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University Community Commits to Giving Back During Holiday Season

ALBANY, N.Y. (December 15, 2015) -- This holiday season, University at Albany students, staff, faculty, and alumni are giving back through a variety of community service projects. While the campus community works throughout the year to volunteer in a variety of capacities, the holidays present a special opportunity to help the community-at-large.

The initiatives support UAlbany President Robert Jones’ challenge to the campus to log at least two-and-a-half million community service hours each year. Currently, some 7,400 UAlbany students contribute to the local region through volunteer work, courses and internships annually. Here are some highlights from the 2015 holiday season:

Alumni Association “Drives Out Hunger”

The UAlbany Alumni Association is hosting its third annual “Drive Out Hunger” campaign, a food drive that benefits the Food Pantries for the Capital District. Non-perishable food items and monetary donations can be dropped off through February 6, 2016. Designated bins are located at SEFCU Arena, the Alumni House and at each of the Uptown Residential Quad Offices.

Holiday Volunteers 2015
This holiday season, student-athletes from the Great Danes’ 19 Division I teams (as well as the dance and cheer teams) are supporting Albany County’s “Adopt-a-Family” initiative.

Athletics “Adopt-a-Family” Initiative

UAlbany student-athletes volunteer more than 2,000 hours annually to provide positive experiences to those less fortunate in the Capital District. This holiday season, student-athletes from the Great Danes’ 19 Division I teams (as well as the dance and cheer teams) are supporting Albany County’s “Adopt-a-Family” initiative. Hundreds of families with little or no financial resources are assisted each year by “Adopt-a-Family” to create a memorable holiday.

UAlbany Athletics' coaches and staff also volunteered at the Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless in Albany as part of paired initiative with SEFCU. The group prepped meals for 60 people, while also sorting clothes and wrapping gifts.

Cornerstone Campus Ministry Students Pack Holiday Boxes for Sailors

Cornerstone Campus Ministry students joined together in packing “Christmas-at-Sea” boxes for sailors who visit the Port of Albany during the holiday season. Each box contains a variety of personal care items along with warm socks, homemade scarves, hats and gloves as well as a personal greeting card. The boxes were presented to Rev. William Hempel, Director of Albany Maritime Ministry. Learn more about Albany Maritime Ministry.

Development Makes Spirits Bright for Area Children and Families

Staff members in the University at Albany Development division donated to Albany Medical Center’s “Neighbors in Need” program, making spirits bright for area children and family who may otherwise go without gifts during the holiday. The group adopted individual children and families.

Great Danes’ Donate to Local Animal Shelter

The University’s New Student Programs and Disability Resource Center teams partnered with the Companion Animal Placement Program (a local animal shelter) for the annual “Great Danes Give Back” service initiative. The two units collected pet supplies to donate, including leashes, collars, dog/cat toys, dog/cat food, and gently used towels and blankets. Students also created fleece toys and pillows to donate.

Living-Learning Community Shows Appreciation for Faculty & Staff

Student representatives from UAlbany’s Living-Learning Communities volunteered their time to wrap presents for faculty and staff during the Faculty and Staff Appreciation Celebration at the University bookstore. These students are freshmen, selected by their peers, community assistants, and faculty members to serve on an advisory board for student engagement.

Off-Campus Ambassadors Host Holiday Food Drive

During the month of November, Off-Campus Ambassadors went door-to-door throughout the Pine Hills Community collecting canned food items and other non-perishables from students and permanent residents. All proceeds have been donated to the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York.

The Off-Campus Ambassadors also worked with the City of Albany Department of General Services to deliver 100 recycling bins to Pine Hills residents. By signing a pledge, the residents agreed to recycle more in an ongoing effort to “go green” in the City of Albany.

Residential Life’s Leaders in Service Spread Holiday Cheer

UAlbany’s Leaders in Service branch of Residential Life are spreading holiday cheer through a variety of volunteer initiatives.

First, the group is giving back to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Northeast New York. They’ve collected donations through dorm storming initiatives, while also hosting a dining hall collection table. The money collected will help grant the wishes of six capital region, terminally ill children.

The group is also working with Pathways Rehabilitation Center to support 30 children who will spend their lives on life support and breathing machines. They’re accepting donations to provide the children with toys, clothing, pillows, blankets, and other daily necessities. Residential Life is matching all donations.

Lastly, the group helped facilitate a series of events at Albany High School surrounding suicide loss and tolerance. They led tolerance building activities, and ended the week by volunteering at a community safe place gathering for survivors of suicide loss.

Residential Life Teams Up with Holiday Giving Program

For the eighth annual year, UAlbany students, faculty, and staff collected and delivered busloads of gifts to the Parsons Child and Family Center of Albany and Northeast Parent and Child Society of Schenectady. The event is part of the Northern Rivers Holiday Giving Program, a campaign that serves thousands of regional children who are in need of holiday presents. Learn more.

School of Education “Adopts a Family”

For the fifth consecutive year, UAlbany’s School of Education is participating in Albany County’s “Adopt-A-Family” program. Each year, the school is given a wish list from a family living in the City of Albany. After collecting donations, volunteers wrap gifts and personally deliver them to the family in need. This initiative is led by the School of Education Dean’s Office.

Student-Athlete Advisory Committee Homeless and Travelers Aid Society Initiative

The UAlbany Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) is leading an initiative to collect toiletries for the Homeless and Travelers Aid Society (HATAS) of Albany. Student-athletes and athletic staff are collecting sealed travel-size toiletries, including shampoo, conditioner, lotion and soap. The items are being donated to HATAS throughout the year.     

University Auxiliary Services Supports Our Troops

University Auxiliary Services (UAS) encouraged students to take a break from studying for finals by creating a festive holiday card in support of our troops overseas. The event was held at the University Bookstore as part of its “wake up & de-stress event.” Cards were delivered to the non-profit A Million Thanks.

University Hall Participates in “Adopt-A-Family”

Staff from University Hall and the Office of Communications and Marketing participated in the Albany Stratton VA Medical Center’s "Adopt-A-Family" drive. Each holiday season the group collects gifts as well as contributions towards a holiday dinner that is delivered to families with little or no financial resources.       

Do you want to become involved? Visit UAlbany’s community service portal to learn how you can give back through the University. Also view UAlbany’s official Pinterest profile to see more community engagement initiatives.

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A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than
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