Students to help small town win Pepsi-Cola grant

Instead of dropping $3 million on a Super Bowl advertisement, Pepsi-Cola is donating between $15 million and $20 million in grant money for developing communitites across America, and Alexandria, Ind. is trying to get a part of it.

Building Better Communities, an immersive learning project at Ball State University, is working with the Alexandria-Monroe Chamber of Commerce to get a grant to support a community performing arts facility. There are four categories representing various amounts of money an organization can ask for. In the $250,000 category, Alexandria ranks 18th among 720 applicants.

John Dockrey, president of the chamber of commerce, said he appreciates the help from Building Better Communitites.

"The grant will be a catalyst," he said, "bringing millions of dollars to the community."
He described the town as a place full of musical history, turning out such popular bands as the Gaither Family Band, which specializes in gospel music.

Sharon Kendall, who works at Building Better Communitites, said she's been having conversations with community members and brainstorming ways the university might connect with them in the future.

"The mayor and [Dockrey] and I are on the same page," she said. "We talked about how to rebuild downtown. I just came in to try to assist."

Students can also help out by voting for the project in Alexandria. Polls close at the end of February.

Dockley said Ball State students could help with the renovation project in a variety of ways, assisting with architectural aspects and sound production.

"Building Better Communities helps with projects all over the state, but we're right in your backyard," he said.

Pepsi is donating $15 million to $20 million in grant money for developing communities across America.

Alexandria, Ind. is 18th out of 720 communities that applied for a $250,000 grant.

To vote for the project in Alexandria, visit and click Vote for This Idea.


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