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30 Days of Giving

30 Days Of Giving 2017 – Day 26: SUNY Oneonta Students Help Area Children Learn

Students from SUNY Oneonta teach elementary school children in their classroom.

A special community outreach endeavor completed this semester by a group of SUNY Oneonta students has helped educate an entire elementary school of children on the basics of environmental sustainability and stewardship.

Through the college’s “Harvest Share Buddies” service learning initiative, dozens of biology and sociology students spent time in 12 different classrooms at Riverside Elementary School in Oneonta, teaching hundreds of children about food, the environment and plant biology. In their assigned K-5 classrooms, SUNY Oneonta students presented weekly interactive lessons, facilitated group discussions and got to know the children.

Environmental concepts literally came to life for the kids, as vegetable grow boxes were built and installed in the classrooms, giving students a firsthand look at where food comes from. Students grew tomatoes, lettuce and a variety of herbs and spices. When full-grown, the ingredients will be harvested and used to make pizza for the children.

The Harvest Share Buddies program, organized by Assistant Professor of Biology Sean Robinson and Associate Professor of Sociology Greg Fulkerson, is in its second year.

On the last visit of the semester, Environmental Studies major Zeke Brynin showed fourth graders a video on food waste, and the children brainstormed ways to help “reduce, reuse and recycle.” Suggestions included riding a bicycle instead of driving, reducing pollution, starting a compost pile, shopping local and growing food at home.

Next door, SUNY Oneonta student Kragh Delello asked third graders about their favorite (and least favorite) foods, spoke about the nutritional value of these foods and led a game on the class SMART Board.

“When we walk in the classroom, it’s like we’re celebrities,” Delello said. “It has been really fun getting to know these kids.”

Third-grade teacher Jacqueline Scanlon said her pupils loved having the college students come in each week.

“We called them our SUNY friends, and whenever it was time for a visit, their eyes would light up,” Scanlon said. “It’s great for these kids to meet the college students and gain a mentor-type figure, but it’s also something I appreciate because, with pressures on curriculum, this is a topic we don’t often get to talk about. But it’s so needed and relevant. My students have learned a lot.”


30 Days of Giving 2017:

  1. Day 1: Shopping with a Smile
  2. Day 2: Erie Community College Cook-Off for Kidneys
  3. Day 3: Stony Brook Medicine Helps in Puerto Rico
  4. Day 4: A Day of Service at Onondaga CC
  5. Day 5: New Paltz Students Make a Difference
  6. Day 6: Buffalo State College Dares to Care
  7. Day 7: Niagara County CC Students Lend A Hand for Thanksgiving
  8. Day 8: Old Westbury Helps Haiti
  9. Day 9: A Day of Service at SUNY Potsdam
  10. Day 10: Helping Animals at Hudson Valley Community College
  11. Day 11: FIT Students Help the Homeless
  12. Day 12: Morrisville Athletes Go Local For Service
  13. Day 13: SUNY Poly Gives Back Throughout the Region
  14. Day 14: SUNY Oswego Honors Those Battling Ovarian Cancer
  15. Day 15: Brockport Students Volunteer at Thanksgiving
  16. Day 16: SUNY ESF Sends Acorns to Action
  17. Day 17: Doors Open at the Columbia-Greene Community College Giving Closet
  18. Day 18: Monroe Community College Helps Walk for Water
  19. Day 19: SUNY Cortland Supports Crop Hunger Walk
  20. Day 20: Making Music at Farmingdale State to Help the Hungry
  21. Day 21: Increasing Food Security at Dutchess Community College
  22. Day 22: Addressing Food Insecurity On and Around SUNY Geneseo
  23. Day 23: Westchester Community College Plays the UnHunger Games
  24. Day 24: Binghamton University Builds University Assisted Community Schools
  25. Day 25: Mohawk Valley Community College Gives Back To Their Community
  26. Day 26: SUNY Oneonta Students Help Area Children Learn
  27. Day 27: Rockland Community College Comes Together to Aid Puerto Rico
  28. Day 28: Empire State College Donates to Caribbean Relief
  29. Day 29: Schenectady County Community College Students Provide Support to Foster Families
  30. Day 30: Raising Guiding Eyes at SUNY Delhi

Written by Sarah Petrak

Sarah Petrak is a student assistant with the Office of Communications and New Media for SUNY System Administration. She is a studying Public Policy at the University at Albany.




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