Fiat community service

Dear Alfred University students, staff, and faculty:

Initiated in 2018 with philanthropic support from our Board of Trustees and other alumni and friends, Common Ground has become an extended orientation for our University’s new undergraduate students. Students meet regularly in small groups for discussions facilitated by members of our faculty and staff. The goals of the program are two-fold: deepening the understanding and appreciation for the various backgrounds and aspirations that our students bring to campus; and developing a common set of values that our new first-year and transfer students commit to living by as citizens of our University.

Last week, Common Ground unveiled an initiative that further connects students to each other as well as to the local community. On Wednesday and Thursday, September 29 and 30, students and faculty/staff facilitators participated in a “Day of Service.” Students chose to take part in one of four community service activities:

  • Hiking along the on-campus Pine Hill Trail. Students picked up trash, cleared obstructions, and replaced trail markers, then shared their experience on social media.
  • Writing letters of support and/or appreciation to elderly people in assisted living facilities; women diagnosed with breast cancer (through Operation Gratitude); and deployed troops, veterans, and first responders.
  • Developing community “maps” where students share their perspectives of the campus and local community based on their experiences.
  • Creating posters promoting on-campus student clubs as well as off-campus organizations like the A.E. Crandall Hook and Ladder Company (our local volunteer fire department and ambulance corps) and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) of Allegany County. Posters will be displayed on campus, educating members of the Alfred University community on the various clubs and organizations available to them.
In photos above and below, students work to clear debris from the Pine Hill Trail as part of a community service project in their Common Ground class last week.

“Every first-year student had the opportunity to participate,” said Corey Fecteau ’01, ’15, MSEd ’19, assistant dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and a Common Ground facilitator. “It helped students get out of the classroom and become better connected with each other and the local community.”

The trail hike was far and away the most popular with students, with more than 150 students (more than one-third of all new students) participating. “The fact so many students chose to explore this great resource we have on our campus was wonderful,” Fecteau commented.

“More than 150 Common Ground students spent some time making the beauty—and the mud and the mushrooms—of the Pine Hill trail more available to the rest of the campus community,” said Melissa Ryan, professor of English and Common Ground co-coordinator and facilitator. “This event made clear what an extraordinary group of students we have; it was totally cool to see their generosity of spirit in action.” 

Please join me in offering words of appreciation to the students, staff, and faculty who participated in the Common Ground Day of Service event. A special shout-out as well to Corey Fecteau for organizing the community service activities as well as to the philanthropic supporters of Common Ground, notably our Board of Trustees.

Fiat community service!