Members of the Alfred State College, Alfred University, and Alfred village community came together recently at Union University Church for the ninth annual Celebration of Service Ceremony to honor recipients of the Spirit of Service Award.
Each year, Alfred community members, as well as students, faculty, and staff of both Alfred State College and Alfred University are nominated by their colleagues, students, and community members for the award, which recognizes their service to others. Recipients receive the award for exemplifying principles that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. advocated for, including commitment to equality, service, social justice, and community.
Caitlin Brown received the 2019 Alfred Community Spirit of Service Award. Brown, a village of Alfred trustee and instructor/chief curator of the Cohen Gallery at Alfred University, spearheaded the Art Walk, a collaborative monthly venture whose purpose is to foster dialogue within the local arts communities. Also nominated were Jane Cochran, ambulance captain for the A.E. Crandall Hook and Ladder Company; and Melissa Jusianiec, who is involved in many service efforts in the Alfred community, including the Allegany- Cattaraugus-Chautauqua Fund for Women and Union University Church.
The 2019 Alfred State Faculty/Staff Spirit of Service Award recipient was Jon Nickerson, interim director of Facilities Services. In addition to serving on many various boards in Scio and Wellsville, Nickerson has also been Santa Claus’ local representative for more than 20 years, bringing holiday cheer as Santa to locals through visits to veterans’ organizations, nursing homes, schools, parades, and more. Also nominated was University Police at Alfred State Lt. Kristofer Bianchi, who helped raise money for ACCORD’s Community Action Angels program.
Receiving the 2019 Alfred State Student Spirit of Service Award was Samantha Bowers. She has been involved in the Alfred State community in a wide variety of capacities, including serving as a residence assistant, volunteering in the Title IX Office, serving as orientation mentor, volunteering at the Allegany County Animal Shelter, and organizing various programs through the Unity Center. Also nominated were Riko Hayano, who helped launch the Women Inspiring Leadership Development (WILD) group for female students, and Peter York, a civic engagement advocate who led the initiative to reduce or eliminate the use of single plastic bags at Alfred State College.
The 2019 Alfred University Faculty/Staff Spirit of Service Award was presented to The Alfred University Support Staff Council. Currently chaired by Crystal Henshaw, the Council has engaged in sustained and focused fundraising for at least five years now to raise money for the Gail Walker Textbook Fund, which is used to purchase textbooks for students who have run into financial roadblocks and need a one-time boost in order to get the books they need. Also nominated were Dr. Michele Hluchy, professor of geology and environmental studies; Dr. Beth Johnson, associate professor of psychology; Russell Phillips, men’s basketball coach; and Dr. Mark Zupan, president of Alfred University.
Kyle Silberstein received the 2019 Alfred University Student Spirit of Service Award. Silberstein has served as president and treasurer of Student Senate, and has worked to revitalize the Jewish community in Alfred as the president of Hillel.
Also nominated were Ramin Faraji Fijani, who attended a conference in Pittsburgh last fall after the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting and who has worked to improve experiences for international students arriving on campus; Makenna Ransom, whose service efforts include raising money for the Navajo Water Project “Dig Deep” and participating in numerous medical fundraising benefits for people with life-threatening illnesses; and Kelley Staub, a leader on the softball team who has assisted the Career Development Center and volunteered at the Alfred Montessori School.