The 2017 Community Engaged Scholarship Forum, held this spring, showcased the work of civically engaged students and faculty as well as an organization with ties to HWS working for rural and migrant communities in New York. At the conclusion of the forum, several honors were presented to faculty, community members and students. The diverse range of topics and organizations that were featured at the forum are available online.
Assistant Professor of American Studies Beth Belanger was recognized at the event as the Civically Engaged Faculty Member of the Year, while the Community Engaged Scholars were Kayla Jones ’17 and Allison Koch ’17. The Colleges’ 2017 Campus Compact Newman Civic Fellow, Rebecca Czajkowski ’18 was also honored, as was Rural & Migrant Ministry (RMM).
RMM was nominated for the Community Partner of the Year award by Lauren Workman ’18 and Kevin Collado ’18, who have been interning with the organization this spring. RMM was one of the 2017 Alternative Spring Break service locations. Its mission is to nurture leadership among rural migrant communities, stand with the disenfranchised, and change unjust systems and structures that impact the lives of farm workers and rural workers.
The Community Partner Award is given each year to a person or agency who has consistently contributed to the civic development and leadership of HWS students. “Rural and Migrant Ministries has been a tremendous force in the communities of Ontario and Wayne counties. Particularly in their engagement with the students of Hobart and William Smith Colleges, RMM has made significant efforts to establish lasting relationships with the campus and its community members,” President Mark D. Gearan L.H.D. ’17 said at the forum.
RMM Western New York Coordinator West Cosgrove and RMM Western New York Associate Coordinator Gabriella Quintanilla accepted the award. Nathan Berger ’13 is currently RMM’s Long Island Coordinator.
Provost and Dean of Faculty Titi Ufomata presented Belanger with the Civically Engaged Faculty Award. “Professor Belanger’s ability to unite people from different professional backgrounds, ages and interests in the common pursuit of deepening their understanding of their shared city and community has won her deep respect from leaders of Geneva’s community organizations and schools, the students in her classes, and her faculty colleagues,” Ufomata said. “She has created significant ties to the community and will clearly continue to be involved in the Geneva community for years to come as a member, scholar, teacher and collaborator.”
In June, Belanger received an American studies association community partnership grant to fund a local collaboration with the Geneva City Schools and Geneva Historical Society.
The Civically Engaged Student Scholar Award is presented annually to a student(s) who has excelled in either a community-based research project or a service-learning course. Jones has demonstrated, in the words of Katie Flowers, director of the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning, “a quiet leadership style” in her work with the Boys and Girls Club of Geneva, the Geneva Neighborhood Resource Center at City Hall, and in her coursework on campus. Jones recently accepted an AmeriCorps VISTA position with Cumberland County Food Security Council.
Koch was nominated by Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Robin Lewis, who said that her “work in the class was nothing short of exceptional, indicative of how carefully Allie approaches her work within the broader Geneva community.” Koch has worked with the Southern Tier Central Planning and Development Board and conducted a semester-long project on the meaning(s) of community/ies in Geneva.
In recognizing Czajkowski, Gearan commented on her “inquisitive and thoughtful nature [which] allowed her to learn about our ‘uniquely urban’ community.” He noted her work in a service-learning course that included meeting with third-grade English language learners and her broadening commitment to the Boys and Girls Club, where she currently leads a team of volunteers in developing relationships and supporting the school success objectives of Club.
The annual Community Engaged Scholarship Forum is an opportunity to highlight reciprocal and mutually beneficial community-student partnerships and projects.
“The student collaborative work wouldn’t be possible without the community colleagues who guided the consequential topics or faculty advisers who helped inform research,” said Flowers. “Reciprocity is an ideal for which we strive in this kind of work, and it only works when there is trust, clear communication, and a sense of shared ownership — which is so evidently present today.”