Apr. 19, 2011

More than 100 Geneseo students volunteer, all over the county

HEROS volunteers at Kiwanis park

Members of HEROS (Higher Education Resources and Opportunities in Schools) Billy O'Donnell '14, Christine Rice '14, Amanda Staubitz '12 and Ally Taveniere swept floors, washed windows and helped with other spring cleaning at  Kiwanis Park in Nunda as part of the Geneseo Goes To Town project. More than 100 studnents volunteered for projects in 21 work sites all over the area. /PHOTO PROVIDED





Last Saturday morning, Catherine Brown '12 crawled out of bed and made her way from the soggy campus to the Lima town hall, where she and a small group of friends scrubbed baseboards, cleaned windows, and vacuumed the winter's grime off the floor.

And what's more, they liked it.

"Everybody in our group was so excited to be there," says Brown. "We just sort of jumped in and got started."

She was one of 109 Geneseo students who participated in Geneseo Goes to Town, a volunteer project that saw Geneseo students traveling to towns and villages throughout Livingston County to serve the communities.

Kay Fly, coordinator of student volunteer & service learning, says this began with an idea for Livingston CARES, a local nonprofit humanitarian organization, and expanded throughout the student body. GOLD student mentors contacted towns and villages for a total of 21 work sites. Only five were painting jobs made impossible by the weekend's nasty weather.

Despite the wind and rain, teams stuffed Easter eggs for Conesus holiday festivities, worked a book sale in Geneseo's Wadsworth library, prepared Groveland for its 200th anniversary celebration and waxed Leicester and Caledonia's fire engines. Those were just some of the help Geneseo students provided.

"Livingston CARES has been basically working on global events and Mississippi trips and we thought why not work in our own community ... a lot of students don't get out past Geneseo," Fly says. "It would be really great if they could see how good our students are all over."

Students organized groups with their friends as well as the Greek organizations, GOLD leadership mentors, the activities commission, the Klainer Center for Women in Business, Alpha Phi Omega and others.

Several students fed the spirit of volunteerism throughout the day, going from Geneseo Goes to Town to join their teams at the American Cancer Association's Relay for Life, which Geneseo hosted the same day, and as of Sunday morning raised $65,900.

I've been doing (this job) for almost 12 years, and I'm still constantly amazed at how our students are willing to give back," Fly says.

Brown sees projects like Geneseo Goes to Town as one more good way to help.

"They don't realize how many help they needed," she says. "Sometimes you just need to be that person to reach out."


— By Peter Wayner '11