Mar. 26, 2014

College Recognizes Commitment to Service and Volunteerism


Geneseo student Annamarie Centorrino (left) was among those receiving volunteer and service awards during the college's annual recognition dinner Tuesday evening. Presenting the award was fellow Geneseo student Carolyn Giroud, a member of the college's Advisory Committee on Volunteer and Service Programs.

GENESEO, N.Y. – SUNY Geneseo recognized individual students and student organizations, a faculty member and community partners with 2014 Volunteer and Service Awards during the college’s annual volunteer and service awards dinner Tuesday evening. The college’s Advisory Committee on Volunteer and Service Programs created the awards in 2011 to recognize the awardees for their high level of commitment to service with the college’s community partners.

“We celebrate this evening your strong commitment to the public good and I commend all of you for making it a priority,” said Interim Geneseo President Carol Long. “We hear a lot about college rankings these days but the one that is very meaningful to me is Washington Monthly, in which Geneseo ranks second overall among the nation’s master’s level universities for contributions to the public good and you have been a big part of that effort.”

In the 2011-12 school year, 4,172 Geneseo students provided more than 247,301 hours of voluntary service to the community. Data for the 2012-13 school year is expected within the month but likely will reflect a similar heavy commitment to service and volunteerism.

The keynote speaker was Eddie Lee, a 1976 Geneseo alumnus and current president of the Geneseo Alumni Association. He commended the work of Tom Matthews, associate dean of leadership and service and his colleagues, for encouraging creativity in community service and encouraged the students to remain loyal to volunteerism.

“The community service that you are being recognized for tonight is small change with big impact on the people and lives you help - and hopefully on yourselves,” said Lee.  “There is great joy in THAT itself.  Some of you may go on to big change with huge impact.  The world is waiting for you.”

Individual students receiving awards were Emily Bressner, who has logged more than 1,200 hours as an EMT at the Geneseo Fire Department and has served as vice president of philanthropic service for Sigma Kappa sorority; Annamarie Centorrino, who has been volunteer ambulance medic, driver and field trainer at the Geneseo Fire Department for three years and in the last year accumulated more than 1,100 hours in ambulance duty; Josephine Champlin, who has been a Livingston CARES’ Give Kids The World volunteer for the past four years; Alanna Fausel, who has been an active member of Alpha Phi Omega, a national co-ed service fraternity, serving more than 200 hours the past year alone; and Christopher Pike, who also has been active in Alpha Phi Omega and has served as president for two years.

Organizations receiving awards were Circle K, an international service organization sponsored by Kiwanis International with more than 60 active members in the Geneseo chapter who dedicate themselves to weekly service events; Sigma Kappa Sorority, a national sorority that each year hosts a 5K walk to raise funds and awareness for the organization’s Ultra Violet Foundation, which focuses on Alzheimer’s/Gerontology and the Maine Sea Coast Mission and also participates weekly in activities at Morgan Estates Assisted Living Community; and Sisters Making a Change, a local service sorority founded at SUNY Geneseo, which has coordinated two major events on campus: the Out of the Darkness Walk for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the 5K Turkey Trot to benefit the Mt. Morris food pantry.

The advisory committee for the first time recognized a faculty member for her commitment to volunteerism and service. Mary Mohan, professor of communication, has integrated service-learning projects into her communication courses for more than two decades, assisting small businesses and nonprofit organizations in communities across Livingston County.

Also recognized was Tree Creations and founder Joseph Ferrero, who has established a growing village of tree houses in the Town of Geneseo with more than 1,000 hours of volunteer assistance from SUNY Geneseo students and other community organizations and individuals. Ferrero and his wife, Heather (both 1996 SUNY Geneseo graduates) have opened up the tree houses to anyone regardless of age, income or ability.

Matthews thanked store manager Charlie Hasty and for a generous gift Wegmans made to create the awards for the recipients. Other sponsors of the event were the college’s GOLD Program (Geneseo Opportunities for Leadership Development), the Volunteer Center, Center for Community and the Division of Student and Campus Life.

 Assistance for this release provided by College Communications intern Jennifer Kim

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