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Five students, faculty from Connecticut colleges honored for community service

By State of Connecticut Department of Higher Education

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Hartford, CT - Five students and faculty from Connecticut colleges and universities were honored for their exemplary service to their communities at an awards ceremony held on April 24, 2012 at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain.

The awards were made by William R. Dyson, chair of the Connecticut Commission on Community Service, and Jane A. Ciarleglio, Executive Director of the Office of Financial and Academic Affairs for Higher Education, at a dinner attended by 180 students, faculty and administrators at Central’s Memorial Hall.

This year, 17 Connecticut colleges submitted 53 nominations for the three award categories of Individual Student, Student Group, and Special Award for projects led by faculty and staff. Recipients were selected by review teams composed of Commission members and staff based on their ability to design projects which 1) distinctly serve a community, 2) incorporate originality and unique approaches to community service, 3) substantially raise student participation, and 4) address community problems.

The 2012 Community Service Individual Student Award Recipients are:

Maiyah Gamble-Rivers, a senior at Eastern Connecticut State University, who organized a 2-day Arts and Culture Series in November for nearly 200 elementary school students, exposing them to workshops in the visual arts, dance, performing arts and music. More than 50 student volunteers from Eastern CSU led interactive projects for the youngsters. The program has since become a core activity between Eastern CSU and Windham Public Schools.

Stefan Keller, a senior at Southern Connecticut State University, for strengthening the culture of service at Southern through a wide variety of activities, including creating the Southern CSU Service Team and Student Government Association Service Commission. He also is an active member of the American Cancer Society’s Colleges against Cancer organization, Relay for Life, the Beacon Brook Health Center and the Future Project in New Haven.

The 2012 Community Service Student Group Award Recipients are:

Human Services Club, Housatonic Community College, which provided Bridgeport’s Domestic Violence program with bags filled with crafts and toys, costumes and snacks for a Halloween “Boo party” for 40 children living in shelters who cannot go trick-or-treating for security reasons.

Service Team, Southern Connecticut State University, which spearheaded more than 30 service projects encompassing 5,000 service hours. A highlight of the Team’s work is the annual “Big Event” held each April in which some 400 students volunteer at local agencies such as the AIDS Project New Haven, the Ronald McDonald House, and New Haven Home Recovery.

The 2012 Community Service Special Award Recipient is:

· Darla Shaw, a Fill Professor of Education and Coordinator of the Master’s Graduate Education Degree Program at Western Connecticut State University, for her leadership in creating an Alzheimer’s Awareness Program. Professor Shaw has educated her students about Alzheimer’s, and how to incorporate information about the disease into elementary school lesson plans. She guided her undergraduate students in creating an “Adopt an Alzi Animals Program” to help donate to the cure in which students recycle and decorate their own stuffed animals, give them names and write stories about them. The students then bring these unique animals to Alzheimer’s walks and donate them for fund-raising activities.

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