Reprinted with permission. By Shelly Hillman / Houghton College
Leadership Allegany is pleased to announce the addition of Alfred State as the program’s third partner, joining Houghton College and the Greater Allegany Chamber of Commerce.
Alfred State has long been faithful in sending participants and having employee representatives serve on the steering committee of the leadership program. This partnership will add Jonathan Hilsher, director of the Center for Civic Engagement at Alfred State, as a co-chair with Phyllis Gaerte, alumni and engagement director at Houghton College.
“Alfred State’s participation complements our strategic emphasis in building leadership skills and civic engagement within the student experience,” notes Hilsher. “We are excited to scale up our involvement in this way investing in the success and development of our county’s leaders.”
Gaerte is equally enthusiastic about the partnership. “It has been a pleasure to collaborate with staff and administrators from Alfred State over the years. It seemed only natural and the right thing to do to honor their faithfulness and to bring together our strengths to better serve Allegany County professionals,” she remarks.
Founded in 2010, Leadership Allegany is currently in its eighth year, with a full 16-member cohort representing a variety of private and nonprofit sector businesses. The program provides networking, leadership, and development opportunities for professionals living in the county. These individuals interact with representatives from multiple sectors of the county – such as government, the justice system, recreation, agriculture, education, human services, and health care – in order to gain a deeper understanding of these areas and the challenges they face.
Participants also engage in curriculum sessions that enhance their understanding of their roles as leaders, as well as plan one of the program’s industry visit days, and take part in a service project that supports a worthy cause through action and/or education. Upon graduation, they are charged to act as catalysts for positive change and take up further leadership roles.
Founding sponsors of Leadership Allegany include ACCORD Corporation, Alfred Higher Education Group, Allegany Business Center, Allegany County Area Foundation, Allegany County Department of Social Services, Greater Allegany County Chamber of Commerce, Houghton College, Literacy West Inc., and the United Way of Allegany County.
Alfred State’s William Dean, professor in the Department of Architecture and Design, and Jonathan Hilsher, director of the Center for Civic Engagement, recently presented their jointly authored paper titled “Generating Discipline-Based Community Impact through Academic and Student Affairs Collaboration” as part of the 105th ACSA Annual Meeting in Detroit. The theme of this year’s meeting was “Brooklyn Says, ‘Move to Detroit.’”
This was the first time that Alfred State has been invited to participate at this national conference, which is sponsored by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA).
Dean’s and Hilsher’s presentation featured a discussion of the sustained regional community engagement of the Department of Architecture and Design. It also elaborated on the enhanced impact realized through collaboration with a student affairs civic leadership initiative through the Center for Civic Engagement.
A series of Southern Tier Architectural Resource (STAR) Center case study examples were used to illustrate best practices and a pathway to collaboration on course design, creative cooperation, and intentional partnership designed to maximize student learning and community impact.
For the Alfred community and its two institutions of higher education, providing service to those in need is a top priority.
In fact, many community members, faculty, staff, and students within Alfred actively live out the principles that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. himself stood for – equality, social justice, community, and service. That’s why each year, several of these civic-minded individuals are recognized during the annual Celebration of Service Ceremony.
Receiving the 2017 Alfred Community Spirit of Service Award was Guifang Lui (Master Fang), a local Tai Chi instructor. She began offering a class in Tai Chi, at no charge, to meet each weekday morning on the Village Green in Alfred. The group, which has since grown to more than 60 people, includes people from Alfred and the surrounding communities. She has also provided a bridge and an opportunity for the local community to meet and befriend many Chinese members of the Confucius Institute, thereby exposing the community to another culture. Also nominated was Dr. Bob Pipal, president of the A.E. Crandall Hook and Ladder Company and former Alfred University chemistry professor.
The recipient of the 2017 Alfred State Faculty/Staff Spirit of Service Award was Kelly Harrison, secretary for Human Resources. Harrison is a huge advocate for veterans, as she is always organizing and volunteering for veteran organizations and coordinating benefits through her volunteer work at the American Legion. Also nominated were Melanie Ryan, coordinator of student disability services; and Diane Winans, payroll examiner in the Office of Business Affairs.
Larissia Hall, a technology management major from Keuka Park, was the recipient of the 2017 Alfred State Student Spirit of Service Award. Hall, who is an academic peer mentor on campus, commits to at least 50 hours of service through her academic semester, has been very active with disaster-relief organization All Hands Volunteers, and has traveled all over the county and to Louisiana and Tennessee on disaster relief trips and rebuilding/cleanup efforts. Also nominated were Brittany Smith, a Wellsville resident and Reaching Individual Success in Education (RISE) program supporter; and Kemar Kidd, an individual studies major from Bronx.
Hagar Professor of Natural Science and Professor of Geology Dr. Michele Hluchy was presented with the 2017 Alfred University Faculty/Staff Spirit of Service Award. Hluchy has brought an awareness of poverty and health in Haiti to the Alfred community. Her Water for Haiti Project raised $15,000 to build a well there, and she also organized another project to donate books to Cameroon. Fellow nominees include Zachary Hamm, technical director in the Division of Performing Arts; Dr. Robyn Goodman, professor of Communication Studies; and Bob Rankl, head football coach.
Receiving the 2017 Alfred University Student Spirit of Service Award was Mawia Elawad, who was described as “an incredibly articulate advocate for social justice for women, people of color, immigrants, the LGBTQ+ community, the Muslim community, etc.” She has shown that she is passionate about working to spread the message of equality and compassion to youth within the community and beyond through her work with the Art Force 5, a “team of creative superheroes” who deliver the powerful messages of anti-violence, community-building, and creative problem solving. Also nominated was Nur Amalina Amir Hamzah, the university’s current Student Senate diversity director.
Alfred State is excited to announce that Project Prom Dress Extravaganza 2017 will be taking place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, April 9 in the Pioneer Center on the Alfred campus.
A student-driven initiative, Project Prom Dress has grown tremendously over the past three years, thanks to the passion of the sisters of Delta Chi Omega. All year long, the girls work hard collecting new or gently used prom gowns, shoes, and accessories from local bridal shops or individuals.
Then in April, their hard work comes to life, as they invite teenage girls from Allegany County and surrounding areas to come to their Extravaganza event at Alfred State, where they can choose a gown free of charge.
“In today’s economy, prom gowns are simply not in the budget for many families,” said Alfred State Event Concierge Sandra Burdick. “These girls wanted to help every girl have a beautiful gown and the opportunity to go to prom.”
Also on April 9, the Delta Chi Omega sisters will be collecting donations of gowns, shoes, and accessories.
Alfred State wishes to thank some of its amazing donors for this year’s event: Belle Ruche Bridal Boutique, of Olean; JBK Bridal and Prom, of Horseheads; Bonjulies of Horseheads; Bella You, of Rochester; and the Purple Iris, of Horseheads; as well as several individual donors.
For more information, please contact Burdick at email@example.com or at 607-587-4098.
Celebrate Service, Celebrate Allegany kicked off its fifth year this past Saturday and proved to be a huge success, as approximately 300 student volunteers from Alfred State, Alfred University, and Houghton College came together to engage in community service projects throughout Allegany County.
Students from all three institutions gathered at their respective colleges and were transported to pre-arranged service locations. At sites throughout much of Allegany County, students worked on projects ranging from outdoor activities such as fall cleaning, to indoor projects such as preparing meals, assembling aid packages, and painting. Overall, 300 volunteers served in 31 projects in 10 different communities.
Alfred State Student Senate President Katherine Holmok, a business administration major from Prattsville, spoke to the important role that the local communities play in students’ lives, and why it is so important to give back.
“Students recognize that the communities in which their colleges reside will be responsible for some of the fondest memories and greatest times of their lives,” she said. “As Student Senate president, I see examples every day of how much our students love Alfred, and how eager they are to give back to the communities that are nurturing them. Celebrate Service, Celebrate Allegany provides a wonderful opportunity for students around the county to demonstrate how much we care on a larger and more visible scale.”
Houghton College Alumni and Community Engagement Director Phyllis Gaerte noted, “What excites me the most when I drive around to check in on students at the different community project sites, is the great conversation and relationship building that happens between students who are serving a common purpose and with the community partner that they are working alongside of. There is no better way to get to know your neighbors.”
Five years ago, a group from Leadership Allegany organized the inaugural service day. The vision of this event has been to build relationships between students and community members, enhance student exposure to the county beyond the confines of the campus, and deliver meaningful help to public and non-profit organizations.
Over the past four years, more than 1,700 students have participated, investing over 10,200 hours of service to Allegany County communities during just this annual day of service alone. This day is scheduled each year on Make A Difference Day - the largest single national day of community service. And locally, the Allegany County Board of Legislators again issued a proclamation making Oct. 22 Make A Difference Day in the county and recognizing the service of volunteers.
Corey Fecteau, service learning coordinator for Alfred University, believes that ”volunteering on Make A Difference Day helps our students better understand Allegany County, their home-away-from-home while they are attending college.” As a result of this event, “Students are prepared to engage meaningfully with their current and future communities.”
The impact of Celebrate Service, Celebrate Allegany goes far beyond a single day, however. For students, it is a way to illustrate and develop a culture and lifestyle of community service, which they will hopefully carry with them throughout their tenure as students and into their lives post-education. For local communities, it enables important tasks, projects, and events to get a jump-start, make significant progress, or come to fruition.
The three institutions rely on donations to help pay for necessary supplies, T-shirts, and transportation for the day of service. This year, financial and in-kind support was graciously provided by Otis Eastern Service, Leadership Allegany, The Greater Allegany Chamber of Commerce, Allegany County Area Foundation, Auxiliary Campus Enterprises and Services (ACES), Cuba Fillmore Fisher’s Pharmacies, Allegany County United Way, Swain Ski Resort, and Alfred Sports Center.
For more information about the Celebrate Service, Celebrate Allegany day of service, please visit www.celebrateallegany.com.
For the second straight year, NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, the leading voice for the student affairs profession, has named Alfred State a Lead Advisory Institution in its national initiative on civic learning and democratic engagement.
This year, Alfred State will be part of a group of nearly 100 institutions dedicated to promoting civic learning and democratic engagement as a core function of the Division of Student Affairs. The Lead Initiative offers unique professional development opportunities, targeted resources, networking, and recognition for its Lead Institutions.
The college has participated in NASPA’s Lead Initiative since 2012, but was named a Lead Advisory Institution for the first time last year. In this role, Alfred State’s responsibilities include mentoring other Lead Institutions and helping NASPA staff create and execute strategy, publications, and online learning content for the initiative moving forward.
Gregory Sammons, Alfred State vice president for Student Affairs, said Alfred State is proud to again be recognized by NASPA as a Lead Advisory Institution, and that the college “considers it the highest compliment to our students.”
“The recognition illustrates that our students learn not only about social issues,” Sammons said, “but also how to apply knowledge in order to actively engage these challenges and directly be a part of the solutions in our communities.”
By combining real-world learning situations with civic engagement opportunities, Alfred State students make significant contributions to communities around the world and are frequently among the first to lend their skills and knowledge to those in need. Last year, Alfred State students contributed 80,000 hours of service, civic leadership, and workforce-ready knowledge to communities in need.
To learn more about NASPA’s Lead Initiative and view a complete listing of participating institutions, please visit the NASPA website at https://www.naspa.org/rpi/lead-initiative.