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Senior branches out to make a difference

When it comes to reaching out and educating her fellow students, Samantha Tuchfeld has a full plate.

Challah bread takes up part of that plate. The senior English major from Long Island serves as co-publicity manager for Challah for Hunger, a student-run, volunteer group that makes and sells the bread. All proceeds go to CHOW and Darfur relief.

“It’s not just about the bread — it’s how you break bread with other people,” said Tuchfeld, who uses her creative writing skills to attract customers to the organization’s fund-raising efforts. “When I see people sharing (the bread) all over campus, it is so fun.

“This is also a social justice campaign. What kind of advocacy are you doing? It could be as simple as buying a piece of bread and reading some facts about CHOW or it could be taking part in the CHOW Walk or writing your congressman.”

The 21-year-old also serves as student president of the Food Co-op, an alternative grocery that now offers hot lunches. She is a REACH peer, a member of Voices Against Violence and recently joined Harpur’s Ferry ambulance service.

The weekends provide Tuchfeld little rest. She volunteers with the Girl Scouts and has a Sunday afternoon radio show on WHRW (called “The Gumshoe Kid: Get Stuck on S. Tuck”) in which she plays music, discusses what’s going on in her life and on campus and stresses the importance of staying positive.

“If I play Here Comes the Sun, I’ll talk about finding your own place in the sun and how the Beatles were important to my parents,” she said.

Tuchfeld is also a member of the Student Poet Society, whose members have read for seniors in nursing homes, and Team Sunrise, which raises funds for children with cancer to attend Sunrise Day Camp on Long Island. Tuchfeld has spent the last two summers working as a counselor at the camp.

“I feel good about what I’m doing,” she said. “It’s about finding opportunities and branching out. I’m always willing to learn something new about myself. If I had more time, I’d explore things such as what it’s like to be a martial artist. That’s always looked cool to me.”

Beth Riley, Counseling Center coordinator of sexual assault programs, praised Tuchfeld’s ability to give “tirelessly” to organizations.

“(She) is an outstanding student organizer, an excellent peer educator, one of the most motivated students I have encountered and a wonderful person all in one,” Riley said.

Tuchfeld, who wants to spend a year in a service-learning program before going to graduate school, summarized her attitude with one word.

“My favorite word is community,” she said. “One person can make a difference and if that one person joins up with another person, that’s a community.”

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Last Updated: 10/14/08