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August 27, 2013

Nonprofits laud SUCO volunteers' efforts

By Bera Dunau Staff Writer
The Daily Star

---- — More than 200 SUNY Oneonta freshmen volunteered in the community Monday, and their efforts were well-received.

The students were participating in the State University College at Oneonta’s sixth annual Freshman Service Day. The event was hosted by the college’s Center for Social Responsibility and Community, and arranged for freshmen students to volunteer at nonprofits around Oneonta between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

One of these sites was the main campus school building at Springbrook: Residential Services. Thirteen students were tasked with priming and painting hallways in the school building.

“It’s been incredibly helpful,” said Jeff Edelstein, director of Springbrook’s GEMS Residential School. “I think if anything, they’ve made faster progress than I would have anticipated.”

“It’s helping us tremendously,” said Brian Davis, the facilities supervisor at Springbrook, who estimated that the painting and priming the large crew of freshmen was doing would normally take the school weeks to finish.

The students seemed to embrace the opportunity to give back and meet new people.

When asked why she’d decided to participate in the Freshman Service Day program Rebecca Kolesar, a marketing and fashion merchandising major from Montrose, said: “I just started here so I thought it would be good to get used to things around Oneonta.”

“I just thought it’d be a good way to help out people in the community, and ... get to meet some people that are going to school with me,” said Kieran Stack, a music industry major from Poughkeepsie.

“I wanted to get to know some people while helping out the community,” said Megan Barringer, a psychology major from Kingston. “I really like getting involved.”

Another site that freshmen volunteered at on Monday was The Lord’s Table community outreach program.

“We have them doing everything,” said Joyce Mason, director of feeding ministries at St. James’ Episcopal Church, which runs The Lord’s Table. “They come here they work. They’re doing a great job too.”

The Lord’s Table feeds a hot meal to 60 to 70 people a day, five days a week. St. James’ Episcopal Church also runs a food pantry.

“I’m happy as a clam,” said Mason, when asked about her thoughts on the work of the student volunteers, saying that they’d helped out on a particularly busy day. “For us to get everything done is wonderful.”

The freshmen also appeared to appreciate the work they were doing at The Lord’s Table.

“I had never been to a soup kitchen before,” said Julia Caparotta, a childhood education major from Long Island. “It was a good experience.”

“I really wanted to get involved in the community as fast as I could, and I wanted to meet new people that were also interested in doing community service,” said Maegan Crawford, an early elementary education major from Stormville. “It’s been awesome.”