edit the script and serves as stage manager. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27, and 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28.

Visiting Expert
Civil rights activist Joanne Bland will give a lecture at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 26, in Room 007 of Phillips Science Hall for anyone interested in diversity and civil rights issues. Bland is co-founder and former director of the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute in Selma, Ala., On Friday, Jan. 27, she will meet with students in the "Women of the Civil Rights Movement" class. Also on Friday, she will meet with students at North High School who are mentored by UW-Eau Claire's Blugold Beginnings program. She also will give an all-school lecture at North. For details, contact Jodi Thesing-Ritter at 715-836-2325 or

Calendar Note
Spring 2012 semester classes begin today, Monday, Jan. 23.

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