The College’s students, faculty, and staff found countless ways to join with and give back to the community in the weeks leading up to final exams and the culmination of the holiday season, including fundraising events, collections of food items and gifts, the delivery of holiday treats, and coming together to celebrate and share. “The giving has been going on practically nonstop since the beginning of November,” says Jeffrey Rosenthal, associate vice president of academic and student affairs. “This College is filled with examples of people giving out of the goodness of their hearts.”
Members of the Cayuga Community College Veterans Club got the season of giving off to an early start by spending the fall semester raising money to help their comrades. In a ceremony at the College’s Fulton Campus, the student organization’s leadership team presented a check for $1,000 to the Thank a Service Member Charity, a local organization whose mission is to “honor the service and support the needs” of military veterans.
In November, nursing students at the College partnered with the local community to fill a 53-foot 18-wheeler with supplies and gifts to aid victims of Superstorm Sandy in Newark, New Jersey. They collected donations of winter clothing, sleeping bags, blankets, personal necessities, cleaning supplies, and even Christmas presents of toys and board games, managing to fill the truck in just three days.
Several fundraising projects called on the talents and generosity of the College community and enriched the giving season. The Auburn Campus Tutor Club held a hot dog and soda sale at the Cayuga Community College 39th Annual Holiday Festival Craft Show, raising $1,800 for the Wes Eldred Scholarship fund. The College’s administrative professional group, ESP, raised $1,044 for Ronald McDonald House through a raffle of gift baskets donated by its members.
Phi Beta Lambda business club donated $1,000 to the Central New York Chapter of the March of Dimes, whose mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality. The club also donated boxes of preemie baby diapers and a car seat to the Stardust Birthing Center at Auburn Community Hospital to support premature babies.
The Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society held a dual fundraiser for Locks of Love, a nonprofit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children, and for Baby Easton Friedel, who was born in August at Auburn Community Hospital with a rare genetic skin disease. The event raised $2,100 for Baby Easton and six ponytails for Locks of Love.
The College joined with the Fulton community to organize a benefit for Dennis Collins, a 2005 alumnus of the College, instructional assistant with the Fulton campus library, and adjunct instructor of accounting who is being treated for Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Held at the Elks Lodge #830 in Fulton, the event raised more than $9,500 to help with Collins’s medical expenses.
Sue Witmer, director of Fulton Operations, adjunct lecturer, and SGO advisor, reported that several holiday initiatives were under way as the fall 2012 semester drew to a close, including a Toys for Tots donation drive led by the Veterans Club; the Student Government Organization’s collection of donations of dog food, cat food, and cat litter for the Oswego Animal Shelter; and a collection of food and personal hygiene items led by the Veterans Club in partnership with the Rotary Club of Fulton.
Also in December, the Alumni Association delivered 120 dozen home baked cookies baked by faculty and staff to Oswego County Opportunities and Auburn Nursing Home.
“I think there is real value for students to give back to the community, whether they are volunteering or managing a fundraising project or benefit, and this year they’ve done an especially great job,” Rosenthal said. “Most of our students are first-generation college students. They know that life can be hard. They worked hard to get to college, and may have been the recipient of the charity of others. So when they have to opportunity to give back to the community, they do. And their generosity and enthusiasm inspires our faculty and staff. We all take it to heart.”