VSLC students

Volunteer and Service-Learning Center Celebrates Service

The Volunteer and Service-Learning Center at Buffalo State College held its annual awards ceremony, Celebration of Service, on May 4 to honor outstanding volunteers and participants in courses that incorporate service learning. Service-learning courses provide students with a meaningful volunteer experience that provides a service while enhancing students’ understanding of course content.

Since 2003, service-learning courses have increased from nine to 77; in 2009–2010, 1,500 students took a service-learning course. “This reflects students’ growing interest in service learning and volunteering,” said Laura Hill Rao, coordinator of the Volunteer and Service-Learning Center. More than 750 students took part in separate, non-course-related volunteer activities organized through the center.

The following honorees were among those who received awards:

Matthew Bucholz received the Frederick Howe Outstanding Student Volunteer Award. Bucholz established Riverside Planters, a volunteer organization that is planting trees to replace the trees in Buffalo’s Riverside neighborhood that were destroyed in the 2006 “October Surprise” storm.

Jim Pavel received the Outstanding Volunteer Community Partner on behalf of Keep Western New York Beautiful, which provides supplies and tools for students who take part in the college’s annual Service Day. “You have made a difference in Buffalo communities,” Pavel told the audience.

Douglas G. Koritz, assistant dean of University College, received the Dr. Muriel A. Howard Award for Service Leadership. Presenter Gary Welborn, associate professor and chair or sociology, praised Koritz for “exemplary leadership” in matching students to community needs.

Mary C. Cummings, a lecturer in Elementary Education and Reading, received the Outstanding Faculty Commitment to Service Learning.

The women’s soccer team was recognized for outstanding community service by a student organization. Rao also commended students who participated in community service as part of the 2010 Alternative Spring Break.

Of the 77 service-learning courses, the following were recognized as outstanding: Advanced Creative Studies, taught by Jo Yudess, lecturer in Creative Studies; and Campaign in Public Relations and Advertising, taught by Deborah Silverman, assistant professor of communication.

“The college is interested in, and engaged with, its community partners,” said Rao. “We are here to thank students, faculty members, and participating community organizations for an outstanding year.”