The holidays remind us this is the season of giving. All members of SUNY make a concerted effort to volunteer and contribute to their respective campuses and local communities. The 30 Days of Giving campaign highlights students and faculty across all of our 64 campuses who participate in volunteerism and give back to those in need. With over 467,000 students and three million alumni, we want to celebrate the impact the SUNY community has made in all of their unique community service projects. As we learned last year, the byproduct of taking volunteerism to scale is not only building character in our students themselves as they join our over three million alumni, but also to set an example of impact as the nation’s largest university system.
Onondaga Community College
Students in Onondaga’s Architecture and Interior Design Club dedicated themselves to helping others. Their invaluable work resulted in them enhancing their academic and curricular experiences, and earned them recognition from the White House. Students participated in three major projects:
- Spent their spring break at James River State Park in Virginia as part of an alternative spring break trip with the American Hiking Society. Students cleared a meadow of fallen brush and debris and built a tunnel and gazebo with what they collected.
- Teamed up with several organizations to build a playground at Lower Union Park on the north side of Syracuse.
- Carved pumpkins for the Van Duyn Outreach Dinner. Fifty residents of the Van Duyn Home and Hospital attended the event, which was held in the Great Room of the Gordon Student Center.
For contributing more than 500 hours of community service within a 12-month period, the Architecture and Interior Design Club earned the President’s Volunteer Service Award, silver level. The accomplishment was noted with both a personalized certificate and a congratulatory letter from President Barack Obama. The club is part of Onondaga’s Student Association which helps fund activities through fees students pay.
Students said the events they participated in had a lasting impact on them. “The spring break trip allowed me to get to know my classmates and feel part of something bigger. It also helped me see how I could give back professionally once I complete my degree,” said Sarah Campbell, an Interior Design major from Hannibal. Jeff Anthony, an Architectural Technology student from Sackets Harbor, said giving his time has been a lifelong priority. “Volunteering has always been a part of who I am, from high school to becoming an Eagle Scout to now. It’s a basic compass for my actions. It’s contagious and just good karma.”
Teresa Godiers is an Associate Professor and Department Chair of Architectural Technology and Interior Design. She sees tremendous value in the students’ community service. “It’s all about working together, camaraderie, leadership, coming together to achieve a goal, and at the same time applying what you learn in the classroom. It’s an experience they will always remember.”