Higher Education: McKendree’s social media efforts honored

Scott Wuerz
Scott Wuerz

McKendree University in Lebanon was honored in two of the most competitive categories in the 2015 Education Digital Marketing Awards.

The awards recognize the best educational websites, digital content, electronic communications, mobile media and social media.

McKendree received a gold award in the social media category. In the digital video category, the university received a silver award for its “Endless Opportunities” video and a merit award for its Nicaragua immersion trip video.

The competition was sponsored by the Atlanta-based Higher Education Marketing Report. Entries were judged on exceptional quality, creativity and message effectiveness, by a national panel of industry specialists.

McKendree University’s social network encompasses approximately 150 accounts over 10 platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and study abroad blogs. In addition to university-maintained accounts, several special interest groups use social media to connect with current and prospective students, alumni, parents and supporters.

SWIC seeks applicants for senior art contest

Seniors with a flair for art are urged to submit their work for an art show at Southwestern Illinois College.

Life Experienced — A Senior Art Competition is sponsored by the school, the St. Clair County Office on Aging, the Gateway East Artists’ Guild and Art on the Square.

Artists 60 and older who reside in the SWIC district or are members of the GEAG are invited to showcase their artistic abilities and have a chance to win prize money. Selected entries will be displayed at an exhibition March 4-7 at the Schmidt Art Center. An opening reception will be held from 6-8 p.m. March 3.

Categories for submission include: painting and mixed media; drawing and printmaking; fine crafts; photography and digital art; and sculpture and ceramics. Applications are due by Friday, Jan. 29 and an entry fee — $10 for one piece; $15 for two pieces — is required for each artist.

For more information or to get a copy of the application form, visit or or call 618-234-4410, ext. 7056.

SIUE engineering students use skills to bring water to Guatemalan villagers

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Engineering students are on a mission to build a sustainable water distribution system and provide access to clean drinking water in a remote Guatemalan village.

Students in the university’s Engineers Without Borders organization will travel to the community of Virginia Dec. 30-Jan. 7 to assess the viability of digging a deep well to accommodate the village’s needs.

“The community does not have any running water,” explained Caleb Mau, project manager and civil engineering student. “They have two small streams that run across their property. They have six wells in their community, but during the dry season, from November to May, only one of those retains water, and it’s privately owned.

“They have to walk a mile to wash their clothes, bathe and get drinking water from the small streams, which are contaminated,” Mau added.

Mustard Seed Peace Project, based in Alton, is coordinating the project with the students. Project President Terri Cranmer and professional environmental/water resources engineer Allen Oertel will accompany four SIUE students on the trip.

Student participants include Mau, a native of Bonfield, Alejandro Alvarez, of Chicago, Julian Chastain, of O’Fallon and Sarah Lepp, of Waterloo, all civil engineering majors. While in Virginia, the team will conduct extensive water testing and surveying.

“We’re going to test water from the streams, wells and any other potential water sources,” Mau said. “The hope is that with the well, since water is coming from deep underground, it won’t be contaminated, and we won’t have to treat it.”

The project will have to go through multiple stages before it comes to fruition. Future phases will involve post-assessment reports and analysis, final design approval, another trip to the village, implementation phases and project monitoring and evaluation, with a total cost of approximately $77,000.

The key component to ensuring continued success once the project is complete is sustainability. According to Mau, EWB-USA requires that the community contribute 5-10 percent of the total cost to ensure it is committed to maintaining the system.