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Albany High School and UAlbany Students Team Up in New Ways to Learn

ALBANY, N.Y. (October 9, 2012) – Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard, Ph.D., Superintendent of the City School District of Albany, and University at Albany President George M. Philip kicked off October is Community Service Month at UAlbany on Friday, October 5, in the Campus Center Ballroom. "UACT--UAlbany-Community Together" is the theme of the month-long event.

"UAlbany began this month-long spotlight last year to build on the meaningful community-engaged work our students, faculty and staff do throughout the entire year. With a fall focus on engagement, we can tap into the excitement so many of our students feel about making a difference in the lives of others," said President Philip.  

UAlbany GSO Vice President Genevieve Kane (left) and Mary Graham lead a workshop on careers in engineering for Albany High students
GSO Vice President Genevieve Kane (left) and Mary Graham, both graduate research assistants at CNSE, lead a workshop on careers in engineering for Albany High students in the Innovation Academy. (Photo Mark Schmidt)

Friday’s launch featured joint performances by UAlbany and Albany High School students in a cappella singing, dancing and stepping. UAlbany students also led workshops on a range of topics, including entrepreneurship, mock debating, and DNA extraction.

The activities further the Student-to-Student Initiative UAlbany launched in October 2011 with Albany High School and UAlbany's undergraduate Student Association (SA), along with the Graduate Student Organization (GSO). The initiative is designed to enhance student engagement both at Albany High and UAlbany, extending opportunities for learning and gaining new experiences together.

The idea for the Student-to-Student Initiative grew out of conversations over a year ago with Mayor Gerald Jennings and then-Superintendent Raymond Colucciello, Ed.D. Leaders from the SA, GSO, President's Office, School of Education and the Division of Student Success met with them to discuss ways to build on existing partnerships.

"This kind of partnership is critical to the success of our schools," said Dr. Vanden Wyngaard, who began her tenure as superintendent of Albany's public schools on September 24. "Student learning and development greatly benefit from the exciting exchange of our young people along the education pipeline. The district is pleased to have UAlbany as a long-standing partner."

"There is so much we can bring to this relationship," said Arthur Rushforth, UAlbany Student Association President. "The Student Association has over two hundred clubs, many of them already heavily involved in community service."

Student Workshops

Thirteen UAlbany students from the pre-law undergraduate fraternity Phi Alpha Delta, showcased "Goldilocks on Trial" in a mock debate to illustrate the judicial system. Other workshops included: Be Your Own Entrepreneur; Be a Leader—Global/Local; Leaders in a Multicultural World; Careers in Science and Engineering and the DNA extraction activity.

"The workshops offer high school students a sampling of the exciting content and experiences awaiting them when they attend college," said Thomas Devlin of the GSO.

During the 2011/12 school year, Albany High launched four new academies -- Citizenship, Discovery, Innovation and Leadership. The organization of the school into these theme-based academies offers smaller, more interpersonal learning environments to improve student outcomes for the approximately 2,300 young people attending Albany High.

In 2012 the S-2-S Initiative will expand to include academic-related content.

"The initiative fits well with Albany High School's efforts to enrich extended learning opportunities through interactions with college students who can open new doors to interests and skill development," said Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings.

UAlbany was recognized for a 2nd consecutive year on the (U.S.) President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

Learn more about UAlbany’s extensive engagement efforts both locally and globally. 

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