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Students volunteer for the community

By Shari Ingles
On April 26, 2012

 

A watch, a cell phone, a piece of a hood from a Chevy Camaro, a flattened fox and other items
were found as students volunteered to clean up along Scajacquada Creek.
 
Students braved the cold, rainy weather Saturday morning for Spring Community Service Day.
About 200 Buffalo State students participated in volunteering, said Laura Rao, coordinator of the
Volunteer and Service Learning Center Coordinator.
 
There were 17 organizations students could volunteer for, ranging from clean up, planting,
painting and even helping construct a stage for summer productions at the afterschool
program "Making Fishers of Men and Women." Some community partners were even turned
away due to an overwhelming number of responses.
 
"Buffalo State is in a unique setting," Rao said. "We are an urban campus in the heart of an
extremely diverse community. Buffalo State students are residents and participants in the success
and prosperity of the city of Buffalo. It is important for students to engage and understand their
roles as citizens, as well as the direct outcome their time, talent and effort can have when put to
good use."
 
The Volunteer and Service Learning Center advertised a number ways to reach out to students,
Rao said. The center used email, Facebook, the VSLC website, flyers, WBNY radio and chalk
advertisements to promote the event. The center also reached out to other organizations on
campus including athletics, fraternities and sororities, USG and even encouraged faculty to offer
extra credit for participation.
 
Organizations that had projects inside quickly filled up due to the weather. Some students
dressed according to the working conditions, while others worked outside in the cold wearing
flip-flops. Students who volunteered along Scajacquada Creek were helped out by students from
the University at Buffalo and people in the community as well.
 
Precautions needed to be taken when students found needles, and they were disposed in a
biohazard bin. Some areas of the Scajacquada were also steeper than others, but students looked
out for each other by working as a team and making sure no one fell.
 
Among the students who devoted their time and energy Saturday morning were Gladys Sosa,
a freshman dietetics and nutrition major, along with her boyfriend Jorel Ferguson, a junior
electrical engineering major. Both said they enjoyed the experience despite the unpleasant
conditions.
 
"It is important to volunteer because volunteer experience can be substituted for work
experience," Sosa said. "When an individual does not have a strong resume, volunteer
experience can help dramatically."
 
"Volunteering is the perfect conduit to develop a new skill or to discover a new talent," Ferguson
said. "Plus at the end of volunteering, you would have that great feeling that you get when you
help out on a project."
 
Breakfast and lunch were provided, and attendees got the chance to win prizes in a raffle.
Community service ended around 12:30pm and was a success despite the weather, Rao said.
"Buffalo State students demonstrate year after year that they care about and want to contribute to
the vitality of the neighborhoods around Buffalo State," she said. "We are proud to support the
outstanding efforts of our students."
 
Shari Ingles can be reached by e-mail at ingles.record@live.com

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