by Marian Slaughter
When CUE first opened its doors some three years ago, the majority of its assistance to communities came in the form of supporting long-term partnerships developed between researchers and community groups focused on collecting data and other sorts of information to be used to address a complex, community- identified issue, challenge or aspiration.
However, it didn’t take long before CUE recognized that neighborhoods and community groups also required more short-term but equally critical University support and information to address community-based needs.
In this issue of the CUE Newsletter, we would like to share the story of how Lisa Veldran, president of the Meadowood Neighborhood Association and member of the Southwest Madison Community Organizers (SWMCO) was able to use CUE to identify and hire UW-Madison senior Nina Rembert as an intern to manage the summer of 2013 Meadowood Community Farmer’s Market! This interview was conducted by Marian Slaughter, CUE Engaged Scholar.
Marian Slaughter (MS): Please describe the project/job for which you wanted CUE assistance?
Lisa Veldran (LV): Mayor Paul Soglin started the City’s Meet & Eat events (a gathering of food cart vendors in a specified location allowing community members to “meet & eat”) in Meadowood in 2012. The Meadowood location was to be a pilot that, if successful, would be moved to another location in the city the following year. The events were so successful in 2012 that Mayor Soglin decided to continue the Meet & Eats in Meadowood in 2013.
A survey conducted by the City Parks Division revealed that residents wanted a farmers market to be offered in addition to the food cart program. Developing a farmers market from the ground up is a huge task and needed assistance. I had worked with student interns in Meadowood in other capacities and contacted Marian Slaughter and Beth Tryon on the possibility of developing a student internship for the Meadowood Community Farmers Market.
MS: Why did you prefer to hire a student intern?
LV: [The] Meadowood neighborhood has a history of UW-Madison student involvement: the Meadowood Frontyard Garden project, Meadowood Community Garden and a youth organizer. I knew that UW-Madison was committed to the city and that the city was welcoming.
MS: What made you seek out the help of CUE to assist you in your job search? How did you know that you could ask CUE for help with this hiring?
LV: I had worked with Marian Slaughter in her capacity at the South West Madison Community Organizers (SWMCO) group. Her involvement in our neighborhood has made a huge difference in how we think about issues.
MS: How did CUE help you? What sorts of tasks did CUE help you with?
LV: Meeting with Marian and Beth provided me an opportunity to further develop the farmers’ market concept at the Meet & Eat events. It was helpful for them to ask questions and for me to think about them.
MS: In what way/s did CUE help you find a suitable intern?
LV: By assisting in development of the job description. [It] helped immensely to find the right person.
MS: Would you use CUE again for a similar purpose?
MS: Would you recommend that others use CUE?
MS: Is there anything else that you would like to add?
LV: I was very happy with the intern that was eventually hired. It was a learning process for both of us, and now I know what we need to do next year!
CUE staff have repeatedly heard community members comment that one of the most important values of CUE is its function as a “Front door” into the rich, yet highly decentralized University. While CUE continues to develop different ways to facilitate community access to the University, as can be seen through the responses of Ms. Veldran, it is off to a positive start. Not only is CUE supporting neighborhoods with access to UW-Madison support and resources, in this case, UW-Madison students are afforded opportunities to contribute their knowledge, enthusiasm, and commitment to public service to promote the health and welfare of the larger community! ￭