COVE Honors Colgate University Student Volunteers

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The Max A. Shacknai Center for Outreach, Volunteerism, and Education (COVE) celebrated National Volunteer Week this year with a series of awards for its most dedicated and successful student volunteers.

“I want to express my thanks and gratitude for the spirit of service, care, and citizenship our COVE volunteers have embodied this past year,” said COVE Director Jeremy Wattles ’05. “It was difficult for many students to transition to virtual service and to manage COVID-19 restrictions in order to account for public health needs, yet they still showed that they can be creative and persistent, and they have made a difference.”

2020/21 COVE Award Winners

Direct Service Award (three recipients this year)

Given to the teams that display outstanding achievement in the area of direct service. These teams sustain a committed base of volunteers and provide consistent, reliable, direct service to the community. 

Southern Madison Volunteer Ambulance Corps (SOMAC student volunteers) - This team has been incredibly valuable to the Hamilton Community this year during the COVID-19 pandemic by providing essential emergency response services.

Hamilton Fire Department (HFD student volunteers) - Students in the Hamilton Fire Department have continued to provide essential emergency services to the local community throughout this difficult year. 

Colgate SAT Prep - Colgate SAT Prep adapted their tutoring program to an online format while maintaining volunteer relationships and a high standard of tutoring expectations.

Collaboration Award 

Given to a team or individual that has collaborated effectively on a program or initiative. This collaboration enhances relationships and builds coalitions between different student groups while addressing a community need through direct service.

Do Random Acts of Kindness (DoRAK) - Along with their normally scheduled team service, DoRAK partnered with the Center for Leadership and Student Involvement (CLSI) to distribute kindness bags for world kindness day, partnered with the Dean of the College Division to support their Colgate Kindness initiative, and coordinated with the COVE in the fall for a Quarantine Kindness Challenge. DoRAK brought small pieces of kindness to students all over campus during a hard year.

Social Change Award

Given to a team that displays outstanding achievement in the area of social change. This team identifies underlying social issues and begins to work toward sustainable change.

Ophelia’s Girls - Ophelia’s Girls has managed to work consistently with the middle school students they serve despite the virtual format. Thank you for all your hard work and for being so thoughtful this year!

Campus Impact Award

Given to the team that displays outstanding achievement in the area of campus impact. The team creates on-campus visibility of issues affecting the Colgate community and then encourages formal and informal dialogues addressing these issues and topics.

Colgate Vote Project - This team worked tirelessly to register as many students on campus as possible and continued to ensure that voting in this year’s election remained on the minds of students — even during the pandemic.

Community Partner Award 

Given to a community partner that has shown committed, sustained, and exemplary partnership with a COVE team.

Rachel DiGeorge -  Rachel is the elementary school counselor at Madison Central School and works with our M&Ms and Ophelia’s Girls teams. She continually takes on tasks and responsibilities, epitomizing what it means to be a self-starter and passionate community partner. Her contributions to our teams have ensured smooth operations and made meaningful connections.

Emerging Leader Award 

Given to a first- or second-year COVE leader who has shown commitment to direct service and demonstrated potential for leadership and continuing service.

Becca Overton ’22 and Noah Van Atta ’22 - Both Becca and Noah joined the COVE as leaders at the end of the spring 2020 semester. They have had a challenging year as new leaders of an EMS team during a pandemic. On top of their normal team leader responsibilities, they have also helped to implement new protocols and guidelines to keep their team members safe. They have done all of this with dedication and passion for what they do.

Marie Goodrich ’23 - Marie was brought on as the head math coach for SAT Prep this year. She has quickly adjusted to her leadership role and is a great guide to her math coaches. She has consistently demonstrated her conscientiousness and commitment to the program.

Serelle Carr ’23 and Jillian Holliday ’23 - Serelle and Jillian became members of the leadership team of Hamilton Elementary Tutoring in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. They were asked to change gears with their team and become Brain Buddies. This was no small feat as it was not the type of service their team had ever done. They worked hard work to get the group up and running.

COVE Team Leader Award 

Given to a team leader who, through leadership, teamwork, and service, has illustrated the philosophy and mission of the COVE. This leader is committed to direct service to the community and sustained collaboration with community partners. 

Grant Ruback ’21 - Grant has volunteered countless hours with SOMAC. This year, he was presented with new protocols and procedures that had to be put in place, and Grant effectively communicated these to his team members. Grant’s dedication to SOMAC and the community are greatly appreciated.

Paige Rossi ’21 - Paige has devoted so much time to Madison Mentors (M&Ms) this year and has really driven the club to success during the uncertain circumstances throughout the pandemic. Paige approaches her work and M&Ms with the utmost attention to detail, care, and humility.

Rob Little ’21 - Rob has devoted significant time and effort to the success of Colgate High School Tutors. He has played an integral part in joining together with the Sherburne-Earlville group with Hamilton’s group to form the team. Rob continuously searches for inventive ways to motivate and engage high school students.

Charlotte Reeves ’21 - Charlotte has been a loyal, consistent member and leader of the Friends of Hamilton Manor team. She has made meaningful relationships with the members that will last after she graduates.

Emily Lencyk ’21 - Emily has been a member of Liberty Kids for four years. She has done an outstanding job organizing and co-running the team. She is always upbeat and will do whatever she is asked to do. Emily is always enthusiastic and willing to go the extra mile. 

Volunteer Award 

Given to students who exceed the expectations of the groups in which they are involved.

Victoria Peluf ’21 - Victoria has shown exemplary passion and dedication to the program throughout this year. As an SAT Prep coach on the verbal section, she goes above and beyond when planning her lessons, making them interactive and engaging for her students.

Priya Martin ’24 - Priya participated in every one of the COVE’s afternoons of service in the fall and has been so willing to jump into working with the community here in Hamilton. Thank you for engaging so quickly with the local community, especially during such a challenging year!

Faculty/Staff Engagement Award 

The COVE recognizes individuals who have made a sustained or significant contribution to publicly engaged scholarship, learning, or community engagement, whether as part of a course or on their own outside of the classroom.

Lynn Schwarzer, professor of art and art history and film and media studies; director of the Upstate Institute - For the last three years, Lynn has been a creative and willing partner with the COVE and the wider community and is always seeking to advance public scholarship and community engagement.

Mail Service Staff - This group of staff members was tasked with delivering a substantial number of packages this year, yet still helped COVE teams get items to their members during quarantine without complaint.

Kathy DeLacy - Kathy is the quarantine manager at the Wendt Inn. Kathy has been so easy to work with and so helpful at the Wendt — both with food collection and distributing items to students in quarantine, as well as answering all of our staff’s questions on behalf of students at the Wendt. Thank you for being such wonderful support for students this year!

Max A. Shacknai Award

The Max A. Shacknai Award is given to an outstanding senior who has exemplified and embodied the mission of the COVE through four years of direct service and collaboration with community partners.

Catie Morgan ’21 - Catie has been a leader of the Hamilton Outdoor Group since her first year on campus, has participated in a COVE alternative break trip, and is a frequent participant in the COVE’s afternoons of service. She is outgoing, immediately engaging, and connects well with her fellow volunteers and youth with whom she works. Catie has always thought of interesting and interactive activities that incorporate teambuilding skills. While transitioning the Hamilton Outdoor Group to a virtual format was not without incredible challenges, Catie put in every effort to ensure the students with whom she worked still had the opportunity to participate in the program.

Ellie Schonberg ’21 - Ellie is one of the founding leaders of the Colgate Vote Project, which began in 2018 as a nonpartisan effort to boost voter education, registration, and turnout. She has done excellent work getting this off the ground and laid a strong foundation upon which others can build as we advance civic engagement on Colgate’s campus. She has also been a member of our Madison EMS volunteer team since the beginning of her sophomore year, stepping into a leadership role at the end of her junior year. Ellie has been a devoted leader during these unprecedented times, and her commitment to community health has been beyond impressive.