The Civic and Community Engagement Office has found a unique way to join in Buffalo State College’s sesquicentennial celebration this year.
Through the CCE’s 150th Anniversary Challenge, students, faculty, staff, and alumni who contribute at least 150 hours of volunteer service in the community will be recognized for their efforts with a 150th Anniversary Service Challenge certificate of completion and a commemorative pin. The challenge started in May and runs through August 31, 2022. Participants can sign up for a variety of community-based volunteer opportunities throughout the academic year, and those looking for opportunities can contact the CCE for direction.
“It’s an exciting time to be engaged with the community, and we look forward to celebrating with the campus community throughout the year,” said Tonya Ackley, associate director of the CCE.
Participants who meet the requirements before April 11, 2022, will be included in the May 2022 Celebration of Community Engagement, Ackley said, while those who complete the required hours after that date will receive their certificate by mail.
“Issues of equity and social justice—all the way across to food insecurity and affordable housing—have become critical community priorities over the past year. And as faculty, staff, students, and alumni, we can each contribute to improving opportunities for individuals and addressing system-level changes.”
The idea for the challenge was born out of meetings discussing ways the CCE could best participate in Buffalo State’s 150th anniversary, Ackley said.
“We felt like this idea was a great way to celebrate the college’s mission, identity, and commitment to being an urban-engaged campus,” she said.
Laura Hill Rao, director of the CCE, said she hopes the challenge inspires participants to become more engaged with their communities.
“Issues of equity and social justice—all the way across to food insecurity and affordable housing—have become critical community priorities over the past year. And as faculty, staff, students, and alumni, we can each contribute to improving opportunities for individuals and addressing system-level changes,” she said. “Grab a colleague or friend, and let the 150th service challenge be the inspiration to get involved this year.”
The certificate is similar to the President’s Certificate of Recognition for Community Engagement. In fact, students can apply the volunteer hours they accumulate during the challenge toward the other certificate, as well, Ackley said. The President’s Certificate recognizes three levels of participation: Students who volunteer at least 200 hours of community service over their course of time at Buffalo State receive the Community Supporter Award; Neighborhood Advocates contribute 400 hours of community service; and Active Citizen award-winners log 1,000 hours or more of volunteer activity.
“Community engagement and civil involvement are embedded in our institution. It’s who we are.”
To qualify for the President’s Certificate or the anniversary challenge, volunteer opportunities must be community-based. Things like internships, student teaching, and classroom observations do not count, but service-learning or community-learning classes do. Students can also count hours affiliated with student organizations and community activism.
Registration is required and can be done online. Once participants register, they will be provided with additional resources for the challenge, Ackley said. Those who register but don’t meet the 150-hour requirement are still doing a lot of good for the community, she said.
“Any participation is commendable,” she said.
So far, there’s been a lot of interest, Ackley said. Now that students are back on campus, she’s hoping to get even more involved.
“Community engagement and civil involvement are embedded in our institution,” she said. “It’s not surprising we’re getting a good response. It’s who we are.”