For the 11th year, the HWS community gathered to celebrate individuals and organizations that have had a positive impact on the greater Finger Lakes community. The Community Engaged Scholarship Forum, presented by the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning (CCESL), was held in the Vandervort Room in May.
The interactive session highlighted student research and community engaged learning via posters, videos and demonstrations. Awards were presented to recognize exceptional student, faculty and community partner contributions as well.
“The work you see highlighted here is a sample of the robust learning that occurs when community partners, students, faculty and staff members align opportunities for learning and research,” says Katie Flowers, director of the CCESL. “After 11 years it’s been a joy to see the information contribute in helpful ways to our community and to our students’ careers.”
The Student Engaged Scholar of the Year award was presented to Swellar Zhuo ’19, who was nominated by Professor of Sociology H. Wesley Perkins and the William R. Kenan Professor of Economics William T. Waller Jr., who noted that she “demonstrated leadership as a service-learning colleague in [the class] ‘The Economics of Caring,’ where she maintained an impressive commitment to Geneva High School students, and served as a resource to her peers.”
Zhuo was also involved in the Public Leadership Education Network, a member of the Laurel Society, and has been accepted to the Rochester Youth Year Americorps program, which she will join after graduation.
Nominated by Associate Professor of Sociology James Sutton, Legal Assistance of Western New York was chosen as the HWS Community Partner of the Year. Alumnae Anna Hineline ’11, an employee of the organization, says “Every day, LawNY advocates work to preserve housing, make benefits accessible, support survivors of domestic violence, advocate on behalf of children and families and ensure that people understand their rights when faced with a civil legal issue.”
Professor of Dance Cadence Whittier was recognized as Civically Engaged Faculty Member of the Year. In his introduction of Whittier, Provost and Dean of Faculty DeWayne Lucas noted Whittier’s participation in the Arts Experience: A Festival Celebrating Inclusion and the Art, and her partnerships with Hillside Family of Agencies and Ontario ARC. “Flash mob dances, an art exhibit at the Finger Lakes Institute, visual arts workshops and outdoor installations of giant painted sails, among other examples, were explored as a result of this professor’s ideas, which have inspired an increased community spirit around art and inclusion.”
A new award, the Friend of Geneva Public Service Award, was presented to Rebecca “Bex” Czajkowski ’18, MAT’19 by Chris Lavin ’81, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of Geneva. “Bex made an amazing contribution to the community of Geneva during her years at William Smith,” he said in presenting the award. “She helped redesign the Boys and Girls Club to a literacy academy and created standards and expectations for the HWS Tutor Corps. How she did this all while maintaining her academic performance is a marvel. Her work will benefit Geneva’s young for years to come.”
The Forum celebrates just a fraction of the milestones reached through community service projects connected to the Colleges. In 2018, The Princeton Review recognized HWS as having one of the most actively engaged student bodies in the nation, according to its list of the “25 Best Schools for Making an Impact.”