I stood in the empty space again today for the 1,000th time. I looked around, imagining people sitting around, talking, working, and connecting with one another. I for one have never been in anything like I am imagining. Think of it as a coffee house on steroids. You’ll be able to get a cup of coffee, maybe a protein shake, and even a bite to eat. Nothing extravagant, but enough to help with connection. I think you need food and drink to help with connection.
The room will be filled with natural light. Imagine the most inspiring and comfortable space that you have been in and then multiply it by 10…maybe 20. The decor will be modern and retro. It will be an open floor plan with mostly modular furniture. We want spaces in which one person will be comfortable sitting in a corner looking out the window while working on their laptop and allow groups of people to work collaboratively on a project. It will be a hub for networking. People are going to get to know each other and their respective strengths.
The RU center will support people in pursuing their dreams. Imagine someone starting their own business and needing a logo, or maybe needing help with designing letterhead. Maybe the same person is in need of 10 volunteers. All of those things will be found in the center. It will be the volunteer center for the community and so much more. The RU Center will be a place where all volunteer opportunities will be known. This is where newcomers to the city and Dubuquers will go to learn how to get engaged in the community. They will have the opportunity to meet with the volunteer director and will help match people’s interests with volunteer needs in the community. Organizations will be given the opportunity to showcase their work in the RU Center. We will help advertise the good that so many people and businesses do for our community, resulting in additional support for their work.
You will walk into the RU Center and find a whiteboard in which you or anyone else can write down a need that they may have. Maybe an organization is in need of 100 DVD’s for children in shelter. This very specific need will now be seen by the entire community. RU will broadcast this need to our partners. I’m confident that before you know it, those DVD’s will be realized. People want to give; they want to get involved in the community. I believe though that we sometimes just don’t know how or where to start.
The space would have every resource and piece of technology needed to support people and organizations. We realize that many non profits or other groups don’t have conference rooms or specific technology to use when in need. We would provide that. (kinda goes with our name…Resources UNITE)
We want to turn everything on its head. We’re going to serve coffee, but most of the proceeds are going to go back to the community. People will have the opportunity to buy an extra cup for someone that might be in need later. Wouldn’t that be cool? Spend a few extra bucks to support someone you may never meet? We also want to serve lunch, but in a very different way. Lunch would be catered in from various companies much like it happens at bigger corporations in town. It would be a fairly inexpensive, good lunch with one major hitch. The company serving the food, would be donating the food. Every dollar of a respective lunch would go to a designated organization or community project. Again, how cool. Right? You could buy a 5 or 10 dollar lunch and know that EVERY dollar goes back to the community. Wouldn’t you go out of your way to eat lunch there?
Speaking of turning things upside down, the RU Center will largely be staffed and supported by the community. As mentioned previously, there will be a volunteer director, but we envision most of the support coming from volunteers. And why wouldn’t it? The entire space is for the community. I think if given the opportunity, volunteers will commit to much more than stuffing envelopes and running errands. Volunteers want to feel engaged and feel that they have a purpose. I know I do anyway when I’m volunteering.
The space will transform during the evenings and weekends into a place in which events will take place including classes that would engage the entire community. Yoga, dance, fitness, and anything else that people are interested in teaching and learning. I also think there will be classes led by community members with specific skills that would benefit others. Imagine someone that’s been in the marketing world for 20 years. She could give a class on effectively branding your mission. Another person might be a retired employee from John Deere with computer skills that could benefit so many.
There’s so much more to the RU Center and I’m hoping you will contribute to those ideas. Let’s build this together…as a community.