Close this search box.

Celebrating Community Impact: Illinois Tech joins Pitch in for the Parks

During Year 2 of the EcoCAR EV Challenge, teams took on the role of community ambassadors, participating in meaningful initiatives that surpassed the competition’s technical requirements and deliverables. By representing EcoCAR in various community service activities such as volunteering at food drives, participating in mentorship programs and leading park clean-ups, teams exemplified EcoCAR’s broader mission of promoting sustainability and social responsibility through proactive community engagement. Because of this, the Outstanding Community Impact award was created to honor teams for their extraordinary effort to make a difference in their communities on behalf of the EcoCAR program.

This year, Illinois Tech earned the Outstanding Community Impact award for their community enrichment by partnering with the Chicago Parks Foundation for the Pitch in for the Parks initiative.

Pitch in for the Parks took place at Dunbar Park in Chicago’s historic Bronzeville neighborhood, located near the Illinois Tech campus. Dunbar Park hosts a variety of programs such as community classes, youth and intramural sports, and congregation spaces. This park was chosen by the team to focus their efforts because of its close ties with the surrounding Bronzeville community members and Illinois Tech students.

 “Participating in “Pitch in for the Parks” gave our team the opportunity to speak about EcoCAR and the Chicago Parks Foundation,” said Nadia Netolicky, Illinois Tech Equity and Mobility Lead. “Most importantly, it allowed us to have meaningful conversations to build networks about community needs and EVs. It’s important for our team to stay in touch with the people we design and work with. By understanding the community needs, our team can advocate for them during outreach with government officials,” she added.

For the team, Pitch in for the Parks was more than a physical restoration activity; it was a holistic approach to community building. Illinois Tech leveraged the project to initiate crucial dialogues on sustainable practices and electric vehicle (EV) adoption within Bronzeville.

According to Chelsea Nguyen, Illinois Tech Communications Manager, one of the key takeaways from this activity was the ability to build trust and credibility within their community.

“Community involvement is important in developing a relationship with the community our team seeks to reach and impact,” said Nguyen. “By getting involved, our team is visibly making an impact through our works and activities. When community members see consistent efforts and positive impact from your team, they are more likely to trust and support our team’s initiatives.”

Illinois Tech’s proactive engagement serves as a powerful example of how community presence and involvement is important to connect directly with community members. The team demonstrated how to address local needs while advocating for sustainable solutions. Their dedication to fostering collaboration and trust within Bronzeville showcases their dedication to conscientious engineering and community needs.

In honoring Illinois Tech with the first ever Outstanding Community Impact award, we applaud their commitment to helping their community through volunteering and engaging in meaningful conversations. Congratulations to Illinois Tech for their well-earned recognition.