Teresa Hull and Mike Greene with the Into the Streets Quilt
One of the major components of a community college is right there in the name—community. For Chandler-Gilbert Community College (CGCC), working with and in the community is an important part of its 30-year history.
Many of CGCC’s employees have been part of its community efforts for over 20 years and have seen the impact first-hand. Of those are Teresa Hull, Administrative Support for Nursing. “I started as a Work Study employee with Service-Learning in the fall of 2002 before moving to Nursing in April 2010; that time included 16 Into the Streets events,” said Hull.
Into the Streets is something that many CGCC employees recount when discussing the college’s community connection. Mike Greene, CGCC Student Services Director, describes it as a once-a-semester day of service. “It was a model that faculty and their students could utilize service for their enhancement of what they were teaching/learning in their classrooms. Hundreds of students would serve at various community-based organizations in the fall and spring semesters on a Friday and/or Saturday. They would serve at youth-serving organizations like the Boys and Girls Club and YMCA; senior serving-organizations like the Chandler and Gilbert Senior Center as well as Assisted Living Facilities like Park Regency; and/or basic needs-organizations like Paz de Christo and AZCEND.”
Unfortunately, the event was discontinued during the Covid surge and hasn’t been held since 2020. But—perhaps still hanging in the back of their closets—the faculty, staff and student leaders from past events have a colorful shirt that designated them as the site leaders from every year they participated.
For many, including Hull and Greene, the t-shirts were more than just a uniform for the day. Hull has vivid memories about the event shirts. “During that time, we had many different colors of Into the Streets t-shirts made for participants, and I collected them all,” she said. Hull did more than collect the shirts; she decided to create something special for the college. “For years I thought about making them into a quilt, but I could not decide who I would give it to. When I decided to actually do it, I chose to give it to Student Life, but realized I was two shirts short to complete the top. I put out a call to a few people and professor Heather Horn came through with one that had been lightly used—mine had been in a drawer for years, not worn, so I needed a couple in a similar state of wear. With that one more shirt I was able to use a CGCC shirt as the center piece and complete the quilt top.” It was complete.
“I am amazed at what Teresa was able to capture about the spirit of Into the Streets with that quilt,” said Greene. The creation of the quilt brought with it recollections of a special time in Hull’s career. “In the sewing process many memories returned of my In the Streets experiences—great memories of co-workers, experiences and organizations I worked with through those 16 events,” Hull said. “One fun memory is when Russ Luce decided on pink for the color one year, and people doubted whether the men would want to wear them; it turned out to be the most popular color ever! All the male campus leadership wanted a pink shirt—it was great!”
At that time, Luce worked in Student Life. Now, Luce continues his work at CGCC as Athletic Director. Although he is no longer directly involved with Student Life, he knows the importance of the opportunities to be invested in where you live. “If we are truly a community college, then we should have community in our work,” said Luce. “We should be active in being involved in where we work, live, and with those we educate.”
So without Into the Streets, how can students get involved in service projects now? According to Greene, there are volunteer opportunities available for all students and employees through regularly scheduled CommUNITY events, which are scheduled and are posted in Coyote Connect [a CGCC Student Life portal] for all to sign up. Students can also visit Student Life to find out more.
And as for the colorful quilt, it still hangs in the Student Life offices. “Lots of blood sweat and tears were involved in supporting our community over the years,” recalled Greene. “I was very happy and glad that Theresa was able to capture it with a very tangible reminder of so many memories, with more to come.”