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Civic Engagement

Students, faculty, and staff honored during Celebration of Service Ceremony

Posted Date: 
Friday, January 30, 2015 - 15:00

Several members of the Alfred State family were honored for their service to others Thursday at the Alfred Village Hall during the fifth annual Celebration of Service Ceremony.

Each year, two honorees, one student and one faculty or staff member, receives 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 Martin Luther King Jr. stood for, including equality, social justice, community, and service.

Ashley Ebel, a business administration major from Freeville, proudly displays her Alfred State College Student Spirit of Service Award.Ashley Ebel, a business administration major from Freeville, was named this year’s Alfred State College Student Spirit of Service Award winner. Ebel works as a student advocate for the Center for Civic Engagement, works at the rock climbing wall, is a leader in the Outdoor Recreation Club, and is president of Little Angels of Honduras, a new organization on campus devoted to fundraising and awareness regarding the lack of adequate medical supplies and care for Honduran infants and children.

In 2013, Ebel was named “Mentee of the Year” for the Emerging Pioneers Leadership Program, in part due to her hard work with Hope for Honduras. She has also worked with a small group through this leadership program to raise awareness about youth suicide by hosting a poetry slam. This event highlighted many of the reasons for young adult suicide and discussed resources available to depressed and suicidal youth.

This year’s winner of the Alfred State Faculty/Staff Spirit of Service Award is Michael Murray, assistant director of dining at Auxiliary Campus Enterprises and Services, Inc. (ACES). ACES is a not-for-profit corporation that supports the mission of Alfred State by providing dining services, campus bookstores, cable TV, vending, and transportation services to student customers.

Murray has been a member of the Alfred State Family for decades as a tireless employee of ACES, is an active member of the Alumni Board, is co-adviser to the Greek Advisory Board, and is an adviser to one of Alfred State’s Greek houses, Gamma Theta Gamma. Every year under Murray's direction, the brothers of Gamma Theta Gamma host a Halloween Haunted House for the community, with proceeds typically going to Relay for Life.

In 2014, half of the proceeds from this event went to benefit the Golisano Children's Hospital, and under Murray’s direction, the fraternity is working to raise money and awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project. Murray is also an active fundraiser for the ALS Foundation, participating in the annual Golf Tournament Fundraiser and continuing to raise money and awareness for the cause throughout the year.

Also recognized were the following nominees, who each received a certificate for their efforts:

  • Andrew Scott, an architectural technology major from Arverne, who has devoted significant time outside of his architectural studies to volunteer at the Southern Tier Architectural Resource (STAR) Center.
  • Chad Martin, a construction management engineering technology major from Breesport, who,as president of the Pioneer Woodsmen’s Club, takes leadership in managing a large and active club involved in lumberjacking competitions throughout the region.
  • Dr. Robert Curry, dean ofthe School of Arts and Sciences, who is a language partner for international students, has served on many Alfred State committees, serves on various New York State curricular committees, and always makes time for staff and students.
  • Debra Mayes, computer specialist with technology services, whois highly engaged in numerous civic engagement projects and has traveled to Catskills, North Dakota, Long Island, and Detroit to assist with flood cleanup and other disaster relief efforts.
  • Barbara Pierce,student activities secretary,who is an incredible advocate for the Alfred Community Garden and has mentored a group of students who are participants of the Emerging Pioneers Leadership Program at Alfred State.

Michael Murray, assistant director of dining at Auxiliary Campus Enterprises and Services, Inc. (ACES), center, along with members of Gamma Theta Gamma

Pictured here is this year’s Alfred State Faculty/Staff Spirit of Service Award winner Michael Murray, assistant director of dining at Auxiliary Campus Enterprises and Services, Inc. (ACES), center, along with members of Gamma Theta Gamma.

In photo above is Ashley Ebel, a business administration major from Freeville, proudly displays her Alfred State College Student Spirit of Service Award.

WINS members raise funds, buy presents for family in need during holidays

Posted Date: 
Tuesday, January 13, 2015 - 14:15

Fourteen members of the Women In Non-traditional Studies (WINS) Club assisted Santa in December by raising $193 through pop can and bottle returns and monetary contributions for an area family in need.

The students also shopped for presents and wrapped them for delivery to Steuben County Rural Ministry a week before Christmas. The students’ efforts were part of an annual project undertaken by members of the WINS Club.

“I am always surprised and heartened that WINS members can take the time at the end of the semester to make this project successful,” said Joy Carlson, professor of architecture and design and WINS Club adviser.

The WINS Club’s two main goals are to further the knowledge of women in male-dominated fields and to sponsor civic engagement/fundraising projects both locally and globally. WINS is open to all members of the Alfred State community, regardless of gender.

students in WINS club with holiday presents that they wrapped

Shown here are some of the Women In Non-traditional Studies Club members who raised money and purchased presents for an area family in need last month. From left to right are Beth Parker, of Campbell; Allana Havernick, of Arcade, club co-president; Stacy Duink, of Hamburg, club co-president; Adrienne Drumm, of Tully, club vice president; and Elizabeth Dussault, of Breesport, club secretary. Parker, Duink, Drumm, and Dussault are all architecture majors, and Havernick is an environmental technology major. (Photo provided by WINS Club Adviser Professor Joy Carlson)

Alfred State honored for making a difference through community service

Posted Date: 
Wednesday, December 10, 2014 - 12:15

Alfred State is among 20 State University of New York (SUNY) campuses that have recently been named to the 2014 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

The list recognizes colleges and universities that achieve meaningful, measurable outcomes in the communities they serve and show a clear commitment to community service and service learning.

“Participating in community service is an important part of any college experience, and a hallmark of our strategic plan,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “Each of our SUNY campuses has an astounding array of options for students as well as faculty and staff to give back to their local communities, and to have a greater impact on communities across the country and abroad. Congratulations and thank you to each of the campuses recognized by the President’s Honor Roll this year.”

Last year, Alfred State students contributed nearly 60,000 hours of service, civic leadership, and workforce-ready knowledge to communities in need. In addition to participating annually in civic engagement opportunities such as Celebrate Service Celebrate Allegany and the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, the college’s students have also assisted communities devastated by Superstorm Sandy and Haitian communities recovering from the 2010 earthquake.

Jonathan Hilsher, director of the Center for Civic Engagement at Alfred State, said the college being named to the President’s Honor Roll recognizes the exemplary community service undertaken by its students, faculty, and staff and highlights how this represents best practices in community impact and service.

“Alfred State’s culture of civic engagement results in community challenges being addressed in a meaningful way,” Hilsher said, “even as student learning is enhanced through applied curricular and co-curricular experiences.”

Nov. 4 is Election Day

Posted Date: 
Monday, November 3, 2014 - 15:00

Don’t forget that Tuesday, Nov. 4 is Election Day! Students should visit https://voterlookup.elections.state.ny.us/votersearch.aspx to double-check that they can vote locally. If registered to vote in the village of Alfred, students can cast their ballots between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. at A.E. Crandall Hook & Ladder Company at 6 Main St., Alfred.

Students who are registered voters can sign up for TurboVote at alfredstate.turbovote.org to receive important Election Day 2014 information, including polling place information and a preview of their ballot. TurboVote also includes other features that will be helpful for future elections, such as requesting absentee ballots and registering to vote. So far, roughly 30 Alfred State students have signed up for TurboVote, according to Jonathan Hilsher, director of the Center for Civic Engagement.

Also, the Judicial Campaign Ethics Center of the New York State Unified Court System has launched the annual non-partisan Judicial Voter Guide at www.nycourts.gov/vote. The guide contains information about judicial candidates on the ballot in each county based on information provided by the state and county election boards and is designed to help people make a more informed decision on Election Day.

“Election Day is an opportunity to exercise your civic right and responsibility to make your voice heard,” said Hilsher. “I’d encourage everyone to invest the time to vote on Tuesday.”

More than 200 Alfred State students among 500 volunteers for Celebrate Service Celebrate Allegany

Posted Date: 
Tuesday, October 28, 2014 - 08:15

In an effort to provide meaningful help through volunteer service and build relationships with community members, around 500 student volunteers from Alfred State, Alfred University, and Houghton College pitched in Saturday for the third annual Celebrate Service Celebrate Allegany.

The event coincides with the national Make a Difference Day, the largest national day of community service. CSCA began in October 2012 as a Leadership Allegany project with a vision to develop a countywide day of service involving students from all three Allegany County-based colleges.

students participating in 2014 Celebrate Service Celebrate AlleganyVolunteers undertook dozens of mainly-outdoor oriented activities across the county Saturday at such places at schools, playgrounds, churches, food pantries, and libraries. Their tasks varied from painting and inventorying disaster kits to raking leaves and cleaning.

Jonathan Hilsher, director of the Center for Civic Engagement at Alfred State, said more than 200 Alfred State students participated this year, which is the highest total number of volunteers the college has had at the event so far.

“I think it’s great to see different organizations making CSCA a part of what they do,” Hilsher said. “For example, the baseball team volunteered at two Wellsville sites on Saturday. Coach Jason Cronin and the team often make it a point to include community service into their busy schedule, something I’m seeing more and more of in other organizations throughout campus.”

Unlike the first two times Celebrate Service Celebrate Allegany took place, the weather cooperated this year.

“It was great that the weather was so nice, especially with so many outside projects,” Hilsher said. “That hasn’t been the case the last two years with the weather typically being either drizzly or windy, and maybe 20 degrees cooler than it was on Saturday.”

Derek Perry, an Alfred State technology management major from Angola, said he volunteered at the Yorks Corners Mennonite Church in Wellsville, redirecting water that was draining into the building. He said Celebrate Service Celebrate Allegany is a great way for students to give back to the community.

“We had a much larger turnout this year than we did last year, which is very promising to see,” Perry said. “I felt this year went very well, the weather was absolutely beautiful, registration went quickly for how many people attended, and there were no problems with transporting people to locations.”

According to Hilsher, an important aspect of the event is that students are able to cultivate relationships with local businesses and non-profit organizations.

“There was a lot of meaningful volunteer help provided Saturday. But, I also feel that this day is a great platform for relationship building. It enables students to get off campus and meet community members and community members to meet college students,” Hilsher said. “I think that’s one of the best things about an event like this.”

In photo above: Alfred State students, from left to right, Collin Kratzer, a financial services major from Canisteo; Felix Paulino, a computer information systems major from Bronx; and Stephen Eaton, an architectural technology major from Rochester, prep and clean storm windows Saturday during the third annual Celebrate Service Celebrate Allegany.

They scare because they care

Posted Date: 
Monday, October 27, 2014 - 15:15

Every year during October, the Andover Haunted House serves up frights to a multitude of visitors twice a week, utilizing a variety of props and actors scary enough to make your blood turn to ice and your heart palpitate. While the four-floor haunted Victorian mansion at 5 W. Greenwood St. in Andover might be a popular local attraction, what’s perhaps not as well-known is that some of the actors scaring people silly are Alfred State students in the Emerging Pioneer Leadership Program (EPLP).

The EPLP is an exciting program that passionately believes that anyone can be a leader and a positive change in the community. Through this initiative, students engage in interactive workshops, develop meaningful mentor relationships, and get involved in significant community service and engagement opportunities.

Tim Morgan, a digital media and animation major from Huguenot and an EPLP member, said as part of a Gold Level group project, nine students this semester are serving as actors at the Andover Haunted House, which opens at 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays in October. The students had reached out to the Andover Haunted House Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization that raises money for a number of local charities, about their interest in assisting with the haunted house.

“I’m not sure how much money we’ve helped them raise, but basically by us acting in the show, we’re helping them by volunteering our time so that they don’t have to pay anybody to work there,” Morgan said.

Around 50 Alfred State students attended a Late Night Alfred trip to the Andover Haunted House on Friday. While the normal cost of admission is $13, students on the Late Night tour only paid $8.

“It was a lot of fun,” Morgan said of the trip. “I really enjoyed that we were able to get students off campus and get them out into the community. I also liked the fact that a lot of students participated in the trip and that the money the students gave is going to charity.”

For more information about the Andover Haunted House, visit www.hauntedandover.com.

Alfred State to enhance student political involvement, civic engagement through TurboVote

Posted Date: 
Wednesday, October 8, 2014 - 11:30

Alfred State is looking to increase students’ democratic participation and civic engagement efforts by partnering with Democracy Works to bring TurboVote technology to campus.

Democracy Works, a non-profit, non-partisan tech startup, created TurboVote, an online platform that helps college students to register to vote, request an absentee ballot, and sign up for text or email reminders with relevant election information such as dates and deadlines for local, state, and national elections.

And it’s all free to students, according to Jonathan Hilsher, director of the Center of Civic Engagement at Alfred State.

“Ultimately, the goal is to promote civic learning and advance civic action as a life-long practice, producing graduates committed to being informed, active citizens in their communities,” Hilsher said.

Students can now register for TurboVote, Hilsher said, and in time for Election Day on Nov. 4.

“The voter registration deadline is Oct. 10 and the deadline to request an absentee ballot is Oct. 28,” he said. “However, other features such as text and email reminders on voting days have no due date.”

To sign up for TurboVote, visit Alfred State’s co-branded site at alfredstate.turbovote.org.

“TurboVote is a great tool to make the voting process less intimidating and enable greater civic engagement among students,” Hilsher said.

Alfred State Named a Lead Institution in Civic Engagement by National Association

Posted Date: 
Wednesday, September 10, 2014 - 13:30

Alfred State has been selected to participate in a national initiative on civic learning and democratic engagement. The college has been named one of nearly 100 colleges and universities in the nation as a Lead Institution by NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, the leading voice for the student affairs profession.

As a participating institution in NASPA’s initiative, Alfred State will continue to encourage students’ civic development through thoughtful community partnerships, engaging leadership opportunities, and democratic participation.

“Alfred State is pleased to be selected to participate in NASPA’s network of institutions dedicated to developing students’ sense of civic identity as a core value of higher education,” said Jonathan Hilsher, director of the Center for Civic Engagement at Alfred State. “Being recognized as a national leader in this field is a reflection of the quality of our current efforts and our collective commitment to inspiring students to demonstrate leadership through civic engagement.”

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, including communities devastated by Super Storm Sandy and Haitian communities recovering from the 2010 earthquake. Last year, Alfred State students contributed nearly 60,000 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: http://www.naspa.org/rpi/lead-initiative.

Local Students Embark on Civic Engagement Trip to Peru

Posted Date: 
Monday, May 19, 2014 - 10:30

Students from Alfred State will journey from Alfred to Lima, Peru, from May 20 to May 29 to participate in a civic engagement project. This group of nine students; Mathematics and Physics Department faculty member Dr. Kathleen Ebert; and one Business Department faculty member, Dr. Lisa McCool, who is heading up the project, began preparations for the trip in November.

Students will be working with two groups: InMed, a support service for women and children, and Cooperar Peru, an orphanage located in Tankarpata. The group worked to raise funds and collect donated items for the trip’s service organizations. Donations included 1,000 birthing kits donated by Vonta International, 100 hand-crocheted newborn caps donated by Olean General Hospital, and numerous baby layette items donated by McKenzie Mallaber’s family.

April Heckman, a Rexville, N.Y., native and student in the business administration program, is looking forward to this potentially life-changing experience. “I’m excited about seeing a new culture,” she said. After arriving in Peru, the group will tour four cities, including Machu Picchu. One goal is to share a day with the children in the orphanage playing games and doing crafts. “I want to make a difference and see how others live,” said McKenzie Mallaber, of Livonia, N.Y., a student in the human services management program.

This project is being done in collaboration with the Office of Civic Engagement and International Student Services.

Local Student Wins National Award for Civic Engagement

Posted Date: 
Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 15:15

Kayla FranchinaAlfred State student Kayla Franchina, of Gerry, has recently been named a 2014 recipient of the Newman Civic Fellows Award from Campus Compact for her role in launching Project Prom Dress at Alfred State. Kayla is one of less than 200 students in the country being honored this year and the only Alfred State student to ever receive the award. The Newman Civic Fellows Award is given to those student leaders who have demonstrated an investment in enacting positive and lasting change in their communities through service, research, and advocacy.

Project Prom Dress, of which Kayla is the founder, focuses on collecting donated prom dresses, accessories, and cash donations for underprivileged teenage women. The group also hosts dress drives and sponsors proms at low-income schools. “For me, it isn’t just about getting dresses for these girls; it’s about helping them have the night of their lives,” Kayla says. “This project helps these women feel great about themselves, even if they can’t afford to go into a store and pick out something new to wear.”

Kayla started her prom dress drive after experiencing the sticker shock of looking for her own prom dress on a tight budget. “I was with my mom and we were in a prom dress store—the only one within hours of our town—and there wasn’t a single dress under $100. I knew it would be hard for me to get one, and I knew a lot of my friends wouldn’t be able to get a dress at all. I had to do something about it, so I started my first dress drive, and it just snowballed from there.”

This prom dress project has since attracted a lot of attention—from local media to businesses to local government, even earning significant support from Erie County Legislator Lynne Dixon. After transitioning the project to Alfred State and helping to form it into a highly regarded club, Kayla began acting as a mentor to new club members. She now helps form connections between club members and members of the community in order to facilitate donations and keep the project moving forward.

“Today, I’m teaching the young men and women who will be taking the project over and getting them ready to take the wheel. This experience has really taught me a lot about networking and the importance of reaching out to people at all levels. That’s the only way you can really make a difference,” Kayla says.

To date, Kayla and project prom dress have collected hundreds of dresses, accessories, and shoes from generous local businesses and passed them on to dozens of young women. And this year, thanks to their efforts and local fundraising, Whitesville Central School will be able to host its own prom.

“I’ve learned that people love helping other people if you give them the chance. It’s one of the best learning experiences of this project. You get to see how generous these small communities are and how easily they come together.”

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