By Joshua Ostrer
This past Wednesday, the Kenney Community Center held its first Volunteer Orientation event of the year.
Speakers at the event included the heads of the Kenney Community Center, the leaders of the Student Volunteer Committee and representatives from the individual volunteer groups offered here at Union.
Students were encouraged to volunteer regardless of their schedules.
“Whether you’ve got a little time, a lot of time, want to try something out for the whole year or just try something out for now…we have a use for you,” said Program Coordinator at the Kenney Community Center Janet Sweeney.
Erin Kingsley ‘14 and Sean Day ‘14, members of the Student Volunteer Committee that was founded last year, also addressed students.
“We meet a few times a month, we do service Saturdays once a month where we get together and help out,” said Kingsley.
The committee attempts to aim its Service Saturdays towards certain causes and announced that its first service day will be devoted to local Hurricane Irene relief.
Volunteers were also quick to note that the amount of time devoted to volunteering is really at the hands of the individual. “It’s not a huge time commitment and you can really come whenever you want…it’s as big a commitment as you make it,” said Day.
Following the Student Volunteer Committee, representatives from the other volunteer opportunities on campus took a moment to introduce themselves.
Organizations represented include the Schenectady Public Library, Campus Kitchens, Cocoa House, Champions, Homework Program, America Reads, U-ReBloom, Habitat for Humanity, Joan Nicole Price home, and the Junior Science Program. Additional programs offered by the Kenney Community Center include Big Brother Big Sister, UCARE, SAIL (Studying Arithmetic in Literature), and individual tutoring.
However, these are not all of the options the Kenney Community Center offers to students.
“We have a lot of meetings, meeting with individual students to hear their volunteer ideas” said Director of the Kenney Community Center Angela Tatem.
The Kenney Community Center is also expanding this term.
“The new thing we’re doing is reflection groups. People can come with a faith perspective or religious perspective; they’re all open to everyone,” said Angela Tatum.
This year’s John Calvin Toll day of service is Saturday, Oct. 15. “Last year hundreds of students volunteered at 15-plus not-for-profits. This year faculty and staff will be invited to volunteer as well,” said Tatem. “We invite anyone to come out and we send students out across Schenectady…it’s a great way to meet and help out the community” said Sweeney.
In addition to the existing volunteer opportunities, the Center is also open to new ideas.
“If you have a new idea, we’re always open to new things and making new connections to the surrounding community,” said Sweeney.