Monday, February 9, 2009

The Community's College

This past Friday evening I had the good fortune to attend our Black Student Union/Caribbean Club's 1st Annual Black History Month dinner. The keynote speaker, former NFL player and current Under Armour executive Mr. Troy Barnett, provided an inspirational speech about how to be a successful leader. What was equally inspirational was the fact that the leaders of the BSU/CC designed the event to raise money (more than $700) for the House of the Good Shepherd and Emmaus House - two important local charities. Their efforts to engage and get involved in the community reminded me that MVCC really is the community's college. Our mission is to promote student success and community involvement through a commitment to excellence and a spirit of service. A number of recent efforts highlight the power of that mission and the impact we can have on our community.

MVCC’s Human Services Student Club is currently planning a benefit dinner to support the new Veteran's Outreach Center. We have a substantial number of veterans in this community and the new Center consolidates all veterans services into a single location. They have moved in to the former YMCA downtown and need to raise funds for operation and renovation costs - MVCC students are at the forefront of making this happen. The event is scheduled for Saturday, March 14th. For more information, contact Tony DeNoto at (315) 533-1362.

During the holidays, our community involvement kicked in to high gear.
- The end of semester employee gathering raised more than $1,200 to benefit the Salvation Army, adding to the more than $800 raised by employees who served as volunteer bell ringers. In addition, the holidays were a little brighter for 35 children who received toys that were donated because our MVCC colleagues responded to requests from our Angel Tree.
- The MVCC Baseball Team collected over 200 toys for the Holly Days Program which delivers them to needy children in the Mohawk Valley.
- The Alumni association partnered with the American Red Cross to organize a blood drive and collected 110 pints (exceeding the 100 pint goal) of blood at the Utica Campus in a single day effort!
- We exceeded our campus United Way campaign goal of $9,000 by raising a total of more than $10,000 in pledges and donations from faculty and staff!
- Despite terrible weather, our Welding student club joined together to clean up Oneida Square on national clean up day.

The folks on MVCC’s Rome campus have done a wonderful job, identifying and addressing community needs as well. In addition to collecting hats and mittens, and Toys for Tots, Rome campus students and staff have joined in the the efforts to raise funds for the American Heart Association and American Cancer Society. MVCC’s Student Nursing Organization – out of the Rome campus – has held a series of successful blood drives for the Red Cross. And the Dental Hygiene program is offering free teeth cleaning to residents of Rome Memorial Hospital’s nursing home unit.

We are also fortunate to have Team MVCC - a small group of dedicated faculty and staff that coordinates efforts at the College when we need to come together as a team to get involved in the community. Last year was their first year in operation and they had multiple successes. They pulled together 89 faculty, staff and students to participate in America's Greatest Heart Run/Walk, raising more than $4,000 and another 100+ participants and $2,500 in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk last fall. Team MVCC is gearing up for an even larger effort for the Heart Run/Walk next month and will hopefully lend their power to help set a new participation record for the annual Ted Moore Run/Walk later this spring on Saturday, May 2nd.
I like to say that community colleges should mirror the communities that they serve and it's clear that MVCC is working hard to mirror the generous nature of our community. I didn't intend to capture all of the examples, but our community involvement just continues to impress and make a growing difference in our community - truly making MVCC the community's college.

If you have any thoughts on this, please contact me at presblog@mvcc.edu.