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For UAlbany Campus Community, the Holiday Spirit is in the Giving

Contact(s):  Catherine Herman (518) 956-8150

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UAlbany students deliver gifts of toys and clothes to more than 200 children at Parsons Child and Family Center.

UAlbany students deliver a busload of gifts to more than 200 children as part of the "Holiday Heroes" program at Parsons Child and Family Center. (Photo Mark Schmidt)

ALBANY, N.Y. (December 11, 2009) -- University at Albany students will be among this year’s “Holiday Heroes,” providing toys and clothes to more than 200 Albany-area children through the Parsons Child and Family Center. This effort, led by UAlbany’s Department of Residential Life, is just one of many examples of holiday volunteerism and charitable giving by faculty, staff and students this season. Academic and administrative departments, student organizations and other campus groups are adopting families, donating food, buying presents for children in need and participating in a plethora of acts of volunteerism during the holidays.

“Our campus community helps our friends and neighbors in need all year long, but even more so during the holidays,” said President George M. Philip. “UAlbany’s way of celebrating the spirit of the season is by partnering with human service agencies and other organizations to provide for local families and children.”

The University works closely with Parsons Child and Family Center, the largest multi-service agency in the Capital Region, on several programs including School of Social Welfare initiatives throughout the year, as well as “Holiday Heroes.” As a result of the University’s overwhelming contributions to the holiday program this year, UAlbany students are delivering a busload of gifts, which also includes donations by the Physical Plant Department and Professional Development Program.

Hundreds of toys and other gifts are delivered to Parsons Child and Family Center, just one of the ways the UAlbany community participates in holiday volunteerism.

Hundreds of toys and other gifts are delivered to Parsons Child and Family Center, just one of the ways the UAlbany campus community participates in holiday volunteerism. (Photo Mark Schmidt)

Several UAlbany departments also participate in “Adopt-A-Family” programs each year through the Albany County Department for Children, Youth and Families, including the Office for Sponsored Programs, the Office of Communications and Marketing and student athletes. Additionally, students and staff in UAlbany’s Project SHAPE: Sexual Health & Peer Education program adopt local families through the AIDS Council of Northeastern New York. Through these programs, low-income families are provided with gifts of toys and clothes, as well as necessities like food and other needs.

Other holiday volunteerism efforts include Salvation Army bell ringing by UAlbany student athletes and the student group Albany Business Leaders Emerging (ABLE) from the School of Business. Food drives were coordinated by the Office for Student Success, which collected non-perishable items for the food pantry at St. Vincent De Paul Church, and ABLE, which collected more than 500 pounds of food for Food Pantries for the Capital District. Students at the School of Social Welfare collected canned goods, winter hats, gloves and mittens for Centro Civico, students at Arbor Hill Elementary School, and The AIDS Council. Additionally, the English Graduate Student Organization and UAlbany’s Writing Center sponsored a winter coat drive, benefitting Burlington Coat Factory’s One Warm Coat initiative, and the Graduate Student Organization at the School of Public Health organized an Angel Giving Tree to donate items to needy families. The School of Public Health also teamed up with Aramark Facility Services to sponsor the East Campus Toys for Tots program, which also received donations from the University Police Department and the School of Social Welfare.

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Educationally and culturally, the University at Albany-SUNY puts "The World Within Reach" for its 18,000 students. An internationally recognized research university with 58 undergraduate majors and 128 graduate degree programs, UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as public policy, nanotechnology and criminal justice. With a curriculum enhanced by 300 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers. For more information about this globally ranked University, visit www.albany.edu. For UAlbany's extensive roster of faculty experts, visit www.albany.edu/news/experts.shtml.

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