SUNY Oswego traditionally offers multiple alternative break trips for students to help in various communities across the United States and international locations. This year, a local option was added to include community outreach and assistance to local projects in Oswego County.

With no classes March 12 to 16, the newly implemented Oswego County alternative spring break option offered students the opportunity to use their free time over the break to volunteer in the local community.

“The objective of this local version of the Alternative Spring Break concept was to strengthen the college’s culture of service and giving back, and inspire students to seek opportunities for civic engagement,” said President Deborah F. Stanley. SUNY Oswego’s Strategic Plan encourages the members of its campus community (students, faculty and staff) to make an impact through community service and partnerships.

The student projects for the week included:

  • Helping ARISE, a Central New York non-profit organization, build and install wheelchair ramps, with help from Novelis employee volunteers (Monday and Tuesday);
    ·      Working with Oswego County Opportunities to prepare and deliver Meals on Wheels to local seniors and paint apartments in their Transitional Living Home in Fulton (Wednesday);
    ·      Painting, cleaning and supporting Oswego YMCA projects, alongside employee volunteers from Exelon (Thursday); and
    ·      Working with Oswego Health, to offer a public Senior Technology Day session to Springside at Seneca Hill residents and all senior citizens in the community. SUNY Oswego students and staff assisted seniors with topics including smartphone technology, the Internet, email, Facetime, Skype and more on Friday, March 16. Later on Friday afternoon, they visited and participated with activities at the neighboring Seneca Hill Manor.

“It was great for our students to learn about and engage with our community, and to also better understand some of the resources the community offers,” said Catherine Farrell, coordinator of community services at SUNY Oswego.

Weeklong community service alternative break trips also took SUNY Oswego students to either Florence, Alabama, to work with Habitat for Humanity; Pocahontas State Park, Virginia, working with the American Hiking Society; Beaumont, Texas, with Operation Northern Comfort; or the Dominican Republic with Outreach360.

Students work with Novelis employees to build ramps for ARISE

Ramping up service – During an alternative spring break program March 12 to 16, SUNY Oswego students partnered with Novelis employees on March 12 and 13 to support local agency ARISE's ongoing program to build and install ramps for residents who need assistance with mobility.

Students help senior citizens with technology questions

Technology support – SUNY Oswego student Kayla Brun (on laptop) was among those helping out at Senior Technology Day at Springside at Seneca Hill, helping senior citizens learn how to get more out of devices, web platforms and other technology as part of a week of local alternative spring break service initiative March 12 to 16. Oswego Health hosted and promoted the March 16 program at Springside, which earned a healthy turnout of its residents as well as members of the local community.