SUNY students give back to community during week of service


OBSERVER Staff Writer

More than 500 students were out and about in the community Saturday morning, and all for a good cause. The ninth annual Fall Sweep at SUNY Fredonia was held as a conclusion to Days of Service.

The first ever week-long Days of Service saw more than 300 volunteers in the community doing service for various organizations. Students worked with the Boys and Girls Club of Northern Chautauqua County, Camp Gross, Chautauqua County Rural Ministry, Dunkirk-Fredonia Meals on Wheels, the Chautauqua County Home, the College Lodge, Greystone Nature Preserve, Habitat for Humanity, Salvation Army and WCA Home.

The campus also held Operation Breakfast Rescue for the 10th year where breakfast donations were taken to benefit the Rural Ministry. To conclude the week of community service, students participated in raking leaves throughout the village of Fredonia along Central Avenue and Temple Street, in addition to several side streets.

Fredonia Mayor Stephen Keefe welcomed students to the event in the Williams Center. He thanked the students for all the work they do in the community and thanked those who helped coordinate Fall Sweep. He joked, “For a Saturday morning and college kids, you look pretty good.”

He told the students it’s good for them to become involved in the community while they are enrolled at the campus. He also said he hopes the village can keep as many students as possible after graduation. Dr. David Herman, vice president for student affairs, welcomed students in Dr. Virginia Horvath’s absence. The president was unable to attend the event due to being out of town. He said he and Horvath are grateful for the students’ participation in and around the community. He told the students to not be afraid to talk to residents.

“This may be the only time (residents) can have a chance to talk to you,” he said.

The annual event is co-sponsored by the Applied Communication Association, a student organization that gives all students the ability to have real world experiences while attending school. ACA President Joanna Kaufmann said the organization helps students and the community come together.

“It’s to build a better relationship for students and the community,” she said.

Each year the Fall Sweep has gotten bigger with more students becoming involved, according to ACA Adviser Amber Rinehart. She gave credit to the students and ACA for the event becoming such a success on campus. Fall Sweep involved over 40 student groups this year.

“I give credit to the student body who want to get more involved and ACA for putting in the hard work for the event,” she said.

Fall Sweep Co-Chair Jordyn Holka donated rakes to Herman and Keefe which were signed by students. This was the first year the donation was a rake instead of a plaque. Holka was also thrilled about the number of students that participated.

“I’m really excited we had a great turnout. It feels great to be a part of the Fall Sweep,” Holka said.

Two of the students participating were Lynn Bower and Kaelyn Chresfield, both of Alumni Hall, who were raking leaves on Central Avenue. Bower said since she didn’t have an opportunity to do community service where she is from, she wanted to get involved at Fredonia. Chresfield said she wanted to also get involved in her new home, similar to her hometown.

“Now that Fredonia is my new home, I figured I should do some community service here,” she said.

Joyce Harvard-Smith, coordinator of volunteer and community services at the college, said the first ever Days of Service followed last year’s Inaugural Day of Service and will be an annual tradition from now on. Harvard-Smith said it’s important for students to be involved.

“It’s so important that students give back to the community and our SUNY Fredonia students are making a difference,” she said.

The Days of Service committee included co-chairs Harvard-Smith and Erin Mroczka, Dr. David Kinkela, Frank DiPasquale, Hannah Farley and William Kay. For more information on student volunteering, visit

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