The efforts of committed community members were recently acknowledged at the annual Community Engaged Scholarship Forum held in the Vandervort Room of the Scandling Campus Center. During the forum, which invited members of Geneva and the HWS campus to share and explore community-based research projects via posters, video and demonstrations, the Community Partner of the Year Award, the Engaged Student Scholar Award and the Civically Engaged Faculty Award were presented, honoring those who have worked tirelessly to serve Geneva and the surrounding communities.
The Community Partner of the Year Award was presented to Catholic Charities of the Finger Lakes. A part of the Geneva community for nearly three decades, the organization has partnered with the Colleges on countless occasions to serve the community.
Each year, this award is bestowed on the person or agency who has consistently contributed to the civic development and leadership of Hobart and William Smith Colleges students. Recognizing the value as well as the amount of time, energy and interest that go into community collaborations, recipients are nominated by students, staff and faculty of the Colleges.
Two years ago, the relationship between HWS and Catholic Charities was further strengthened by the collaboration between Catholic Charities and the HWS Office of Intercultural Affairs, and in 2010, the offices worked together to present the Conference on Poverty.
The Geneva Just Neighbors Initiative, led by Catholic Charities Justice and Peace Coordinator Ruth Marchetti, saw nearly 100 HWS students exploring and addressing equitable access to affordable and safe housing in Geneva through interactive workshops. As a follow up to the Just Neighbors initiative, a team of researchers in Professor of Sociology Jack Harris‘ Senior Sociology Seminar worked closely with Executive Director Ellen Wayne on a Community Based Research project regarding substandard housing in Geneva, which will be featured on May 31st at a regional summit on housing at the Ramada Inn. The team erupted with cheers when it was announced that Catholic Charities was the recipient of the award.
Other significant community contributions made by Catholic Charities include the Community Lunch Program, coordinated by Connie Sullivan, which has been a vital resource for the city and those in need.
“It is important to note that the students that we have worked with are going to leave here, and there is a great potential for them to make an impact where they will ultimately live,” commented Wayne. “This meets the greater goals of Catholic Charities Mission of Catholic Charities: to provide programs and services for individuals in need, especially children and families and to advocate for social justice.”
The ceremony also commended the service of Gideon Porter ’12, who received the Engaged Student Scholar Award. Nominated by Associate Professor of English Laurence Erussard, Porter played an integral role in creating the Educational Second Chances Prison Program. Knowing the transformative power of education in the lives of those incarcerated, Porter combined his work for social justice and his background in political science to study post-secondary prison education.
Porter’s research revealed that such education initiatives are the most cost-effective method of preventing crime by reducing recidivism rates. Using this knowledge, Porter sought the guidance of Mary Katzenstein, Jim Schechter and Max Kenner from the Cornell and Bard Prison Education Programs and worked to develop the Educational Second Chances Prison Program, which will allow prisoners at Five Points Correctional Facility to take college courses. The program is expected to launch in the fall 2012.
The Civically Engaged Faculty Award was presented to Professor of Education Charlie Temple for his exemplary scholarship, community partnerships and commitment to service-learning. As a literacy instructor and advocate, Temple was celebrated for the work he has done to help children locally and internationally.
A former Fulbright Scholar and co-author of 13 books, Temple instructs courses in literacy, children’s literature, storytelling and peace studies, and has been an essential supporter of the America Reads Program and has trained undergraduate tutors to assist countless local students. In addition to his work at the Colleges, Temple works with psychologists and teachers from Romania, Bulgaria, Moldava, Slovakia and Slovenia to develop teaching approaches to help children.
Temple’s commitment also encompasses his work as the co-founder and director of the Reading and Writing for Critical Thinking Project, which functions on the idea that democratic practices in school play an important role in the transition toward more open societies. The program was recently selected by UNESCO’s International Bureau of Education as a promising practice in peace building.
Through this program and all other outlets of his incredible outreach efforts, Temple’s work to tirelessly promote and teach his love of reading, writing and learning to marginalized children in El Salvador, Ecuador, Argentina, Liberia and Sierra Leone was acknowledged with this prestigious award.
Archived CBR projects can be viewed at: http://www.hws.edu/academics/service/CBR_archive.aspx