Members of the Alfred State College, Alfred University, and Alfred village community came together recently at Union University Church for the eighth 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 principals that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. advocated including commitment to equality, service, social justice, and community.
The Allegany-Cattaraugus-Chautauqua Fund for Women (ACC-FFW), represented by Melissa Jusianiec and Sashi Racho, received the 2018 Alfred Community Spirit of Service Award. The organization aims to provide financial assistance and open doors for women seeking sustained self-sufficiency through continued education, career development, small business development, and other initiatives. Also nominated was Crystal Dodge, who has maintained the village of Alfred book stand for over 11 years.
The 2018 Alfred State Faculty/Staff Spirit of Service Award recipient was Cassandra Bull, an AmeriCorps VISTA member focused on community based gardening and nutritional literacy. An alumna of both Alfred University and Alfred State, Bull has demonstrated incredible commitment to agriculture and sustainable food systems in the Alfred community. Also nominated were Zachary Barbis, a residence hall director; Jessica Lippa, professor of Nursing; and Constance E. Pennisi, professor of Digital Media and Animation.
Receiving the 2018 Alfred State Student Spirit of Service Award was Samantha Smith, who has been integral in starting and maintaining the Hope for Health Club. Her participation in two medical trips to Haiti guided her efforts in building Hope for Health and promoting civic engagement. Also nominated were Mitchell Colvin, a leader of the Hope for Health Club; Megan Jones, a volunteer and member of the Newman Club; Peter J. Mormino, a volunteer for the Reaching Individual Success in Education (RISE) program; Danielle Russo, a member of the Alfred Volunteer Fire Department and Alfred State women’s rugby team; and Sierra Topolski, a residential assistant and volunteer in education.
The 2018 Alfred University Faculty/Staff Spirit of Service Award was presented to Dr. Timothy Cox, an ambulance lieutenant and professor of English, and John Hosford, a fire department quartermaster and visual resources curator. Noted for their compassion and diligence, Cox and Hosford have dedicated their time to preparing for and responding to emergency situations with the utmost care. Also nominated were Donald J. Cinque, a volunteer with the Career Development Center; and Dr. Becky Prophet, a professor of Theater.
Elvira Rodriguez, an advocate of cultural unity, gender equality, and sexual assault and domestic violence awareness, received the 2018 Alfred University Student Spirit of Service Award. Her work has included organization of Take Back the Night events, as well as involvement in the AU Bias Response Team, president’s committee task force for diversity, and Institute for Cultural Unity. Also nominated were Elizabeth Benedict, a graduate student in counseling; and Beryl Torthe, a volunteer EMT.