Geneseo recognized for excellence in service

Geneseo was awarded a spot in the President’s 2015 Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. Geneseo has been on the honor roll since the award’s creation in 2006. The 2015 Honor Roll recognizes service activities from the 2013-14 year, according to Coordinator of Student Leadership, Volunteerism and Service Samantha Hebel.

“The cycle runs quite a bit behind,” she said. “This [list] is actually based on two years ago, so 2013-2014. We just applied for the 2014-2015 year this past spring.”

In total, 4,400 Geneseo students completed 270,000 hours of service, Associate Dean of Leadership and Service Thomas Matthews said.

The application process for this honor was rigorous and it would not have come together without the help of many individuals, Matthews said.

“We collect data from the entire campus. Lots of the departments and student organizations have to submit their hours,” he said.

Hebel elaborated on some of the data collection Geneseo undertakes.

“We report the total number of hours students have volunteered, as far as what we can capture. We know that we’re constantly underreporting that number because we know there’s a lot of stuff happening on campus that we aren’t aware of,” she said. “Usually we have just under 5,000 students, which means almost everybody at Geneseo has been involved in some service project at some point in their career here.”

The different service hours Geneseo students have participated in demonstrate their compassion and dedication, according to Matthews.

“We have a report on global service in Haiti, Nicaragua, Uganda and contribution through a lot of service learning courses,” he said.

When applying for this honor, Geneseo included specific stories of service, Hebel said.

“We talked about our MLK Day of Service and how we provide opportunities for leadership and service that way,” she said. “We’ve talked about the Geneseo Interfaith Service project and opportunities students have to connect faith and service together. We’ve talked about things the College of Education has done with programs to bring at-risk youth to campus.”

Geneseo has also pushed toward becoming an economically ethical campus, Matthews said.

“We include the Geneseo Small Business Development Center, the community outreach with Campus Auxiliary Services buying locally and the Center of Inquiry and Development Program under Ambassador Programs,” he said.

Matthews and Hebel, along with biology major sophomore Mina Abdelmalik, attended the honor roll ceremony at Gallaudet University in Washington D.C., according to the Geneseo website.

“It was really interesting to compare what we’re doing at Geneseo to other campuses and get some new ideas and think about other ways we could engage students,” Hebel said.

Hebel said that she believes that the recognition Geneseo has received reflects the large amount of work that the college’s students complete.

“We have been on the honor roll every year since it began. It kind of affirms what we already know about Geneseo,” she said. “A lot of the students who are coming in are selected because they are highly involved in other extracurricular opportunities, including volunteerism. It’s nice to see that against other campuses, we are recognized at a higher level for our commitment to service.”

Assoc.  News Editor Malachy Dempsey contributed reporting for this article.