In conjunction with efforts put forth by The Governor’s Office and SUNY, Empire State College rallied together with all of our locations to make donations to hurricane victims in the Caribbean. Collection boxes were placed in all 34 of SUNY Empire’s statewide locations. From just the Capital Region alone, an entire truckload of items was able to be donated. All of the items were delivered directly to Empire Plaza, for delivery and distribution straight to the Caribbean.
At the Cheektowaga location, the collection went even further with collection of food and other critical items collected by faculty member Rhianna Rogers, who mailed them to Puerto Rico, covering the cost herself.
The Hauppauge location, in the same building as a state collection sight, inspired more giving. Lauren Webb, the Regional Operations Coordinator for Long Island, stated, “When our staff and students found out that Hauppauge was originally a state-designated drop-off point, they immediately wanted a donation bin set up in our Old Westbury location as well. A bin was made and folks immediately started donating. Staff members volunteered to transport the donations from Old Westbury to Hauppauge for drop-off. This initiative was a tremendous display of our staff and student’s generosity and caring for those in need, and we were able to donate even more.”
This initiative came about at a time when SUNY Empire was already especially focused on the Caribbean. In late 2016, President of the college, Dr. Merodie Hancock, announced that 2016-2017 would be “The Year of the Caribbean.” All year SUNY Empire focused programs, discussion forums, and events around the Caribbean, specifically highlighting art, literature, language and cultures of the Caribbean. This came in partnership with SUNY Empire’s new relationship with The University of the West Indies.
This effort by faculty, staff, students and communities helped to raise awareness and donations across New York State for this very important cause.