In September, more than 200 University at Albany students volunteered at the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York, signing up for two-hour shifts at the Food Bank’s Patroon Land Farm in Voorheesville, N.Y. or its main facility in Latham, N.Y.
On the farm, volunteers helped weed, harvest, wash and box produce, while those at the facility sorted and packaged food and non-food products for distribution. Volunteers were recruited from UAlbany’s Living-Learning Communities (L-LCs), a program that pairs on-campus housing with freshmen and transfer students who share similar academic goals and interests.
Regional Food Bank Executive Director Mark Quandt said he could not remember this many people from one organization all volunteering on one day in the Food Bank’s 32-year history! Michelle Feder, a student and community assistant for the Community Service L-LC, organizes UAlbany’s partnership with the Regional Food Bank. She was very proud of the turnout.
“It’s the most humbling experience to see my excitement for community service rub off on so many people,” Feder said. “To see hundreds of students come out for a good cause was rewarding. I’m so thankful to see this volunteer event become something special.”
In 2013, University at Albany President Robert Jones challenged the campus to log at least two-and-a-half million community engagement hours every year. Currently, more than 7,400 University at Albany students contribute to local communities through volunteer work, courses or internships annually.
“My goal is to get students to realize they can impact a larger community than just the UAlbany campus,” Feder said. “Volunteering with an organization like the Regional Food Bank offers students a chance to feel more connected, help a great cause and spread awareness of the issue at hand.”
Atiba was an intern with SUNY's Office of New Media, who became a University at Albany graduate in English with a minor in Communications.