Community Engaged Fellows Aglow

December 5, 2012

Xavier University’s Community Engaged Fellows helped a nonprofit participate in a neighborhood window display celebration. OTRaglow ( kicked off a week's worth of holiday events in Over-the-Rhine on Nov. 30.

Over 40 competitors in three categories - business, residential and nonprofit - registered their holiday and OTR themed window displays in this first year competition. Official judging began Saturday, Dec. 1 and runs through Friday, Dec. 7. Competition organizers recognized that many nonprofits allocate most of their resources to working with their clients during this busy season, and offered them the opportunity to be adopted by student teams to build community, share their story, and celebrate the holiday season together. The Art Academy, located in Over-the-Rhine, and Xavier University designed and decorated three storefronts for local nonprofits Power Inspires Progress, the Contact Center, and Homeless Partnership.

Xavier’s Community Engaged Fellows got into the competition by adopting Power Inspires Progress (PIP), and their Venice on Vine restaurant storefront at 1301 Vine Street. Fellow Emily Boutilier, a junior art education major, designed a theme that was executed by junior Caroline Lee (a biology major from Bethesda, MD 20817) and sophomore Michael Murray, also Fellows. Xavier senior Sean Luke of DeSoto, Texas, currently living in the Over-the-Rhine as part of Xavier’s Urban Service Learning Semester and volunteering at Venice, helped facilitate the collaboration and get Venice’s trainees involved in creating the display. The window is titled “Under the Rialto Bridge” and surrounds the famous Italian landmark with a collage of past and present photos of Over-the-Rhine and of current and past PIP trainees. (see photo).

Boutilier took inspiration from her study-abroad experience this summer in Italy, and found a meaningful connection between the country that gives the restaurant its name as well as the important opportunity that Power Inspires Progress offers women in its innovative job training program.

“We chose to depict the Rialto Bridge not only because of its location in Venice, but also because it represents the mission of Venice on Vine (and PIP). PIP helps inner city adults bridge the gap between a life they had and a life they envision themselves having in the future,” Boutilier said.

Xavier’s Community Engaged Fellowship was established in 1989 to reward incoming freshmen who excelled in service and sought engagement as part of their undergraduate experience. Recipients must perform ten hours of service each week during their college careers, while serving as role models for other students and promoting Jesuit ideals on campus. When introduced, the Fellowship was groundbreaking - few schools rewarded such commitment. In 1991, CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Kuralt featured the program, interviewing Fellows and the organizations and individuals they served. The Fellowship has continued to grow a culture of engagement on Xavier’s campus as well as impact surrounding communities with thousands of hours of service. Fellows are recognized by the University as student leaders and alumni of this important program have gone on to successful careers in government, nonprofit, academic, and private sector pursuits. The Eigel Center oversees the program and connects community partners and projects.

The OTRaglow community celebration is presented by the Over-the-Rhine Foundation, OTR Chamber of Commerce, and Urban Sites.

For more information, please contact Sean Rhiney, director of the Eigel Center for Community-Engaged Learning at