Individuals, organizations recognized for service

The Advisory Committee on Volunteer and Service Programs presented three students, three organizations and one community establishment awards for their dedication to community service at the second annual Geneseo Volunteer and Service Awards Dinner on March 26. 

Seniors Matthew Bower and Gideon Cohen and junior Sherry Leung received the student awards. Alpha Chi Rho, Alpha Phi Omega and Colleges Against Cancer were recognized as outstanding campus organizations. Teresa House received the community establishment award. 

The Division of Student and Campus Life, Geneseo Opportunities for Leadership Development, the Volunteer Center and Wegmans co-sponsored the event at the Big Tree Inn, led by Associate Dean of Leadership and Service Tom Matthews.

Matthews welcomed the attendees and spoke about those honored at the dinner. He commended the award recipients for “continually expanding volunteerism and service on campus” and for their “service to society.”

“All of the students are socially responsible citizens … and make a difference in the world,” Matthews said.

Matthews introduced Village of Geneseo Mayor Richard Hatheway, who extended congratulations to the award recipients from the Geneseo community and said the recipients “make Geneseo a better place to live.”

President Christopher Dahl then spoke, relating the dedication of the recipients to the college’s mission.

“Geneseo draws strength from our community roots,” Dahl said. “The heart of Geneseo’s mission is education for civic engagement for service. It is no accident that every year … Geneseo has been on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.”

After dinner Matthews introduced guest speaker Constance Christakos ‘83. 

Christakos is a Senior Policy Advisor to the Human Resources Director at the U.S. Department of Labor. She also served as president of the Junior League of Washington, a volunteer organization based in Washington, D.C. During her time as president, Christakos forged a partnership with former First Lady Laura Bush, who she helped with the National Book Festival.

Christakos discussed the importance of volunteerism in her life and how she provided opportunities for service.

“Volunteerism is near and dear to me,” Christakos said. “There’s nothing like coordinating a group of students to do service.”

Christakos added that she is “touched” by the level of volunteerism at Geneseo and said she hopes that the award recipients continue to do service after they graduate.

After Christakos’ speech, the recipients received their awards. Individuals who knew the recipients presented the awards and spoke on their behalf.

“I’m proud to have received this award on behalf of the brotherhood, where community service has always been a guiding principle,” junior Aaron Ridall, community service chair for Alpha Chi Rho said.

“It’s a great honor to see all my hard work recognized,” Cohen said. “I just started as an EMT wanting to help others. It has opened my eyes to help individuals and the community.”