Higher education institutions have the unique role of shaping how students see the world and define their role within it. Through our programs, students are able to think critically about their responsibility to their community and develop skills to positively impact that community in a professional or personal capacity.
We design programs that combine organized service activities with skill-based learning opportunities focused on thoughtful reflection. The community focus of our programs encourages students to move past temporary solutions toward a deeper understanding of systemic challenges facing our world. Colgate’s commitment to community engagement serves as the foundation for our work.
This year in particular, we were honored to welcome Jonah Shacknai to campus in March to celebrate the dedication of the Max Shacknai COVE following his gift endowing the center, further ensuring that service experiences are integrated into a Colgate education.
This newsletter highlights some of the many ways Colgate students worked in partnership with community toward a positive outcome during the past academic year. Collectively, we continue to do as much as we can to leave the world in a better place than we found it. I’m proud of the steps we were able to take this year. I hope you will join us in celebrating the successes of our year as well!
With warm regards,
Max A. Shacknai Center for Outreach, Volunteerism and Education
There’s a new sign on the door at Colgate’s Center for Outreach, Volunteerism, and Education (COVE). On March 22, campus community members gathered to reassert the center’s mission as it became the Max Shacknai COVE, named in memory of Max Shacknai, son of Jonah Shacknai ’78. For all of the words of thanks and commendation spoken during the dedication, the Max Shacknai COVE has a “show me, don’t tell me” legacy that was reaffirmed by Jonah Shacknai himself. Speaking to students, faculty, and staff, he reminded them that, “as we look around our world — as we look around our community — no matter what our luck, we have the opportunity to take stock, realize that we have great fortune, and with that great fortune, great responsibility.”
The Max Shacknai COVE advises 38 student-led, community-based volunteer teams. These teams cover a wide range of issues and help students build an abundance of skills. Approximately 650 students representing about 25 percent of the Colgate population participate regularly in a volunteer team. In Fiscal Year ’13, volunteer teams performed more than 26,500 hours of direct service in the local community.
The COVE continues to offer educationally meaningful service trips over winter and spring break. Alternative break trips are not discrete one-week experiences. In addition to committing to a work-intensive week, students are responsible for attending pre-departure meetings that introduce the participants to the community and organization with which they will be working and the critical issues with which they will be dealing.
In Fiscal Year ’13, COVE expanded on its mission to cultivate a community of students who will be leaders in social responsibility and community engagement by launching a Social Innovation Initiative, designed to support students in the pursuit of innovative, transformative, and sustainable solutions to social problems.
The COVE has become an institution on campus by enshrining each part of its name in a series of signature programs. During Fiscal Year 13, we reached out to first-year students, strengthened our ties to the interfaith community, and conducted multiple days of service. We hosted high school seniors for seminars with faculty, and we invited the campus community to a series of awareness-raising brown bag lunches — and much more.
The Max Shacknai COVE exists through the efforts of individuals. During the course of Fiscal Year ’13, our work has drawn attention — and provided us with the opportunity to recognize the work of others.
In a single day, two Colgate students observed thousands of Muslims in mid-day prayers, Jews celebrating the start of Shabbat, and Franciscan monks leading processions through the streets of Jerusalem. This happens each Friday in the streets of Old City in Jerusalem, where Christina Crowley ’14 and Rebecca Fine ’14 lived this summer to complete a project designed to promote peace in a place long embroiled in conflict.
Colgate University was named to the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. This designation is the highest honor a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning, and civic engagement. The President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll honors the nation’s leading higher education institutions and their students, faculty and staff for their commitment to bettering their communities through service. These are institutions that reflect the values of exemplary community service and achieve meaningful outcomes in their communities.
More than 800 student volunteers
More than 90 community organizations
31,745 direct, hands-on volunteer service hours, valued at $678,073 in salary savings
5,200 indirect service hours contributed to raising awareness and fundraising for critical social issues
More than $44,000 of in-kind resources to non-profit organizations
September 11th Afternoon of Service October 4
Michael Wenger ’09, Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research November 1
Marcos Salazar, Be Social Change November 9–19
StartUp Experience social entrepreneurship workshop January Alternative Breaks
St. Kitts and Nevis youth empowerment
Oklahoma City disaster response
Habitat for Humanity January 13–17
Social Innovation faculty in residence: Anke Wessels January 24
MLK Afternoon of Service March Alternative Breaks
NYC Social Innovation immersion
Pathfinder Village May Alternative Break
Ethiopia public health trip with University of Texas medical students