By Cathy B. Koplen Contributing Writer
The Daily Star
---- — More than 700 SUNY students went into the streets of Oneonta and surrounding areas Saturday to put a spring shine on the community.
“We are here covering all of the downtown area,” said Jared Stanley, adjunct lecturer of mass communication at State University of New York at Oneonta, who was on Main Street Saturday with a group of students.
“We are washing windows, picking up trash, power washing the sidewalk,” Stanley said. “I am working with the wrestling team and some other teams too.
“It is really nice to see the businesses appreciate what we are doing. Several people have come out and said they appreciate our help.”
This annual day of service has been performed by SUNY students every spring for about 14 years. It is sponsored by Center for Social Responsibility at the the college, but was organized by student volunteers.
Linda Drake, director of the Center for Social Responsibility and Community at SUNY Oneonta, said Saturday’s turnout was the largest group she had seen for “Into the Streets.”
“We have terrific leadership by the students in our office,” Drake said.
Drake said the student teams went to about 45 different sites in Otsego County to paint and clean up at nonprofit agencies, schools and churches. In addition, teams went to area parks and trails to pick up litter, as well as performing landscaping projects at several organizations.
“It is really good to see,” Oneonta City Manager Mike Long said of the event. “The college kids are a vibrant part of our downtown culture. It is a great partnership. The city is fortunate to have such a partnership between the colleges and the city.
“It is nice to see the first layer of winter grime coming off of downtown.”
A team of SUNY volunteers was assigned to spruce up Hampshire House Adult Home on county Route 48 in Oneonta, where they washed windows and cleaned up a raised flowerbed.
As the students worked, several residents came out to chat. They seemed pleased and grateful for the work the students were doing in the courtyard of Hampshire House.
“They came out to help us,” said Becca Kenny, SUNY student and Habitat for Humanity volunteer. “They really were thankful. It is nice to make a difference. Now these elderly people will have a nice garden to enjoy this summer.”
The eight-student team worked from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the adult home.
“It is nice to help people when they need it,” said SUNY student volunteer Brandon Tschirky. “When we help out in the community, it shows we care. I think students get a bad reputation sometimes.”
The 2013 “Into the Streets” effort was coordinated by SUNY Oneonta students Stephanie Aquino, Lourdes Paulino and Peter Lacell with support from Center for Social Responsibility and Community student staff members Lyn Jeanty and Susie Salce.