Advancing the Common Good – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Advancing the Common Good

What combines activism, volunteering and a knack for online social networks? An HWS internship, that’s what. This summer, Ashley Snyder ’08 is interning with the United Way’s “Success by Six” Associates Program at their headquarters outside of Washington, D.C. Success by Six investigates the best programs and assessment methods for preschoolers. “I wanted to try working for a non-profit organization,” explains Snyder, who has worked in the government in the past and wanted a change of pace. “The most exciting thing is getting to work with a team of associates who really believe in the core mission of advancing the common good,” says Snyder, a political science major and child advocacy minor. “The internship extends beyond the work we do in the office to volunteering in the neighborhood of our office, whether it be holding a Family Fitness Fair as part of the national United Way Day of Action, or spending a morning helping out at a homeless shelter. It’s not just a job or internship; everyone is truly committed.” Snyder’s current project is the United Way’s Born Learning Campaign. “The campaign seeks to inform parents and caregivers of the importance of early learning and demonstrate ways that everyday moments can become learning moments,” explains Snyder. “Recently, I’ve been focused on the Born Learning Trail. The Born Learning Trail is a series of signs and games that can be placed at parks, daycare centers, zoos, and other kid-friendly places to encourage parents to engage their children in learning, no matter where they go.” Additionally, Snyder is helping the United Way engage young people through Facebook, an online social networking tool. “I’m really excited about the United Way Challenge on Facebook Causes,” she says. “The challenge asks local United Ways to develop a cause on Facebook, attract Facebook members from their area to join their cause, and get them involved in Day of Caring projects in the fall.” Snyder was even asked to star in the Facebook Challenge video. “It’s a really exciting time to be at UWA as they transition to a new framework focused on the areas of education, income and health,” Snyder says. “As they move toward a community impact model through the Live United campaign, the work that I’m doing with the Success by Six team is becoming even more important.”