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Monday, September 26, 2016

Alfred State: Southern Tier communities are grateful for student volunteers


Without the assistance of college volunteers, many public, non-profit, and community-based organizations would not be able to fulfill their missions of service to others. That’s why a Community Involvement Fair at Alfred State attracted a crowd of organizations eager to enlist the support of more students. Many of the organizations present at the fair have benefited from a flood of Alfred State student volunteers and interns in the past, which is why they were looking to recruit Pioneers again. Susan Hooker, executive director of the Hornell Area Concern for Youth, noted that “there are so many ways” in which Alfred State students have helped her organization. She particularly complimented the human service management students who have completed their 400-hour management-focused internship at Concern for Youth, saying they have been “excellent.”
“Alfred State students are well prepared to enter into non-profit internships or volunteer experiences,” she said. “They come in, interact with the youth, and share their ideas and talents.”
Hannah Spalding, recruitment manager for The Service Collaborative of Western New York, mentioned two recent Alfred State graduates who have served as Americorps members through programs offered by her organization. One of them served in Clifton Springs helping veterans, and another is currently a tutor and mentor in Buffalo city schools.
“The whole point of our agency is to connect individuals with volunteer and service opportunities in the community, wherever their community may be,” she said. “We wouldn’t be able to exist without people who want to be engaged, so I would say Alfred State students absolutely help us do what we do.”
Though Bryan Gamache became the executive director of the Allegany County United Way in July, he is no stranger to working with Alfred State students, noting that he has had positive experiences with them in the past when he was with Accord. Given the number of students who had expressed interest in volunteering with the United Way during the fair, the impact they could have would be “phenomenal,” he said.
“We depend a lot on volunteers, and based on the conversations I’ve had today,” he said, “going forward, if we were to have this group of students come together, I think a lot of good ideas would come of that.”
At the Community Involvement Fair, 28 organizations from Alfred and the surrounding region were on-hand to highlight internship, volunteer, and community engagement opportunities. Students from nearby Alfred University were also invited to participate, as students network with potential employer or internship sites, make valuable community connections, and discover ways to get involved.