Alfred 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.”
Alfred State and Alfred University partnered on a day of community service last weekend in remembrance of a great civic leader
On Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014, Alfred State and Alfred University students braved the cold for a good cause—heading out into the community in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. and his legacy of social justice and civic engagement for their annual MLK Jr. Dream Week Day of Service.
“Students served in Alfred, Almond, Belmont, Wellsville, and Hornell,” said Jonathan Hilsher, director of the Center for Civic Engagement at Alfred State. “Approximately 140 students, faculty, and staff participated in this event, including the Alfred State baseball team, Alfred University tennis team, and Greek organizations. President and Mrs. Sullivan also took time to lend a hand in the effort.”
College students, faculty, and staff worked on 16 separate projects, which included the Alfred Lions Club, food pantries, Wellsville Community Kitchen, Almond 20th Century Library, Allegany ARC, and buildings on both campuses. Volunteers painted rooms, made treats, visited with the elderly and disabled, cleaned and organized, and connected with local nonprofits.
“It was sincerely appreciated. Our school is now shining and sparkling,” said Carman Banzaca, executive director of the Alfred Montessori School. “The children and staff will be so thrilled.” This event rounded out a week of programming on both campuses in commemoration of the holiday and its namesake.
“Two of the most important outcomes of this event are the relationship building and fostering greater awareness of the challenges and opportunities in our larger community. I definitely see this day as a launching point for further civic involvement by our students,” Jonathan said.
Alfred State and Alfred University were recently awarded a New York Campus Compact 2014 MLK Collegiate Challenge Grant. Only a dozen schools in the state received the honor. Both institutions will collaboratively use the funds to honor the life of Dr. King by inspiring students to serve and helping members of the community to work together to address community challenges.
This month,Alfred Statewas selected to participate in a national initiative on civic learning and democratic engagement. The college has been named one of 70 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.
“Alfred State is pleased to be selected to participate in NASPA’s network of institutions dedicated to developing students’ sense of civic identity, as civic engagement is a core value of higher education,” says Director of Civic Engagement Jonathan Hilsher. “Being recognized as a national leader in this field reflects our institutional commitment to civic leadership, the quality of our current efforts, and our ongoing commitment to inspiring students to develop innovative solutions to community challenges and opportunities.”
Alfred State’s commitment to civic engagement is deeply embedded in the college’s unique approach to education through project-based learning experiences. By coupling real-world learning situations with a focus on meaningful civic engagement opportunities, Alfred State students are able to 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, more than 2,000 Alfred State students contributed more than 46,000 hours of service, civic leadership, and workforce-ready knowledge to communities in need.
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.
To learn more about NASPA’s Lead Initiative and view a complete listing of participating institutions, visit the NASPA website.
The Alfred State Nursing Department continued its “Pay It Forward” philosophy through the awarding of its seventh annual round of “Pay It Forward” scholarships to Gary Crouse, Hammondsport, NY; John Kozlyuk, Rochester, NY; and Maura Tuffey, Albany, NY. Each recipient received $150 and good wishes from the class of 2005 who first established the scholarship. Each scholarship recipient needs to demonstrate an understanding of caring as evidenced by implementing a unique caring project and to reveal insight and sensitivity in the written assignment.
The premise of “Paying it Forward” comes from a movie by the same name where a school child, as the result of a homework assignment to change the world, begins the practice of helping others expecting that each of those beneficiaries will go on to help three more people. The caring aspect of that concept prompted Linda Panter, professor in Alfred State’s nursing program, to incorporate it into the program. All senior nursing students submit proposals detailing the activities they could conduct to demonstrate the caring nature of the profession. One of those ideas was the “Pay It Forward” scholarships which are awarded to senior nursing students at the beginning of their last semester. Funding is primarily supported by the graduates of the Alfred State nursing program.
“Pay It Forward’ is a concept relating to social change beginning with the individual,” says Panter of the project. “Application of the process results in exponential development of moral health and caring, as well as transformation of the individual into a contributing member of the global society,” she adds.
Since the inception of “Pay It Forward”, several caring projects relating to this concept have been developed by the students within the nursing program. As an example, the annual “Pay It Forward” bulletin board is a message sharing project that elicits positive messages to one another each year. The senior class has the opportunity to develop their own theme under the umbrella of this inspiring model. This year’s theme is “A single leaf provides no shade.” Prior to each exam, students are encouraged to take a moment to reach out to a class member, offering a good luck handshake or a touch of the shoulder. Each day, someone somewhere is implementing the “Pay It Forward” concept. Other heartwarming class projects this semester included a signed sympathy card by the seniors addressed to the Sandy Hook Elementary School, donations of food to the Alfred Area Food Pantry, and a special contribution to the Jillian Andolina benefit held earlier this year.
The graduating class usually leaves a small pot of money to allow for a pizza party for the next senior class. This event ignites the “Pay It Forward” concept at the beginning of the academic year with the current seniors and starts the rippling effect of the “Pay It Forward” concept in the Alfred State nursing program. The Alfred State nursing class is changing the world with the “Pay It Forward” movement.
Back row, l to r: Gary Crouse, Hammondsport; Maura Tuffey, Albany; John Kozlyuk; Rochester
Front row, l to r: Annette Burdett, administrative assistant, Nursing Department; Linda Panter, professor, Nursing Department
On May 9, Professor William Dean, Architecture and Design, accompanied two second-year architectural technology students to the First Presbyterian Church of Bath, NY for a public presentation of conceptual designs that included new signage and a veterans’ memorial that will welcome visitors to the village’s historic downtown. Katherine Dussing, Syracuse, and Taylor Woolf, Watertown, explained their proposals to the group of 25 residents representing different community groups around the village. The event, sponsored by CIVIC (Community Involvement and Volunteering Initiative Committee), provided the opportunity for residents to identify existing assets in the community and share ideas for future development. Alfred State’s participation is an extension of ongoing civic engagement efforts in the Department of Architecture and Design.
Alfred State has been named to the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, one of the highest honors a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning, and civic engagement. The distinction was announced March 4 at the American Council on Education’s 95th Annual Meeting Leading Change in Washington, DC.
“Congratulations to Alfred State, its faculty and students, for its commitment to service, both in and out of the classroom,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). “Through its work, institutions of higher education are helping improve their local communities and create a new generation of leaders by challenging students to go beyond the traditional college experience and solve local challenges.”
The CNCS has administered the honor to exemplary colleges and universities since 2006 and manages the program in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as the American Council on Education and Campus Compact. CNCS is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, the Social Innovation Fund, and other programs, and leads President Obama’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve.
Inspired by the thousands of college students who traveled across the country to support relief efforts along the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina, the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll honors the nation’s leading higher education institutions and their students, faculty, and staff for their commitment to bettering their communities through service. These are institutions that reflect the values of exemplary community service and achieve meaningful outcomes in their communities.
“We believe in preparing our graduates to be active leaders and participants in an ever changing world,” said Alfred State’s Jonathan Hilsher, director of civic engagement. “We’re honored to receive this prestigious award – and owe much of it to the students themselves. They’re the energy driving our commitment and they’re the ones who make it all happen.”
Alfred State’s commitment to civic engagement is deeply embedded in the college’s unique approach to education through project-based learning experiences. By coupling real-world learning situations with a focus on meaningful civic engagement opportunities, Alfred State students are able to 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, more than 2,000 Alfred State students contributed over 46,000 hours of service, civic leadership, and workforce-ready knowledge to communities in need.
Ten freshmen Building Trades students and instructor Jack Jones returned from a week of service in Long Island Feb. 8 where they spent five days helping home owners there prepare to rebuild homes destroyed by Super Storm Sandy last fall.
“This was a rich and rewarding learning experience on many levels,” said Jones. Students worked on four homes which were identified by the New York Annual Conference (NYAC), a mission and relief organization through the United Methodist Church that coordinates volunteers to assist with recovery efforts.
“We were thrilled to have Alfred State students here to help us rebuild,” said NYAC Disaster Response Coordinator Warren Ferry. “Having volunteers who are diligent, open to taking on tough challenges, and who have the skills to use the right safety procedures is a tremendous help. We hope they come back soon!”
The students worked on homes that were between the demolition and reconstruction phase of construction. “This phase of construction is a particularly stressful time for home owners under the best of circumstances,” said Jones, “but the people we were helping had just lost everything. They were very grateful for the work we provided.”
Jones said students were able to see real-world instances of exemplary building work and how certain construction techniques and workmanship helped some structures withstand damage while other methods may have contributed to making structures vulnerable to storm damage.
“Being able to see real examples like this while also experiencing how important safety and quality to the people who live in these buildings was a meaningful experience,” added Jones.
The project was part of the Building Trades lab component and was coordinated by through Alfred State’s Center for Civic Engagement.
Project-based learning is a cornerstone of the Alfred State culture. When students tackle real-world problems, they learn how to think, not what to think. They can also engage in meaningful civic engagement developing solutions to ongoing community challenges.
A recent example took place in Apalachin, NY, from March 11-16. Mark Payne, assistant professor, Heavy Equipment Operations, led a group of eight students during their spring break to engage in stream remediation. The team utilized heavy equipment such as bulldozers, excavators, wheel loaders, and an articulated truck to redirect the Apalachin Creek stream bed and create a berm that will better control any future flooding. The group invested long hours each day to ensure the work would be completed by the end of the week. Thankfully, all benefited by having Culinary Arts instructor, Brian Decker, prepare excellent meals on site to keep up the energy level and enthusiasm!
This trip was the fourth relief team Professor Payne has organized with the Heavy Equipment Club to assist this region of New York after the historic flooding from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in 2011. The first team served in the Schoharie area to clear debris. The second team worked with the Owego-Apalachin school district to rehabilitate a drainage system to mitigate future flooding. The third team began the work on the Apalachin Creek as well as rehabilitated a local cemetery at the request of Senator Tom Libous’ office. This fourth team sought to move beyond cleanup to provide a solution at Apalachin Creek that would mitigate and redirect future floods from having such a devastating impact in the future.
This project was made possible not only through the initiative, expertise, and service of this team, but also through the collaboration and support of corporate, non-profit, and local/state government agency partners. Right down the road, Binghamton University again was a valuable partner by providing housing and parking options to the group throughout the week. Monroe Tractor donated the trucking of a bulldozer, excavator, wheel loader and an articulated dump truck to this project. And, LeChase Construction LLC working with ZMK Construction donated another bulldozer to the cause. Exaktime also donated time tracking software to allow the students to log and manage their time on the project. Finally, the team worked very closely with Tioga Soil County and Water and the Upper Susquehanna River Coalition to identify the need for stream remediation and develop a clear plan to fix this ongoing community challenge.
Students have taken on leadership roles gaining valuable experience in logistical organization, project planning, collaboration, and real world experience on heavy equipment. Local residents have expressed their appreciation that their property and lives are now safer through the efforts of this team. And, all stakeholders appreciate the value of coming together to develop solutions to local challenges. The expectation is that future efforts will continue to leverage these strong partnerships to create solutions in communities that continue to recover from the flood damage.
Standing alone (green shirt):
Christopher Addison, Hamburg
Front, left to right:
Angel Cavanaugh, Whitesville; Cody Madigan, Bath; Kevin Nicoletti, Cochecton; Wayne Carroll, Jr., Bath; Michael Kashdin, Buffalo; and Mark Payne, associate professor, heavy equipment operations, Building Trades Department.