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.
NASPA, the leading voice for the student affairs profession, has recognized Alfred State’s leadership suites initiative as a 2015 Excellence Award recipient within the Civic Learning, Democratic Engagement, Service-Learning, Community Service category.
Each year through Excellence Awards, the association recognizes contributions of its members who are “transforming higher education through exceptional programs, innovative services, and effective administration.” Alfred State joined California State University and Trinity University for top honors in the category they were awarded within.
According to NASPA, Excellence Award winners were selected by meeting criteria such as having a positive impact on student learning, demonstrating success in addressing student needs and/or critical campus issues, collaboration with academic affairs and other departments, originality and creativity, effective use of technology and other resources, and more.
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.
“Leadership suites are occupied by some of the most engaged student organizations committed to civic engagement through fundraising, volunteerism, advocacy, and education,” said Jonathan Hilsher, director of the Center for Civic Engagement. “These students, alongside advisers and community partners, are using their passion, energy, and skills to solve problems, build relationships, and address community challenges.”
Teenage girls from Allegany County and the surrounding areas won’t have to pay a cent to look like a million bucks this prom season, thanks to Alfred State’s Project Prom Dress Extravaganza.
Held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 11, at the Pioneer Center on the Alfred campus, the event allows attendees to select from hundreds of new or lightly used prom dresses and take one home without any cost. People may also make donations that day, including dresses, shoes, and gear.
Founded by Kayla Franchina, of Gerry, who graduated in 2014 with a degree in human services management, Project Prom Dress focuses on collecting donated prom dresses, accessories, and cash donations for underprivileged teenage women.
Alfred State wishes to thank its amazing donors for this year’s event: Elegance Bridals and Formals, of Canisteo; Belle Ruche Bridal Boutique, of Olean; Jessica Dugo, of Geneseo; JBK Bridal and Prom, of Horseheads; Bonjulies Main Street Bride, of Horseheads; Bella You, of Rochester; and One Enchanted Evening, of Fairport.
For more information, contact Alyshia Zurlick, assistant director of the Office of Student Engagement, at ZurlickAM@alfredstate.edu.
Caption: Pictured is Olivia Ciesla, president of Delta Chi Omega, which runs the Project Prom Dress Extravaganza every year, along with the Emerging Pioneer Leadership Program Gold Group.
The Alfred State New Horizons Forum continues its 2014-2015 season with a special event on the upcoming Alfred village elections.
The “Meet the Candidates” forum will be offered to the entire Alfred community on Thursday, Feb. 26, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in room 215 of the School of Engineering Technologies Building. Campus signage and volunteers will direct the public to the nearest parking areas.
Forum Director SUNY Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus Joe Flynn has recently invited participation from Alfred village mayoral candidates Justin Grigg and Jason Rodd, and trustee candidates Peter McClain, Kory Schick, Thomas McDowell, and Nick Ferraro. The forum letter specifies that the program will consist of two information sessions followed by a reception.
Session I is for the four trustee candidates. Doors will close at the start of each session.
The format rules provide equal speaking time for each candidate. The session starts with opening statements, followed by brief candidate responses to written questions from the audience. The questions are to be directed to the office being sought, not an individual candidate.
Session I will close with two-minute closing statements, for a total running time of under 45 minutes. After a short intermission, Session II for the two mayoral candidates will be governed by similar format rules with opening statements of six minutes, responses to written questions, and closing statements of four minutes. Session II is timed to end in under 45 minutes.
With candidate concurrence, the entire event will be broadcast over WETD and recorded.
A community reception with the candidates will follow in the gallery area outside SET 215. An information table for signed campaign and voter education materials will be available.
The New Horizons Forum, sponsored by the School of Arts and Sciences, showcases current scholarly, creative, and public service work by faculty, students, professional staff, and invited guests. It is guided by a campus-wide team of advisers who represent lead faculty, administrators, professional staff of the three academic schools, student affairs, and student government.
Key goals of the forum include practical efforts to encourage active learning outside the classroom, community service, and to sponsor activities that will enrich the intellectual life of the institution.
This “Meet the Candidates” forum is a joint effort of New Horizons, the Office of Civic Engagement, Student Civic Engagement Advocates, the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, and many individual volunteers.
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, 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:
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.
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.
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 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.”
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.”