DruryLand: The Game of Community Connections

By Sarah Jenkins '06
University Writer/Editor

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Share Your Community Connections

Drury's mission and vision state that education at Drury seeks to "liberate persons to participate responsibly and contribute to a global community" and "educate students to become engaged, ethical and compassionate citizens for servant leadership." Put simply, students cannot learn by books alone, but by experience in the world beyond the Shewmaker Gates. Read on to discover some creative ways that classes and organizations connect to the community.


The SIFE (Students In Free Enterprise) team has put business principles to work in serving individuals, businesses and communities all over the world. Projects such as the Choice and Chance Finance board game and financial literacy workshops in Tahlequah, Okla., share business knowledge with students, while the Ozarks Carbon Exchange Fund and Ozarks GreenScore help area businesses be more sustainable.

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

When Ty Pennington comes to the Ozarks looking for volunteers, he needs to look no further than Hammons School of Architecture. Drury architecture faculty and students contributed design and construction work on builds in 2005, 2007 and 2009—and another project, benefiting families affected by the Joplin tornado, is in the works this fall!

Habitat for Humanity

Since 1995, the Drury Habitat for Humanity chapter has helped build a better community, one house at a time. Dr. Valerie Eastman works with students to organize fundraisers year-round, including the annual Shantytown event that challenges students to spend a night outside in structures built out of cardboard.

Public Relations

It's a bird. It's a plane. It's a…car covered in post-it notes? A group of public relations students, under the direction of Dr. Regina Waters, literally drove their message on campus to raise awareness for CASA and help fight child abuse. Waters often asks PR classes to pick a nonprofit as the subject of their writing, but this class brought their work to life. The "Comedy for CASA" event brought The Skinny Improv to campus and raised more than $700 for the cause.

Center for Community Studies

Since 1984, Professor Jay Garrott and architecture students have worked to improve urban and rural development in area communities. Last year alone, groups worked with Carthage, Crane, Galena, Reeds Spring, Rich Hill and Stockton. Projects in these communities ranged from improving energy efficiency and creating job growth to connecting with history and increasing diversity.
Students get real experience, and towns get real solutions.

Peter & The Wolf

For more than 30 years, busloads of area elementary school students have filed into Weiser Gym to watch the annual performance of Peter & The Wolf. This collaborative project among Drury's education, music and theatre departments presents an interactive version of the classic tale. The performance is often the first live theatre experience for visiting students.


This spring, students in Kay Osborne's Principles of Entrepreneurship class got real. Five teams were given five weeks to turn $50 into profit for the nonprofit organization of their choice. The groups created mini-business ventures, such as selling ice cream floats or gift baskets on campus, and gained experience in planning, marketing and running a small business. In total, the class raised $2,490 for Boys and Girls Town, The Victim's Center, CARE animal shelter, New Hope Scholarship Fund, and Nepal NUTrition.

Chocolate University

This sweet collaboration between Drury and Askinosie Chocolate benefits students at Boyd Elementary, Pipkin Middle, and Central High School, giving them business understanding and a view of the world beyond Springfield through the lens of artisan chocolate making. In August 2010, Cocoa Honors students from Central traveled to Tanzania to see free-trade chocolate business firsthand.

Art of Space

March 2011 Art Walk was a whole new world, thanks to an installation by Drury students under the direction of Gerard Nadeau, assistant professor of architecture. The three dimensional, walk-through "art event" was constructed out of packing tape in the basement space of Gelato Mio on Park Central East. Nadeau hopes to see the project continue with more collaborative and unconventional art at other underutilized downtown spaces.

Alternative Spring Break

Each year, a small group of students chooses to forego the traditional spring break options of heading to the beach or going home to see family and instead joins Student Union Board's alternative spring break. Last year, 12 students traveled to Gulf Shores, Alabama, to volunteer at a homeless shelter and work at a Habitat for Humanity build site.

Blood Drives

Save a life. Get a free T-shirt. All in a day's work. Since 1995, there have been 33 student-led Community Blood Center of the Ozarks blood drives on campus. In the past five years, Drury drives have collected more than 1,000 donations.

Service Plunge

Orientation "Service Plunge" is an annual tradition. During their first week as Drury students, all freshmen participate in service projects with their Alpha Seminar classes.

Greek Philanthropy

Fraternities and sororities on campus work together for the greater good, raising $30,000 annually and completing 15,000 hours of service. Annual events on campus, like Pi Beta Phi's Puttin' on the Lips or Lambda Chi Alpha's Watermelon Fest, involve the entire campus in good times for a good cause.

Building Community through the Arts

"Art nourishes the human spirit" is the mantra of Dr. Rebecca Burrell as she leads graduate students in Building Community through the Arts, a summer course in creative living. For 11 years, Burrell has partnered with The Kitchen, Inc. to hold art workshops with residents of the Missouri Hotel. The project ends with an art show where residents display their creations.

Music Therapy Rock Band

Thirteen music therapy students in collaboration with 20 residents from The Gardens Assisted Living performed an intergenerational rock concert last April. Under the direction of Dr. Natalie Wlodarczyk, the group performed a variety of songs, from The Beatles to The Black Eyed Peas. Watch for an encore performance this spring.