7 Years of “Paying it Forward” Affects Communities Across Northeast
“A single leaf provides no shade.”
That is the theme of Alfred State‘s “Pay It Forward” campaign where students practice helping others, expecting that each of those beneficiaries will go on to help three more people. The idea behind the single leaf is very similar to the principle of SUNY’s systemness — the sum of a system (or, society) is greater than its individual parts. At Alfred State, the students hold close that working together will achieve greater results for the entire community.
Whether that community is Alfred, Sandy Hook, or the entire planet, Alfred State is moving kindness forward through this innovative campaign.
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 as inspirational as ever before. 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!