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Volunteers beautify downtown

UC students weave a pattern to transform a construction fence into a work of art

by Marisa Whitaker
March ’13

What could have been just another construction fence in downtown Cincinnati is now a work of art thanks to Impact UC, a student group in the Lindner College of Business.

Working with Keep Cincinnati Beautiful and Dunnhumby employees, UC students beautified the fence with a more aesthetically pleasing mountainous design, which will be on display while Dunnhumby's corporate headquarters are constructed between now and December 2014. Volunteers will be busy completing the project in March as the fence-weaving is extended around the entire site at Fifth and Race streets.

Impact UC comprises undergraduate business students that work together on community service projects while building connections with local professional businesses around Cincinnati to get them involved. 

“Impact UC is a great way to get business students and Cincinnati business professionals together for the common good of serving, while also providing an opportunity for students to engage with the professionals from whichever corporations we happen to partner with,” says Josh Willmann, a community service outreach director with Impact UC. Willmann is also a marketing co-op with Dunnhumby and reached out to the business as a member of Impact UC to set up the fence-weaving project.

The fence, which consists of 86 panels and measures approximately 8,600 square feet, will be woven with recycled industrial plastic supplied by Keep Cincinnati Beautiful. The vinyl is up-cycled by KCB from a local manufacturing company and then cut into strips that will fit between fence links. KCB has done three different fence weaving projects around Cincinnati, including one near Great American Ballpark at Third and Broadway and one near the Citylink Center on Bank Street.

“We have been taking a variety of approaches to beautify blighted property in the city,” says Brook Lehenbauer a public awareness and volunteer coordinator.

Dunnhumby is a retail media group that tracks purchasing behaviors for major retail clients through such things as customer loyalty cards so that companies can customize their marketing efforts.  In the fence-weaving, they wished for their logo colors to be in the design so some of the vinyl was purchased and incorporated by a KCB designer. Currently, Dunnhumby is located on Third Street in Cincinnati. The new nine-story building will have room for more employees along with restaurant and retail space.

Since September 2012, Impact UC has worked with Freestore Foodbank, Matthew 25 Ministries and Give Back Cincinnati while partnering with Total Quality Logistics and the Johnson Investment Council.

Marisa Whitaker is a writing intern with UC Magazine.

Parting shots

Photos by Marisa Whitaker