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Civic Engagement

Students volunteer out-of-state during spring break

Posted Date: Friday, April 1, 2016 - 14:30

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.

Alfred State volunteers work on creating a wetland exhibit area on a recent civic engagement project trip to New Orleans.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.”

Alfred State volunteers who worked with the Horry County Habitat for Humanity to build a house for a resident in Myrtle Beach, SC.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.

Several honored during Celebration of Service Ceremony

Posted Date: Friday, February 5, 2016 - 11:45

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.

2016 Spirit of Service Award winners

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).

Leadership Suite initiative earns Certificate of Honorable Mention

Posted Date: Monday, November 9, 2015 - 15:30

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.”

Three Upstate NY Colleges Come Together To Serve The Local Communities

Posted Date: Wednesday, October 28, 2015 - 09:45

Houghton College, Alfred State, and Alfred University join together to serve local communities during the 2015 Make a Difference Day.

5 student volunteers at Make a Difference Day: Celebrate Service, Celebrate AlleganyMake 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.

Leadership suites initiative recognized with NASPA 2015 Excellence Award

Posted Date: Tuesday, March 10, 2015 - 11:45

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.”

Project Prom Dress Extravaganza set for April 11

Posted Date: Tuesday, March 10, 2015 - 10:45

Olivia Ciesla with 2 red prom dressesTeenage 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.