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Keene State Students, Faculty, and Staff, Demonstrate the Power of Community Service

October 3, 2012

KSC Community Service Day Attracts Over 200 College Volunteers

On Friday, October 5 you won't find the president of Keene State College in his office or in a conference room somewhere on campus. Interim President Jay Kahn will be one of more than 200 volunteers from the college working at a dozen sites in the Keene area in the first Keene State College Community Service Day.

Organizers of the day-long event polled Keene area organizations on ideas for projects they needed help with. Projects were defined according to the scope of work, the number of people required, and the number of hours to complete the task. Projects range from yard work and painting, to working with young students, to cleaning up the Ashuelot River and Beaver Brook. Over the past few weeks, Keene State students, faculty, and staff have been signing up for two- and four-hour shifts that run from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

According to Jessica Gagne-Cloutier, Coordinator of Community Service at Keene State College and the lead organizer for the KSC Community Service Day, the organizing committee started meeting in mid-August and pulled the program together in a record six weeks. The committee included student, faculty, and staff representatives: students Katelyn Williams and Kimberly Aalberg; Becca Berkey, Coordinator of Experiential Education; Barbara Hall, Special Assistant to the President and Legislative Liaison; Jo Beth Mullens, faculty member; Frank Mazzola, Physical Plant staff; and Laura Villers, Americorps/Vista Coordinator.

"The KSC Community Service Day demonstrates the college's commitment to service in all that we do," notes Gagne-Cloutier. "This is a true opportunity to build partnerships with the Keene community and to make an ongoing commitment to service as part of our daily lives." On Friday, 57 members of the Keene State community will join Interim President Jay Kahn in cleaning up sections of the Ashuelot River and Beaver Brook. A half dozen volunteers will stack wood from several trees cut down by a resident on Spofford Lake. The River Center will pick up the wood and donate it to families for fuel this winter. In other projects, KSC community members will take part in a clean up project and activity with children at Cedarcrest, while others have planned activities with students at Kurn Hattin Homes. Additional volunteer sites include the Keene Family YMCA, The Community Kitchen, Monadnock Area Peer Support Agency, The Samaritans, AIDS Services for the Monadnock Region, and the Cheshire County Historical Society. Later in the afternoon, all volunteers and community partners will gather at the Keene State campus for cupcakes and cider and a message from Interim President Jay Kahn. Evaluations from both volunteers and community partners will provide valuable feedback for future Community Service activities.

Keene State College tracks the number of hours that students contribute to community service over the course of the year. In 2011-12, students performed 72,800 hours of community service through curricular and co-curricular projects.