President Mark D. Gearan yesterday announced plans for an initiative uniting the greater Geneva community and Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Gearan outlined what he called “The Geneva Partnership” as an effort to enhance community life for the benefit of all who live, work and study in the region. The formal announcement was made before the Geneva Rotary Club.
“Geneva has been a wonderful host to the Colleges for nearly 200 years,” Gearan said. “During this time, there have been many ways in which the Colleges and the community have worked together. I am proud of our efforts to date but also believe we can do more.”
For the past several months, Gearan has been meeting informally with community leaders to identify ways for the Colleges to deepen its commitment in Geneva. His conversations have included leaders in government, public schools, the private sector and not-for-profit organizations. Gearan said he intends to continue his meetings with local citizens to gain their perspective on ways the Colleges can work with the community to make improvements.
“I have been gratified by the support and positive acknowledgement of the Colleges' role in Geneva. Our students benefit from the many internship and service opportunities here. The Geneva Partnership seeks to deepen this engagement with the community,” he said.
The Geneva Partnership will focus on three broad strategic areas: access, engagement and development. The effort will concentrate its work in seven key areas: education, economic development, vitality of cultural life, civic engagement, well-being of children and families, the environment, and public safety and community building.
“We want to be able to say to our students that communities matter,” Gearan said. “The civic engagement skills our students develop here in Geneva should carry with them throughout their lives so that they can be change agents in their own communities. We know there are many models of citizenship here in Geneva for our students to learn from—men and women who care deeply about this community and work to make it better. It seems we have a unique opportunity to join together in partnership.”
A story about the partnership and Gearan's talk to the Rotary Club was featured in the Thursday, Sept. 27 edition of the Finger Lakes Times; read HWS seeks to boost its local involvement.