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West Salt Lake residents interested in obtaining information about higher education will get a taste of college life through University Neighborhood Partner’s 3rd annual CommUnity Day this Saturday, Nov. 10, 2007 from 10am to 1pm. Families will meet with contacts from over a dozen University departments in the Crimson Room of the Student Union to collect information about pursuing higher education and then cheer for the University of Utah Utes football team later that afternoon. The event will also serve as a way to recognize board members, residents, and faculty partners.

CommUnity Day is an opportunity for west Salt Lake families involved in UNP partnerships to experience the University of Utah as a family, said UNP Director Dr. Rosemarie Hunter. Free tickets to the Utah Utes vs. University of Wyoming football game will be distributed to attendees to provide an opportunity for a memorable college experience.

UNP Board of Advisors co-chair Joyce P. Valdez will welcome attendees after the complimentary light breakfast. Senior Vice President for Academic affairs David Pershing will serve as keynote for the event. UNP Board of Advisors co-chair and Vice President for Institutional Advancement Fred Esplin will distribute service awards to six outgoing UNP board members and outgoing board co-chair Maria Garciaz. Hunter will honor UNP’s first scholarship recipients, Nicole Tavaui, who earned the newly established Alumni Association / UNP scholarship this summer and Abdulkhaliq Mohamed, who is the first recipient of the Harold and Joan Wolf Scholarship, a private scholarship set up through UNP this fall.

Hunter will present UNP’s 3rd annual Bridge Builder Awards to Mike Harman, Educational Liaison for the Salt Lake City School District, and to Salt Lake City Neighborhood Housing Services.  Last year’s Bridge Builder Award recipient, Victoria Mori, director of Guadalupe Schools, nominated Harman. Among the accomplishments she noted that illustrate the “energy he has infused into the west side community,” Mori cited Harman’s role as Poplar Grove Community Council Chairman and his work to develop the SOAR program through Neighborhood House Day Care Center. SOAR is a 45-day summer program for 13-14 year old youth-kids that are too young to get a job and too old to be in child care-to develop life skills such as job training, social skills, team work and community values. Mori wrote that she “can think of no individual who deserves this award more than Mike.”

Salt Lake City Neighborhood Housing Services is being honored for their exceptional leadership and their active and dedicated role in creating and sustaining three partnerships-WLI, Westside Studio, and Hartland Financial fitness program.  “NHS has had the vision to see how the connection between the University and the west side neighborhoods could benefit both. Most importantly, they have been patient and steady in their commitment to these partnerships as UNP has learned how to bridge these two worlds,” wrote UNP Associate Director Dr. Sarah Munro. She added that “NHS staff, notably Maria Garciaz and Daniel Pacheco, have worked closely with U of U faculty and students in all three partnerships. They have problem-solved and found ways to connect on a person-to-person level.”

Dr. Dolores Delgado-Bernal, Education, Culture, and Society, will be recognized as the newly appointed 2007-2008 Community Scholar in Residence. Delgado Bernal is one of the principal investigators (along with Dr. Enrique Alemán, Jr.,) of the Adelante partnership, a nationally recognized initiative to increase access to higher education for elementary-school aged children. In its third year, this college awareness and preparatory program has provided 125 hours of campus experiences for nearly 150 kindergartners, first graders and second graders and connected them to nearly 70 college student mentors. Delgado Bernal plans to use her tenure as CSIR to further develop the community-based research trajectory of the partnership.

“By helping to develop an Adelante infrastructure for community based research, I plan to collaboratively explore and write about those practices that produce outcomes for students and/or their families and disseminate new knowledge through academic and community venues,” she said.

Entertainment will be provided by the Adelante Ballet Folklorico dance group, made up of 30 first and second graders in Jackson’s Elementary’s dual-language immersion program. This will be the second time the group has performed on campus, but their first appearance at CommUnity Day.

The program concludes with a final thank you and rendition of “Happy Birthday” sung to celebrate UNP’s five years of partnership work led by Munro.

Last year as master’s of ceremonies, Esplin described CommUnity Day as “a wonderful annual event to celebrate the partnership between the University and Salt Lake City’s west side neighbors.” The amount of residents taking part in the activities indicates that “by working together, we can find ways to mutually benefit the community and University,” Esplin added.

Guided by an activities checklist, families will be encouraged to visit as many of the dozen tables staffed by University of Utah departments as possible in order to fill out a card that will serve as a raffle ticket for a various door prizes, ranging from University of Utah t-shirts, baseball caps, and water bottles, gift certificates to local eateries, and first aid kits.

Representatives from the Center for Ethnic Student Affairs, College Advising, Campus Recreation, the International Center, and Center for Disabilities Services, Office of Financial Aid, Student Recruitment, and the Student Health Center and various academic departments, including educational leadership and policy, teaching and learning, nursing, engineering, music, art, and social work will provide hands on activities for families to engage in together. These will include a hole-in-one golf game, a robotic arm exercise, and a noise machine that responds to color and motion.

Families in attendance also will receive passes to the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Natural History, and the bowling in the Student Union.

UNP bridges Utah’s flagship university, with six ethnically and culturally rich neighborhoods west of State Street in mutually-beneficial ways for both west side residents and the University of Utah community. A target area for UNP partnerships is to increase opportunities for youth education and success. CommUnity Day is one of UNP’s many collaborations that specifically addresses the educational needs of west side families by uniting University members and neighborhood residents for face-to-face connections and interactions.