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"Our City is Your City"

Posted on Saturday, August 30, 2008

First-Years Get Engaged in Day of Service 2008

"Today's Day of Service allows the campus community to give back to Geneva, our wonderful host for the past 200 years," said President Mark D. Gearan to the entire first-year classes gathered on the Quad. "The civic engagement and activism that you will all participate in today reminds us of the responsibility that we all have to our home in the Finger Lakes region."

Also welcoming first-years to college years full of engagement, Mayor Stu Einstein explained: "Our city is your city. I look forward to involving you as a part of us."

"This morning you'll be heading out to 30 astounding service destinations," said Katie Flowers, the associate director of the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning (CCESL). "Let this be the beginning as you chart your course to becoming engaged citizens here at Hobart and William Smith."

With their orientation leaders and mentors, first-years made their way off of the Quad and into the surrounding region, helping out along the Lodovico Sculpture Trail in Seneca Falls, polishing the historic interior of the Smith Opera House and helping clean up the Keuka Outlet Trail. Other sites include area schools, state parks and vital Geneva buildings. At each site, first-years were joined by HWS faculty, staff and administrators.

CCESL's Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) worker Angelica Johnson and Provost and Dean of Faculty Teresa Amott helped first-years weed and get the playground at the Boys and Girls Club of Geneva ready for an afternoon block party, complete with barbeque and balloons. With her hands full of weeds, Johnson said: "Day of Service encourages students to feel that they have a responsibility to their greater community, and they should get involved."

"I feel really good being out here helping," added Megan Metzger '12, who worked alongside Johnson.

"What we're doing strengthens the relationship between the city and the Colleges," Rachel Carnaham '12 said, agreeing with Metzger.

Across town on Genessee Street, another group of HWS community members lent a hand to St. Peters Church. When Dwayne Simon '12 walked into the community arts academy studios, he said excitedly, "I'm ready to work!" He had a job in mind - he couldn't wait to start painting and asked Parish Administrator Sue Adams if he could be assigned to the team doing the painting. Sue asked, "Are you a good painter?" to which he enthusiastically replied, "Like Van Gogh!"

Back on campus, 50 spray-paint savvy Picasso's teamed up with the HWS Bike Program. "We want to build a sense of ownership with the program on campus," said Associate Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies Tom Drennen. "That's why we're getting first-years involved every step of the way, from unloading the bikes to painting them to walking them to the garage where they are being stored before they're launched."

"This program is a great idea," Rachel Perry '12 said while covering a vintage bicycle with yellow spray-paint. "Anything we can do to reduce carbon emissions is a good thing; we're setting a great example by making an effort out here."

Whether they were painting in a church, cleaning the campus' rain barrels on McCooey Field or lending a hand to move bookshelves at the Geneva Public Library, every member of the Classes of 2012 added to the collective effort of the Colleges to form an even stronger partnership with the surrounding community.

 


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