As part of the 2019-20 Student Awards Gala, the Center for Civic Engagement recognized both an individual student and a student organization for excellence in community engagement. These awards recognize community-engaged work that emphasizes partnership with the community and demonstrates a reflection on both student learning and community impact.
Excellence in Community Engagement: Individual Student category winner
Maeve Kelly embodies the spirit of the Excellence in Community Engagement award. Through her involvement with Hinman’s Public Service Learning Community, Kelly has developed a deep and meaningful partnership with the Rescue Mission, building relationships with Rescue Mission residents and transforming their regular meal preparation into engaging and collaborative experiences that involve music, conversation and sharing of cooking tips. Kelly has taken on increasing leadership roles within Hinman, currently serving as the vice president for service. In this role, she has established more regular activities with the Rescue Mission and developed a training guide for hall vice presidents of service. Kelly has also been involved in service with the NoMa community organization, VINES and with the Rural Health Network’s poverty simulations.
Kelly’s community work exemplifies the characteristics of true engagement. She has emphasized collaboration, relationship-building, leadership and compassion in all of her activities. She is highly deserving of this inaugural Excellence in Community Engagement award.
Excellence in Community Engagement: Student Organization category winner
Hinman Public Service Learning Community
Hinman’s Public Service Learning Community (PSLC) is home to some of Binghamton’s most engaged students. The PSLC provides opportunities for students to take community-engaged learning courses, participate in community service and develop leadership skills. While the PSLC provides many meaningful opportunities for students, their efforts to build long-term relationships with two local organizations especially embody the spirit of the Excellence in Community Engagement award. The PSLC has worked closely with the Rescue Mission and NoMa to incorporate regular service activities and provide new opportunities for relationship-building between students and community members. At the Rescue Mission, which provides housing for men facing homelessness, students regularly prepare meals with residents, plan social events, host the annual Sleep Out awareness event on campus, volunteer at the Freeze Out 5K and more. With NoMa, a neighborhood organization in the North of Main community, the PSLC has provided the core of student volunteers at the annual Walnut Street Fall Festival, attended weekly Saturday breakfasts and planned a Thanksgiving outreach event.
Hinman’s Public Service Learning Community serves as a model for community engagement, and these student leaders are highly deserving of this Excellence in Community Engagement award.
Khaleel James, a junior majoring in economics and human development, is an active member of the Binghamton University campus who has also remained engaged in his hometown community in Queens. James is the current vice president of multicultural affairs for the Student Association, a senior advisor for the Men of Color Scholastic Society, a resident assistant in Mountainview College and the former president of Old Digman Hall. James is always eager to give back to his community and has mentored many high school students as a part of the Liberty Partnership Program in Queens. In addition to engaging with younger students through mentorship, he speaks with students who visit Binghamton University, was the keynote speaker at a Liberty Partnership Program graduation at St. John's University and has started his own scholarship program for his former high school.
Max Kurant, a freshman majoring in sociology and minoring in education, has already left a lasting impact on the local community during his short time in Binghamton. Kurant is an active member of Hinman's Public Service Learning Community, which has given him the opportunity to work closely with the NoMa community organization. Through his involvement with Binghamton’s Emerging Leaders Program, he worked collaboratively with other students on a three-month long project to organize a food drive. In addition, Kurant was a member of the first cohort of the Center for Civic Engagement’s Leaders in Engagement Advocacy and Democracy (LEAD) program in fall 2019, participating in workshops and reflections connecting his community experiences to professional, personal and civic development. In fall 2020, he will take on the role of vice president of service for the Hinman College Council. Kurant has a deep understanding of true community engagement and is dedicated to learning about the challenges and goals of the communities that he works with.
Annisia Perry, a student in the master’s program in Sustainable Communities, has made impressive contributions to both the Binghamton campus community and to her hometown of New York City, where she serves on the Community Advisory Board for the Henry Street Settlement, a social service agency in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan. She and other board members discuss the current issues in their community and propose possible solutions. For the past two years, Henry Street Settlement has awarded Perry with funding, which she has used to support a community resource fair focused on economics, equity and the environment. Here at Binghamton University, Perry has participated in service projects through her membership in the Rho Lambda Chapter of the National Residence Hall Society, and she also coordinated a holistic wellness event on campus. Perry is a natural leader whose dedication to sustainability and making a difference in the community shows throughout her work.
Olivia Rogers is a senior majoring in integrative neuroscience and minoring in education, whose compassion for the populations she serves and dedication to improving the community is impressive. Rogers is an active member of the student group Best Buddies, where she develops meaningful relationships with individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities. She also holds a leadership position as the event coordinator for Binghamton Students for Autism Acceptance, through which she promotes Autism awareness and acceptance. Through this role, Rogers coordinates the Annual Inclusive Carnival, which includes activities that are accessible for people of all abilities. Her commitment to service also inspired her to organize this fall’s Spooktacular 5K & Sensory-Friendly Trick or Treating event, which provided a Halloween celebration for University students and local children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Rogers is also involved with Helping Celebrate Abilities (HCA) in Johnson City, the Education Undergraduate Research Scholars Program and Binghamton University’s Psi Gamma Chapter of Phi Mu.
Nadia Schevchenko, a senior studying environmental studies, has used her passions for horticulture, conservation and sustainability to benefit the campus and community through her work on pollinator conservation. Last semester, Schevchenko worked closely with the Ross Park Zoo to establish a pollinator garden, improve the zoo’s Monarch Way Station and help educate the public on the importance of protecting native pollinators. Schevchenko is in the process of working with Binghamton University faculty, Physical Facilities and other on-campus groups to establish a similar garden on campus, which will include signage and materials to educate the campus community. Schevchenko’s dedication to this work will leave a lasting impact on the Binghamton campus, the Ross Park Zoo and our entire community.
Kaylee Wasco is an impressive, well-rounded student-athlete who has given much of her time to multiple organizations in our community. Wasco, a member of the women’s basketball team and a senior majoring in human development, has a commitment to service and a genuine interest in engaging with not only the Binghamton campus, but also the surrounding local community. During her time at Binghamton, she has volunteered with the Salvation Army, Citizen Action of New York and the Children’s Home of Wyoming Conference. She has also been involved with the Johnson City Mentor Program, Binghamton University Welcome Week and several service projects with the women’s basketball team. After earning her undergraduate degree in human development, Wasco is continuing her education at Binghamton and pursuing her master’s degree in public administration.