Joining with volunteers throughout the US and beyond in celebration of National Volunteer Week and Global Youth Service Day, 220 Alfred State students and students from Alfred University took part in Spring Into Action Day of Service on Saturday, April 16.
The students participated in 25 projects at various locations such as churches, libraries, and service organizations in several communities including Alfred, Alfred Station, Almond, and Wellsville. Examples of service included clearing hiking trails at Phillips Creek State Forest, preparing Little League fields for the season, painting light posts and fire hydrants in the village of Alfred, and preparing and serving food at Wellsville Community Kitchen.
Barbara Pierce, a student activities secretary, who helped found the Alfred Community Garden and who volunteered and coordinated various service projects, said, “It’s always a pleasure to have students participate in the days of service with their energy and enthusiasm. The rewarding feeling for the Alfred Community Garden volunteers and the students cannot be measured. Some of the Mu Theta fraternity brothers and members of the Caribbean Student Association request volunteering there every year.”
National Volunteer Week, which ran from April 10-16 this year, is “about inspiring, recognizing, and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to engage in their communities, according to www.pointsoflight.org. Global Youth Service Day, as stated on its website, http://gysd.org/, is “the largest service event in the world and the only one dedicated to the contributions that children and youth make 365 days of the year.”
In photo: Alfred State students Juliana Krajewski, technology management, Buffalo, left, and Abraham Kalamadeen, motorsports technology, Brooklyn, paint a Victorian street light pole on Main Street in Alfred.
Giving back to the community and helping others are strongly focused on at Alfred State, and as a result, the college has a number of events planned for National Volunteer Week April 10-16.
Most notably, the college’s Office of Health and Wellness Services will sponsor a Foodlink mobile food pantry to combat hunger and food insecurity from 3-4:30 p.m. Friday, April 15 at St. Jude Chapel on campus adjacent to the University Police Department. Foodlink will be providing free access to essential food items to anyone in need from the surrounding area. Food will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis during this one-day-only event, and no income or residency restrictions will be enforced.
All are welcome to help in creating comfort bags in the Student Leadership Center now through April 12 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. These comfort bags are for victims and survivors who come to local shelters and rape crisis centers seeking support because of sexual or interpersonal violence. Alfred State has pledged to fill 75 bags in this SUNY-wide effort, titled “SUNY’s Got Your Back,” with donations provided through the New York State Police and JM Murray. The college is accepting donated sweatpants, sweatshirts, T-shirts, or money to purchase these items.
A virtual US Peace Corps information session will be held from 4-5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 12. This is an opportunity to learn more about this two-year international volunteer opportunity and how your skills can make a difference. Utilize the contact information below to get the Web link to join the session from any location.
A Volunteer Management Workshop will take place at the Student Leadership Center from 9-11:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 13 for area professionals and students. The agenda will feature networking, information sharing, and speakers sharing content relevant to enhancing an organization’s volunteer capacity and resources. Carol Wood, director of 2-1-1 HELPLINE of the Institute for Human Services, will be a featured speaker of this ongoing professional development series. Pre-registration is required.
The Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences will host a Human Services Career Fair from noon to 3 p.m. Wednesday, April 13 in the Allegany Room in the Central Dining Hall. This is a valuable chance to explore internship, career, and community service opportunities with local and regional non-profit and human service organizations.
Lastly, the second annual Spring into Action Day of Service will take place from 9 a.m. to mid-afternoon Saturday, April 16. Service projects will occur in Alfred, Hornell, Wellsville, and in other nearby communities. The purpose is to serve alongside partners in Steuben and Allegany counties in community service and relationship building activities. Examples of past projects include trail cleanup in area state parks, renovation of town parks, and preparation of Little League fields.
For more information about National Volunteer Week and how students and the public can get involved, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
More than 20 Alfred State students opted to spend their spring breaks in mid-March helping others in need.
From March 13-19, a group of 13 students worked alongside Horry County Habitat for Humanity in Myrtle Beach, SC, assisting in the ReStore thrift store and helping a family to build a new home.
Technology Services Help Desk Coordinator Krystal Perlman, who volunteered in South Carolina along with the students, said some of the thrift store projects on the first day included pricing items to be set up on the sales floor, organizing storage rooms, and painting the staff lounge.
The remaining days, the volunteers worked on site building the house from the foundation up with the construction manager and the home owner, Shaniqua Evans. The college’s baseball team, who was playing in a tournament in Myrtle Beach that week, also spent a few hours to help at the ReStore location.
Students who volunteered in Myrtle Beach include Alex Cohen, building trades: building construction, Rochester; Ashley Kennedy, human services management, Troupsburg; Robert Mahany, construction management engineering technology, Orchard Park; Brittany Richards, forensic science technology, Piffard; Bryan Guild, business administration, Cameron Mills; Christopher McCormick, cyber security, Henderson, NV; Elizabeth Hart, technology management, Wellsville; Joshua Pincoski, autobody repair, Holland; Katie Monica, forensic science technology, Syracuse; Lacee Hill, forensic science technology, Friendship; Larissia Hall, liberal arts and sciences: adolescent education-teacher education transfer, Keuka Park; Mary Rose Ricotta, forensic science technology, Derby; and Michaela Olin, nursing, Perry.
This is the fourth year of an ongoing partnership between the college and Habitat for Humanity. Perlman said the recent project was a wonderful opportunity for Alfred State students because of it being so multifaceted.
“The students who participated were able to learn real-world skills while helping to create affordable housing for residents of Horry County, SC,” she said. “The students spent time working side by side with Shaniqua, and they all got a chance to hear her story and how much this opportunity means to her. I firmly believe that it is these types of experiences that cannot not be replicated in a classroom and are what help create a well-rounded Alfred State education.”
Volunteering in New Orleans from March 14-18 was a team of eight students, who worked alongside Anna’s Place/St. Anna’s Episcopal Church to provide support to an after-school children’s arts program and to help with other ongoing initiatives. The group worked at both the church and the Dodwell House, which Alfred State Semester in the South students have been renovating into a community center.
Students who assisted in New Orleans were Heather Cromwell, technology management, Lockport; Lauren Vasco, veterinary technology, Knoxville, PA; Kaitlin Johnson, technology management, Stockton; Allison Dinwoodie, forensic science technology, Hornell; Makenzie Riley, interior design, Schenectady; Cassandra Ryan, mechanical engineering technology, Gloversville; Eric Hulbert, network administration, Mexico, NY; and Annaliese Corrao, nursing, Grand Island.
Sean McCarthy, residence hall director of MacKenzie East, who accompanied the students, said the group helped the after-school children build their own wetlands to plant and grow food, work on a community garden, and they also explained the importance of eating a balanced diet. The Alfred State students also taught the children about the various programs they are taking, such as forensic science technology and veterinary technology.
McCarthy said everyone had a great experience overall and noted that the community was appreciative of the students’ efforts.
“When people passed by, they asked about the work and thanked us for our service,” he said. “We were even able to get a member of a group that had just arrived in town for a bachelor party to put his plans on hold and help out for a bit. I feel like the best thing we did for the younger students was just being there for them, listening to what they had to say, and helping them in any way we could.”
Pictured are the Alfred State volunteers who worked with the Horry County Habitat for Humanity to build a house for a resident in Myrtle Beach, SC.
In photo above: Alfred State volunteers work on creating a wetland exhibit area on a recent civic engagement project trip to New Orleans.
A number of Alfred State and Alfred University faculty, staff, students, and community members were recognized for their service to others Jan. 28 during the sixth annual Celebration of Service Ceremony at the Alfred Village Hall.
Each year, the ceremony presents several honorees with a Spirit of Service Award, which recognizes and celebrates those in the Greater Alfred Community who demonstrate a strong commitment to serving others. The award is intended to honor people who are actively living out the principles Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood for, including equality, social justice, community, and service.
The recipient of the 2016 Alfred Community Spirit of Service Award was Melissa Jusianiec, wife of Alfred State men’s head basketball coach Jerry Jusianiec. As a parent of three children, she served on the Alfred Montessori School Board for three years, helping to organize and run many fundraisers. Jusianiec is now on the Student Improvement Team Committee at Alfred-Almond Central School, and is an active member of the Union University Church, chairing the Board of Christian Education, volunteering in the benevolence programs, and organizing the annual Christmas boxes for families in need.
Matt Ryan, Alfred State senior director of Residential Life, was presented with the 2016 Alfred State Faculty/Staff Spirit of Service Award. Ryan is an active member of the Wellsville Lions Club, and is involved in the organization’s community work, including the annual Breakfast with Santa event. Committed to the local community for more than a decade, Ryan is dedicated to ensuring that Alfred State students learn about equality and social justice, and is constantly seeking ways to improve the student residential experience.
Receiving the 2015 Student Group Spirit of Service Award were 11 students from Alfred State and Alfred University who have all joined the A.E. Crandall Hook and Ladder Company volunteer fire and ambulance service in the past two years. Alfred State students included Nick Dukette (building trades: building construction, Tupper Lake), Joe Ferreri (architectural technology, Marion), Mike LoPreto (technology management, Sayville), Brian O’Connor (automotive service technician, West Babylon), Larry Pratt (autobody repair, Fairport), Coral Smith (forensic science technology, Kings Park), and Aaron Aumick (building trades: building construction, Port Jervis). Alfred University students included Nick Fletcher (mechanical engineering, Big Flats) Daniel Forsman (art and design, Buffalo Grove, IL), Richelle Jenkins, (general science, Camillus) and Andrew King (materials science and engineering, Canisteo).
Since 2014, these students combined have gone on more than 200 ambulance and fire calls in the village and town of Alfred. They have also completed weekly training in the department, and a number of them have taken courses through the county, such as Fire Fighter I and Advanced EMT. Furthermore, the students, have volunteered to assist with projects integral to running the department, including painting and cleaning, electric work, and apparatus maintenance.
David Snyder, access services coordinator at Alfred University’s Herrick Library, was presented with the 2016 Alfred University Faculty/Staff Spirit of Service Award. The owner and publisher of the Alfred Sun newspaper, Snyder also continues to recruit members to the Alfred University Pep Band, and has served as adviser for the AU Habitat for Humanity group for more than 15 years, been involved with the Alfred Community Theater, and is a very active member of the Lighthouse Christian Fellowship.
Robert Graves, an art and design major from Alfred Station, was presented with the 2016 Alfred University Student Spirit of Service Award. Having grown up in the Alfred area, Graves has long been involved in community service projects in Alfred, including working on the baseball fields and the Foster Lake trail system. He has also worked to combat classism, increase disabilities awareness, and has insisted that the village be more fully included in the university’s strategic plan.
In photo from left to right are Joe Ferreri (Alfred State, architectural technology, Marion), Larry Pratt (Alfred State, autobody repair, Fairport), Richelle Jenkins (Alfred University, general science, Camillus), Mike LoPreto (Alfred State, technology management, Sayville), community member Melissa Jusianiec, Access Services Coordinator at Alfred University’s Herrick Library David Snyder, Alfred State Senior Director of Residential Life Matt Ryan, Robert Graves (Alfred University, art and design, Alfred Station), Coral Smith (Alfred State, forensic science technology, Kings Park), Nick Dukette (Alfred State, building trades: building construction, Tupper Lake), Brian O’Connor (Alfred State, automotive service technician, West Babylon), and Nick Fletcher (Alfred University, mechanical engineering, Big Flats). Not pictured are Aaron Aumick (Alfred State, building trades: building construction, Port Jervis), Daniel Forsman (Alfred University, art and design, Buffalo Grove, IL), and Andrew King (Alfred University, materials science and engineering, Canisteo).
The Leadership Suite initiative at Alfred State recently received a Certificate of Honorable Mention for the 2015 SUNY Outstanding Student Affairs Program Awards in the Careers, Academic Advising and Support, Service-Learning, Community Service category.
The State University of New York Council of Chief Student Affairs Officers (CCSAO) and the Office of University Life offer these awards annually to outstanding student affairs programs that have demonstrated a positive impact on students and their development. Each category has one award and one honorable mention.
The criteria for the category in which Alfred State was honored included the clarity of the program objectives, design creativity, effectiveness, scope and level of participation, cost-effectiveness, level of campus-wide collaboration, and the impact of the program as based on the findings of outcomes assessment efforts.
The purpose of Alfred State’s 13 leadership suites, located in the Student Leadership Center, is to inspire students to discover their passion and make a difference. Suites are awarded to student organizations actively involved in exciting and meaningful civic engagement projects locally, regionally, and globally.
“The Leadership Suite initiative highlights the amazing work students are undertaking in the campus and larger community as they apply experience, knowledge, and passion to tackle community challenges and create opportunity,” said Jonathan Hilsher, director of the Center for Civic Engagement. “This award helps demonstrate the value of an initiative dedicated to empowering students to make a meaningful impact.”
Make a Difference Day: Celebrate Service, Celebrate Allegany kicked off its fourth year this past Saturday and proved to be a huge success as approximately 500 local college students and volunteers from Alfred University, Alfred State, and Houghton College came together to perform a day of community service projects throughout Allegany County.
Students from all three institutions gathered at their respective colleges at 8 a.m. and were transported to pre-arranged service locations throughout the county, returning home about 4 p.m.
Locations spread from the north side of Allegany County to the far south side in which the students performed service projects ranging from outdoor activities, such as painting and grounds work, to indoor projects, such as assisting food pantries with cleanup and organization and assembling aid packages.
“While it is true that the students are serving the local communities, this day is really much more than that,” commented Marshall Green, public relations specialist for Houghton College. “The students not only give but also get something in return…. They get to engage with their adoptive communities, meet with neighbors, business owners and other community volunteers. Most importantly, they get to see how, even in the small things, we have opportunities to make big impacts and create lasting relationships. My hope is that this will stick with them far past their college careers.”
In year one, a total of 450 college students impacted the local communities of Allegany County with more than 2,500 hours of service. Over the combined four years, more than 1,700 students have participated, totaling more than 10,200 hours of service that have been provided to the local communities during just this annual day of service.
The impact of the day of service can go far beyond the single day. For the students, it is a way to illustrate and develop a culture and lifestyle of community service that they will hopefully carry with them throughout their tenure as students and into their lives post-education. For the local communities, it enables important tasks, projects, and events to get a jump-start, make significant progress or come to fruition.
The day of service also brings together students and the local community in a way that is beyond the traditional consumer context. New relationships and synergies have also been cultivated between the colleges and local businesses/non-profits that have developed new projects and outreach beyond Make a Difference Day.
“We demonstrate, through this day of action, the importance of active citizenship through direct service and developing relationships with neighbors,” commented Alfred State College’s director of civic engagement, Jonathan Hilsher. “The impact of this day is measured not only in concrete ways, but through the connections and longer-term partnerships that develop.”
The three institutions rely on donations to help pay for the needed supplies, T-shirts and transportation for the day of service. This year, financial support was provided in part by Otis Eastern Service, Leadership Allegany, The Greater Allegany Chamber of Commerce, Allegany County Area Foundation, Swain Ski Resort and Alfred Sports Center.
Four years ago, Leadership Allegany organized the inaugural local service day, which facilitated the original partnership between the three colleges.
Make a Difference Day, the largest national day of community service, has been impacting lives for more than 20 years. Millions of people around the world unite to volunteer their time and energy for those around them. USA Weekend magazine and Points of Light, sponsors of Make a Difference Day, say, “regardless of age, location, or resources, we can accomplish amazing things when we take on the problems we see in our community.”
Corey Fecteau, Alfred University’s service learning coordinator, summed up the day: “Hearing the stories that students tell about their service experiences is very rewarding. During this day of service, all the student participants learn more about Allegany County communities and the vital services that volunteer organizations provide within those communities. An unexpected benefit, however, is that the students also learn about themselves and the roles they can play in serving their neighbors.”
For more information about Make a Difference Day: Celebrate Service, Celebrate Allegany, please visit http://www.celebrateallegany.com.