Aug. 16, 2010

Mayor to Mayor During Village of Geneseo Orientation Tours


Village of Geneseo Mayor Richard Hatheway, professor emeritus of geological sciences at the college, in front of village offices on Main Street.

GENESEO, N.Y. -- It's not often that Geneseo Mayor Richard Hatheway gives tours of the village to his counterparts but two fellow mayors, both from New York's Hudson Valley, were among parents who accompanied their SUNY Geneseo freshmen to the college's orientation programs this summer.

For more than five years, Hatheway has offered early morning tours of Geneseo for the parents of incoming students on the second day of orientation. Geneseo had five orientation sessions this summer, and five times Hatheway showed the parents Geneseo's picturesque Main Street and other parts of the village. He also provided village history and answered their questions.

"The tours started out small but this year I had one group of 30 and it was interesting having a couple of fellow mayors involved," says Hatheway, a professor emeritus of geological sciences at Geneseo who has been the village's mayor since 1986. "They began as a college initiative to tie the community and college together and they have certainly helped do that. We are lucky because the downtown area is only one block from the college."

Hatheway says he occasionally will be crossing the street in a crosswalk with a tour group and those from bigger cities are reluctant to cross because of oncoming traffic.

"I assure them the cars will yield to us in the crosswalk, and they are usually amazed when they do," he says.

Hatheway doesn't use a script on the tours. He points out the many businesses and other organizations in the village and the role the college has played in many of them. He also addresses the numerous volunteer activities in the community that students get involved with.

"Student volunteers play a major role in our village and we appreciate what the college does to promote volunteerism," says Hatheway. "The college also has done a good job of making sure students who live off campus are aware of their responsibilities. We actually have few off-campus problems compared to other college towns."

The parents are quite appreciative that someone would take time to tell them about the community, says Hatheway, and emphasizes the tours show that the entire community cares about the students, not just the college.

"The parents are all most grateful. Sometimes I even get applause," he says with a smile.

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