By: Emily Lehner
I arrived at what was once Salin Bank in downtown Marion. Currently, this space is home to Marion Design Co., where IWU design students and professors work to rebrand the city of Marion. As I entered the old bank, I saw research, effort, time and care in the work they were doing. Although none of the members but one called Marion home before college, these students consider Marion a home now, and they spend their days using their creative gifts for the benefit of the environment that surrounds them. They work closely with mayor and IWU alumni, Jess Alumbaugh, and members of the community.
While Marion has been given a negative connotation for many years, efforts have been made to improve the area. What makes Marion Design Co. unique is their willingness to listen. They spend the majority of their days meeting members of the community and simply hearing their stories. This group of students makes it their priority to listen to the needs and desires of those who have spent their entire lives in Marion. “We want people to know that we are here to build relationships. We are here to listen because we realize we are clueless compared to those who have been here forever,” said Grace Herndon.
The members of Marion Design Co. also offer their time to help those in the community accomplish tasks. While their main goal is renewal and community branding, they believe relationship is key and of first priority. The group desires to meet members from throughout the entire Marion community and from every walk in life. The message they portray is hope, and they desire to show the members of the Marion Community that renewal is possible, and that the true identity of Marion is something beautiful in need of uncovering.
The group is led by professors Herb Vincent Peterson and Wendy Puffer. It is made up of those currently in Indiana Wesleyan’s design program and alumni including, Hunter Razo and Miranda Fuchs. Marion Design Co. is a not-for-profit business. You can visit their website with the link below. There is a place for donations under the “Share” tab. They also welcome any interested in joining their team or visitors to the bank during their business hours.
Visit http://www.mariondesign.co/mariondesignco/ for more information on their project and to support their cause.
Written by Emily Lehner, a writer for the Alumni Center and a sophomore Writing major at IWU. She is active on the cross country and track teams. She is passionate about using her writing skills to share the good news of Christ with others and writes often on her personal blog at www.emilylehner.wordpress.com.