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Civic Engagement

New students lend a helping hand to local community

Posted Date: Tuesday, September 5, 2017 - 12:15
two girls painting the side of a white building
New Alfred State students apply a fresh coat of paint
to the outside of the Hornell Salvation Army as part of
Community Action Day.

While getting acclimated to new people, surroundings, and class schedules can take some time, getting involved in the nearby community is instantaneous each year for dozens of new Alfred State students.

This year, a total of 100 incoming Pioneers took part in Community Action Day, the annual day of service that takes place during the college’s Week of Welcome, in which new students engage in a number of local community service projects.

A total of 16 projects took place in five areas this year – Alfred, Almond, Belmont, Hornell, and Wellsville. The projects ranged from exterior and interior painting at Hornell Area Concern for Youth, to moving and organizing book collections at the David A. Howe Public Library, to screen printing with the Alfred Farmers Market, and more.

“Community Action Day is a great way for incoming first year students to make new friends, get to know their community, and make a difference locally,” said Jonathan Hilsher, director of the Center for Civic Engagement at Alfred State.

Civic engagement is a key focus at Alfred State, with students, faculty, and staff taking part in days of service such as Celebrate Service Celebrate Allegany and Spring Into Action, and volunteering out-of-state and around the globe.

The number of service hours contributed by Alfred State’s students has seen significant increases in recent years. Through internships, clinical treatments, and volunteering, the number of service hours has surpassed 80,000 per school year.


Leadership Allegany Welcomes Alfred State as New Program Partner

Posted Date: Monday, June 19, 2017 - 09:15

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.


Dean, Hilsher present at 105th ACSA meeting in Detroit

Posted Date: Monday, April 3, 2017 - 10:45

The men pose for professional pictureAlfred 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. 


Celebration of Service Ceremony recognizes dedication to helping others

Posted Date: Monday, February 6, 2017 - 13:30
The recipients of the Alfred Community Spirit of Service Award gathered for a picture
Pictured are the 2017 Spirit of Service Award recipients and nominees. Pictured,
front row from left to right, are Mawia Elawad, Guifang Lui (Master Fang), and
Kelly Harrison; and back row, from left to right, are Dr. Bob Pipal, Zachary Hamm,
Nur Amalina Amir Hamzah, Kemar Kidd, Larissia Hall, Dr. Robyn Goodman,
Dr. Michele Hluchy, Diane Winans, and Melanie Ryan. Not pictured are nominees
​Bob Rankl and Brittany Smith.

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.


Project Prom Dress Extravaganza to be held April 9

Posted Date: Tuesday, January 17, 2017 - 10:00
Erin Crotty modeling a purple prom dress
Pictured is Erin Crotty, a human services
management major from Woodstock, and a
Delta Chi Omega sister.

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 burdicsl@alfredstate.edu or at 607-587-4098.


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