Hobart and William Smith Colleges - Summer of Service Highlights Virtual Service
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Summer of Service Highlights Virtual Service

Thirteen HWS students are spending their summer making a positive impact on the Geneva community through the Summer of Service program. With assignments ranging from assisting at a local food pantry to developing a revised virtual strategy for the Colleges’ HWS Corps @ America Reads initiative, the students are providing important services to many Geneva non-profits during a challenging time.

“Initially, we were concerned that we’d have to cancel the program since we weren’t able to offer summer housing for student interns, but many of our partners re-worked projects for students to work virtually, and a few students were local and could safely engage with partners directly” says Katie Flowers, director of the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning (CCESL), which organizes the program.

Amanda Baum ’20 is a communications intern at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, where she’s tasked with creating a video for their capital campaign while Madison Kaenzig de Denus ’22 is performing research on food access. Zerina Makhdoomi ’22 and Olivia Torres-Fields ’21 are Garden Corps mentors at BluePrint Geneva’s State Street Garden. Natalie Miggins ’22 is assisting with the summer food pantry and social media outreach at the Salvation Army.

jess ramtahal ’20 is assisting with marketing at Finger Lakes Counseling & Recovery Agency; Morgan Nelis ’21 is working in support of regional communications efforts at Legal Assistance of Western New York and Max Harris ’21 is collaborating with the Geneva Business Improvement District staff on plans relating to Geneva’s businesses and COVID-19 re-opening.

Interns also include Audrey Platt ’21 and Kate Equinozzi ’23, who are collaborating with CCESL Assistant Director Amy Jackson on the roll out of the “All In” plan for the upcoming year with HWS Votes, which they oversee in their roles as co-Civic Leaders for Political Engagement. Their goal is to encourage voter registration and provide educational materials for students before the upcoming election. They are currently designing HWS Votes stickers — with online HWS student voting to determine the winning design.

Also virtually, Carling Landeche ’21 is serving as a civic engagement assistant for CCESL with efforts to encourage HWS students to virtually volunteer. Raja Mehmood ’22 is working to help prepare the HWS Corps @ America Reads for virtual tutoring in the fall. He also assisted with the Connect Geneva Bike Collection and Distribution Project which helped connect donated bikes with local youth. Tatianna Suriel ’20 works with Geneva 2030’s new Bilingual Education Action Team to increase support to the Spanish-speaking students and families in the Geneva City School District.

“We’re so pleased to hear that the Summer of Service program has gone forward under these new, challenging conditions,” says HWS Trustee Margueritte Murphy, who, along with her husband, former economics professor Brian Cooper, and Thomas J. Patchett ’88 supports the program.

“I’m incredibly grateful to the program donors and community partners for their generosity and creativity,” adds Flowers, “and I am proud of the student interns for their dedication and resilience to making this opportunity work.”

The 2020 interns will virtually share their experiences with each other, site supervisors and program sponsors on Aug. 10.

Since the program’s inception in 2010, 53 interns have worked with 18 different partners and contributed nearly 16,000 hours to the community. The Summer of Service program is evidence of the Colleges’ continuing emphasis on service and community engagement, which has received national attention. HWS has been consistently named one of the top liberal arts institution for service in Washington Monthly’s College Guide and Rankings.