SUNY Cobleskill is Tops in Community Service Engagement

APCA National Service Engagement Award 2014 for webAs a long-time member of more than 400 member institutions in the Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities (APCA), SUNY Cobleskill has received its share of the organization’s awards over the past 11 years.  The most recent prize, which APCA presented this past month, named SUNY Cobleskill top school in the nation for service engagement among the Association’s member schools. Mike Wacksman, Assistant Director of Student Life, accepted the award on behalf of the college at the APCA National Conference in Atlanta.

Bringing community engagement on campus to its current level has been an evolution, according to Brian Kaiser, Director of the Center for Community Engagement (CCE) at SUNY Cobleskill.  “We raise awareness for the incoming freshman class and campus as a whole about opportunities for engagement,” he said.  “More than 800 people put their name on lists for service, and then we have this office where they can find an opportunity.”

“Data about students who participate is being captured and together with letters from partners and a focus on finding new opportunities for service, we are able to document what we are doing and submit applications for awards that recognize the good things happening on campus,” he added.

An example of the kinds of opportunities available to students occurred during spring break when Kaiser took six students to a program  sponsored by United Way called  “Break a Difference,” in Newark, NJ, where they spent a week assisting the head of the development programming at a pre-school program three hours every morning.   In the evenings, they spent 4 hours supporting boys & Girls club  250-300 kids after school.

“We are so proud of the progress that we’ve made as a campus in the area of community service,” said Jeff Foote, Director of the Student Life Center.  “It’s only been three years since Vice President Ackernecht established the CCE, so we are thrilled with the progress that we’ve already made.”