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Making Connections 

Miriam Joseph and Joseph Carrino have high praise for the Sept. 10-11 Community Service Weekend. (Photo by Mark Schmidt) 

ALBANY, N.Y. (September 6, 2016) – What is a great way to make friends, give back and connect with others who share a common interest?

This weekend, Sept. 10 and 11, some 500 freshmen and transfer students from the University’s Living-Learning Communities (L-LCs) will roll up their sleeves and do volunteer work.

Miriam Joseph, a sophomore from Bay Shore, N.Y., is looking forward to it.

“I have always been passionate about community service and volunteer work in general,” said Joseph, an intended double major in criminal justice and sociology. “The idea of doing it with my newfound friends makes it all the more enjoyable.”

Joseph's family fostered her passion for helping others, which started at a young age because she was very active in her church. She is a part of the World of  Community Service L-LC, where students choose to live because they share a love of volunteering.

“The community provided me with long lasting relationships, leadership opportunities and an environment in which to grow and learn about myself,” she said. “Joining an L-LC last year was definitely the right choice for me; it helped make my transition into this university as a freshman both smooth and enjoyable.”

Joseph Carrino, a sophomore, heartily agreed. He is from Newtown, Conn., where the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting took place in 2012.

“Sandy Hook definitely made me want to do community service even more,” said Carrino. “It was a tragedy that made me more understanding and sympathetic of others’ hardships and struggles.”

A psychology major who lived in the World of Health Psychology L-LC as a freshman, he said, “A lot of students from my L-LC last year are now some of my closest friends. It was great living in the same hall so we could work or go to class together.”

Carrino and Joseph are both part of a new club, Friends of the L-LCs, formed to bridge the gap between current L-LC freshmen, transfer students and L-LC alums, and to foster academic excellence and social growth. There are currently 31 L-LCs with about 775 residents.

On Saturday, students will write letters to service men and women in partnership with SEFCU. They will also throw their efforts behind the Red Bookshelf Project, which works to increase literacy and the love of reading by giving books away to children in need. L-LC students will be sorting and refurbishing children’s books that are then placed in bright red bookshelves in shelters and offices where children and families are encouraged to take and keep them.

On Sunday, busloads of UAlbany L-LC volunteers will descend on three downtown locations. Organizers are lining up projects aimed at:

• neighborhood clean-up and park plantings
• alleviating hunger and food insecurity
• helping children and the elderly.

In addition, new transfer students will support the Sept. 11 UAlbany - Pine Hills Neighborhood event coordinated by the Office of Neighborhood Life.

“Since our Living-Learning Communities have grown so much, we’ve had to broaden our community service day into a weekend filled with different service activities,” said Assistant Vice Provost for Student Engagement Linda Krzykowski of the Sept. 10-11 weekend. “Through our service weekend, we help create communities that engage new students both academically and through co-curricular involvement.”

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A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.