Reflections on Civic Engagement

What Students and Alumni Say About Civic Engagement

For the past 12 months I have been raising 'Noble,' a dog for Guiding Eyes. Noble taught me a lot--to be more patient and calm. I am proud of him and know our endeavors are worthwhile whether he be a guide, police, or search and rescue dog. I know we've done our best and that makes me feel good.
Sarah Clark '07

My Outing Club started hiking at 6 a.m. and after 2 hours we reached the top, where we met the person we would be helping. My group helped Krista 'hike' down the mountain. This was a complicated process which required a specially designed wheelchair with six-foot long aluminum poles in the front, and lengths of webbing coming from the sides and back. Without the use of her legs, Krista still got to the summit. I am proud that I was a part of making her dream possible.
Andrew Goddell '08

My experience with serving food in a soup kitchen has had a huge impact on my life as it is leading me into the Peace Corps. It is hard to describe the wonderful feeling of making a difference in someone else's life.
Monica Santi '09

I volunteered two years ago to help a challenged student play the trumpet, and he has been a part of my life since then. I feel proud to have shared my love of music with Steven.
Jessica Poplis '09

For 10 months I traveled with a team of 12 members of AmeriCorps NCCC.  One of my most memorable experiences was working with an autistic child.  Every day I sat with him during his lunch period. He hated lunch time and had a history of not eating very much. No one really ever sat with him during lunch so I started to do so ever day for 2 months. We turned lunch into a game by rewarding him with games or books if he finished his lunch. I spent a lot of time reading to him during the after-school program. Ryan had such a big heart, and he made me look forward to coming to school every day.  Participating in AmeriCorps is one of the best decisions I have made. I learned to step outside of my comfort zone and to be unafraid to experience new challenges.
Ellen Walker '06

I was in involved with a Habitat for Humanity trip in a poor town in Kentucky.  I learned a lot about home construction and carpentry, but more importantly it has inspired me to become more involved in my community and to help friends when they're in need.
Danielle Fein '06

I started volunteering when I was 16 at my local ambulance station because I had an interest in medicine. My first solo shift when I was 18 involved "Code 45," better known as an automobile accident. A young woman was badly injured and after we got her safely out of the car and into the ambulance, I returned to her car as I had heard a little whimper. I went back to find a little baby that was almost completely crushed into the car seat. When we got to the hospital, the woman reached out from her bed and grabbed hold of my wrist and said 'Thank you sweetheart, thank you so much for taking care of my baby." She blacked out as soon as she had finished talking. It was then I realized that medicine was for me ... not just because of the way I felt at the moment she grabbed my wrist, but also because of the way that I made her feel. I have been on ambulance call for almost 5 years now and I love every minute as if it is was the first.
Allison Garcia '07

As a Hartwick sociology and psychology student I had many very rewarding opportunities to work in the community. I found that not only did this give me a chance to put what I learned in the classroom into practice but it also taught me the importance of giving back to our communities. At first, these experiences were challenging. My interests led me to work with teenagers in pre-existing groups. I spent three years working at the same site, first as a class requirement, then by choice, and finally was able to turn those experiences into my thesis project. I continued in the placement I was in long after the class requirement was completed because I had learned that one important aspect of community work is commitment. Now, a year after I graduated, I am still in contact with many of the teens I worked with. To make a connection with people outside the classroom is one of the most rewarding aspects of community work. I look back on the years I spent at Hartwick and believe that I truly learned the most about myself and about what I wanted to do with my life, when I was working in various community settings. I have begun to pursue a career in social work with a focus on working with adolescents and I believe that I was directed down that path during these experiences. Volunteering is a two-fold experience: not only do we bring our talents and strengths to the organizations we are working with, but those organizations in turn teach us valuable lessons that we may not have had the opportunity to experience in another capacity.
Rebecca Whynot-Vicker '05