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[PHOTO] Stepping Up: Summer 2008

Building a campus into a community

While new buildings reshape the campus, IUPUI students are building something even more dynamic: a growing sense of community. Organizations like the Student Foundation (SF), the Student Organization for Alumni Relations (SOAR) and the Student- Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) are changing social and cultural life on campus, while bringing the Jaguar spirit to community service efforts throughout the city.

Student Foundation members, for example, "promote the Jaguars spirit and create an atmosphere where students feel like they belong to the campus," says 2008 Kelley School of Business graduate Le Hong, an SF member throughout her IUPUI career.

Melissa Barb, a 2008 School of Physical Education and Tourism Management graduate and a past SF president, says making connections is a big advantage.

"We host lots of campus events for civic leaders and we meet a lot of people we otherwise wouldn't," Barb says. "It's great for networking!"

That's also a major advantage to SOAR, says 2007-08 president Natalie Clayton.

"We volunteer for major campus events," says Clayton, a major in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs. "You meet professionals who might one day give you a job — that's such a great benefit!"

SAAC has a different focus: support fellow IUPUI athletes in the classroom and on the field, and build a positive image of IUPUI intercollegiate athletics.

"We're the student voice in the athletic department," says SAAC president Victoria Wheeler, a School of Nursing major and a senior on this year's women's swimming and diving team. To encourage one another, the SAAC created the Jag Cup, in which IUPUI teams compete to "earn points for going to each other's games, making academic achievement lists, community service projects, and more," says Wheeler.

Social and career benefits are exciting, but SF, SAAC and SOAR students say service is a big part of what they do, whether it's supporting Riley Hospital for Children, working with children or helping at city food banks.

"We're passionate about what we do," says Barb. "We put our heart and soul into everything we try. Each year, more students get involved, and it all builds IUPUI's future."