Collectively Upgrading, Restoring, and Beautifying our schools.
According to Forbes, we only get a seven second window to make a first impression before someone makes a judgement. As humans we instinctively make quick judgements, and then stick with those preconceptions until they are challenged. This hangs over how we perceive and interact with that which we’ve judged for months or even years!
The average age of an Oshkosh Area School District building is 78 years. That’s a long time! An onslaught of images comes to mind when I think of structures of that age, predominantly the beautiful brickwork featured on so many of our schools, but with anything there are pros and cons. During a community listening session hosted by Oshkosh4Education (O4E), community members indicated that unwelcoming entrances, overgrown foliage, and neglected walkways gave visitors an unfavorable impression of our school district.
Thanks to these community listening sessions and citywide support from groups like the Oshkosh Area School District (OASD), Oshkosh Area Community Foundation (OACF), Partners at Learning (PALS), community activists, and Parent-Teacher Organizations (PTO) from the schools, Project CURB arose from the marketing arm of O4E under the leadership of Beth Wyman.
Project CURB was announced to the Oshkosh community at large during a launch event on April 27th at Webster Stanley Middle School. It is a community-driven effort to improve the curb appeal at all public schools, with the mission to collectively upgrade, restore, and beautify our schools.
What is the end-goal of Project CURB?
On Saturday, September 23rd between 8:00-12:00 every public school in the district will get a makeover, so to speak. Project CURB will ensure that the exteriors of our schools match the academic excellence taking place inside. Thousands of volunteers will come together to: paint, update signage, add bike racks, install benches, plant trees, bushes, and flowers, and so much more!
In addition to the physical upgrades to the exteriors of our schools, Project CURB will have long-lasting intrinsic rewards for our community. Personally, this project will increase home property values, strengthen neighborhoods, and boost community pride. Economically, this project will help promote Oshkosh as a destination district, and attract new students and families to our schools.
How can I get involved?
By now you might be saying to yourself, “Self, this is terrific! How do I get involved?!” There are three things that you can do to make a substantial impact:
- VOLUNTEER – Project CURB needs upwards of 2000 volunteers to make this blitz a successful reality. Signup here
- DONATE – For those who prefer to volunteer with their wallets, all donations are meaningful! Project CURB is seeking $200,000 to fund all of their renovations. Updates for each school have been decided upon by school principals and PTO groups. Donate here
- SPREAD THE WORD – The success of projects like these depend on people like you sharing your excitement and determination for our shared goals. Share this blog post on your favorite social media platform like Facebook, send it in an email, or print it out and post it in the office by the water cooler. Do anything that you can to drive conversations and engagement. Our students will thank you!
For up-to-date information be sure to follow O4E on Facebook or read more on their website. If you’d like to talk to someone face-to-face, consider stopping by the O4E booth at the Oshkosh Farmers Market most Saturdays from now through September.
About the author: Kristopher Ulrich is the Director of Marketing & Communications at the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation. He enjoys gardening and landscaping projects, and therefore has signed up as a volunteer for Project CURB at Oshkosh North High School.
About the interviewee: Kelly Laux is a small business owner specializing in marketing and design for the food industry. She is a volunteer for Project CURB and O4E at large. She has contributed years of volunteer service to our community, including over a decade of service to the Women’s Fund of the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation.