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message from the president
the Legacy of Service
When Justin Bodor 02 cooks lunch at the homeless shelter on Saturday mornings, I know he is not thinking about leaving a legacy. He is just thinking about feeding people in need.
Justin, like countless other Albright students, staff, faculty and alumni
who contribute thousands of volunteer hours every year, is, in fact, leaving
a double legacy. He leaves an impact on those he serves, and he is also
a model for others to follow his lead.
In a very real way, who I am today is the result of people like Justin.
So many of the formative experiences of my youth were the work of volunteers,
like Howard Wimmersberger, my scout leader for six years, and my Little
League coach. Or the lasting impression on a young boy of the bravery
of volunteer firefighters in my hometown of Ambridge, Pennsylvania. These
folks were, in a very real way, my heroes.
As Janie and I moved 19 times over the 30 years of a military career
before coming to Albright, we experienced many different types of communities.
We learned that the health of a community can be gauged by its level of
community service, performed by organizations from the Red Cross and Welcome
Wagon to the Humane Society and the United Way. Here in Berks County,
I am happy to say, service organizations abound and provide ample opportunities
for contribution by Albrightians.
Service not only makes for healthier towns, it is important to the health
of individuals and organizations, and is, I believe, a key part of every
persons educational experience.
Service also enhances our life together as a community. When we participate
together, we share the deep satisfaction of helping others. We also get
to know each other betterand have a lot of fun while were
at it, as when Janie and I joined dozens of students, faculty, staff and
alumni in a Habitat for Humanity project and wielded paintbrushes, plastering
tools and hammers together.
The rationale for encouraging service by our students is very much like
the argument for a liberal arts education. We want our students to be
broadly educated, and service to the community broadens horizons and gives
us an appreciation for the problems and concerns of those with whom we
live. It exposes students to new experiences and offers new opportunities
for learning about the real world.
At Albright, our student organizations have wholeheartedly taken up the
mantle of service and done an outstanding job. Student organizations,
as well as our Shirk Scholars, put in thousands of hours every year, from
raising money for Habitat for Humanity through an annual Homeless Sleepout
in a cardboard box village, to assisting at the Humane Society
and buying playground equipment for our own Child
Development Center. Jennifer Levy 02 almost singlehandedly revitalized
Albrights recycling program, and has engaged the whole College in
the cause. Last year, students led voter registration efforts on campus.
And its not just our students. Professor Ed Gilbert founded the
Blue Spruce Foundation to give aid to college students with emergency
expenses. Innumerable other staff and faculty do everything from delivering
Meals on Wheels to leading an annual drive to provide Christmas gifts
to children of inmates in Berks County Prison.
Dr. Michelle Daniels, vice president and dean of students, has taken
the lead on service at Albright, working to find ways to expand volunteerism,
including obtaining an Americorp grant to hire a much needed full-time
coordinator for the Volunteer Center, which was formerly entirely student
run. The five Berks County colleges and universities also support a coordinators
position to create joint opportunities for service among the institutions.
When I came to Albright, I made a commitment to support and nurture Albrights heritage of volunteerism, and today it is one of the main components in our new strategic plan. As we progress to approval by the Board of Trustees and then implementation of the plan, we intend to create more and better opportunities for service and to encourage all Albrightians to reach out and to share of themselves. There is much to be done and each of us has legacies to leave.
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