Carnegie Foundation Confers Respected Community Engagement Designation Upon Geneseo

Student firefighters

Sustainable cities and communitiesSUNY Geneseo’s “exemplary practices of community engagement” have earned the college the highly respected Community Engagement Classification for 2015 from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Geneseo is among 361 colleges and universities nationwide that now have the designation.
“We are pleased and humbled to be recognized by the distinguished Carnegie Foundation for our community engagement efforts,” said Geneseo Interim President Carol S. Long. “Serving the public good is a tangible part of Geneseo’s mission that we take very seriously, and we work hard to instill the importance of such engagement into all of our students. I commend all on our campus who have made this recognition possible.”

To be selected for the classification, institutions had to provide descriptions and examples of exemplary practices of community engagement. The Geneseo group that worked on the application called itself the Project for the Public Good and reached out to the entire campus and the wider community to identify the best practices that are supporting the public engagement of our students, faculty and staff and helping to make Geneseo a leader in community service.

SUNY Geneseo has been engaged for many years in community outreach initiatives at the local level and beyond. In 2014, for example, an estimated 3,678 students engaged in 262,706 hours of community service and academic service-learning. Local projects included such efforts as providing leaf raking for senior citizens, Red Cross blood drives, numerous charity fundraisers and serving as volunteers for the Geneseo Fire Department.

Nationally, 826 volunteers have participated in 32 Livingston CARES service trips to the Biloxi/Gulfport region since 2006 for disaster relief and recovery efforts following Hurricane Katrina. Volunteers have done similar relief work on State Island and Long Island since 2013 following Hurricane Sandy. In addition, the college is actively involved in global service learning initiatives in Ghana, Haiti and Nicaragua. Geneseo’s commitment to community service also has landed the college on the President’s Higher Education Honor Roll every year since its inception in 2006. When the honor roll was announced last month, the college received a “with distinction” designation for the fourth year.

In his notification letter to Geneseo, Carnegie Foundation President Anthony S. Bryk praised the college’s application for “…excellent alignment among mission, culture, leadership, resources and practices that support dynamic and noteworthy community engagement and you were able to respond to the classification framework with both descriptions and examples of exemplary institutionalized practices of community engagement.”

Long said the Carnegie recognition reinforces the college’s mission, which states that “The entire college community works together to develop socially responsible citizens with skills and values important to the pursuit of an enriched life and success in the world.”

Watch the video of Associate Dean of Leadership and Service Tom Matthews and Kurt Cylke, associate professor and chair of the Department of  Sociology, discussing the importance of serving the public good in the context of the Carnegie Community Engagement classification.

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Mike Lanni '12, left, and Nicolas Peterson '12, pause after they completed their active fire portion of the test to become New York state-certified firefighters. As of 2012, Geneseo students account for one-third of the departments's 105 members, eight of whom are alumni.That commitment to community was noted in the Carnegie Foundation standing. /Photo by Keith Walters '11.