The Max A. Shacknai Center for Outreach, Volunteerism and Education (COVE) began celebrating its accomplishments on September 10 as part of its 20th anniversary. According to COVE’s Instagram (@colgatecove), the celebration will include a series of events extending through May.
COVE is a fundamental part of the campus community. Since its founding in 2001, “more than 10,000 students have contributed more than 500,000 hours of service, which equates to nearly $ 12 million in salary savings for community partners,” according to COVE’s page on the Colgate official website. COVE Director Jeremy Wattles graduated from Colgate in 2005 and reflected on his founding mission.
Future events will include the Common Good Professional Network event in February, which, according to the COVE Instagram, is described as “Government Service: Local to Global”. Additionally, the Alumni Club Day of Service in March will take place on Colgate Charter Day, March 5, and will focus on current public health issues.
“COVE was born out of former college dean Adam Weinberg, Betsy Levine and other student leaders who believed there was a need for a home for volunteer and civic engagement activities on campus, ”Wattles said.
According to Wattles, his role as COVE director is to guide the center towards institutional and community goals, while helping staff set up signing programs like the Day of Service on Saturday, October 2. COVE holds days of service throughout the year where students can volunteer to spend the day at a local organization’s location. A total of 30 students registered to participate and celebrate the anniversary through community service on Saturday.
Volunteers were sent to the Chenango Canal, Community Bikes, Community Garden or Madison Lane. These organizations promote various missions, such as Chenango Canal, which emphasizes nature and conservation. Community Bikes, located in Hamilton, “collects and repackages donated bikes and places them with those who would like to have a bike, but for whom buying one would be a challenge, ”according to the Community Bikes website. The event started with refreshments in the morning, then the volunteers were each given a t-shirt and a reusable water bottle before heading to their destination.
Another recent event was dedicated to September 11, described by COVE’s Instagram as a way to “challenge the 20 hours of service for 20 years!” On September 20, COVE opened an art competition to celebrate the anniversary, in which student artists can submit art proposals that illustrate the theme of COVE service and outreach. by December 1 to be added to their lounge at Lathrop Hall. Ideas will be voted on and the winner will be announced on December 15th. The winner’s canvas will be installed in May at the end of the celebrations.
COVE currently remains extremely active as a major organization on campus. “We typically involve a quarter of Colgate students, or 700 people, on an annual basis,” Wattles said. “We hope to encourage students to lead a life of engaged citizenship and to reflect on positive social change. ”
This philosophy is evident in the myriad of service groups within COVE. Colgate junior and co-head of Colgate Buddies, an organization facilitated by COVE, Jane Corcoran, talks about the importance of her organization.
“Colgate Buddies is the only disability advocacy club on campus and strives to foster relationships between the Colgate community and the community’s disability homes. Our service goes through events where we form those bonds to break the stigma of disability, ”said Corcoran.
Corcoran described the importance of COVE for the student body.
In addition to student groups, the center offers faculty and staff involvement, including the high school seminar in which faculty members are invited to teach a three-class course to local high school students.
According to Wattles, COVE’s greatest accomplishments concern the overwhelming number of students involved and the time they put into service. The 700 students contribute approximately 35 to 40,000 combined hours of service each year to more than 80 community organizations.
Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, COVE has found productive methods of community service. Providing needed assistance to communities while ensuring safety is difficult during a pandemic. Groups such as SAT Prep, engAGE, Ophelia’s Girls, DoRak and many more have completed their service under COVID guidelines over the past year. Ophelia’s Girls works with students from Madison. On COVE’s Instagram Highlights, they described how they worked around the guidelines:
“We switched to virtual service and extended our service from one to two days a week to accommodate the school’s new hybrid schedule. We also set up care packages for each girl at the end of the semester.
After the 20th anniversary, COVE has goals for the future.
“We hope to launch a literacy tutoring program in local public schools in partnership with the Upstate Institute within a year or two,” Wattles said.
While planning the anniversary events, Wattles would like to thank the staff including Karli Caputo, Administrative Assistant, Sarah Sparber, a Team Advisor and Amy Jackowski, another Team Advisor, for their attention, dedication. and their hard work.
Wattles was assisted in the planning of the anniversary events by Karli Caputo, the administrative assistant, Sarah Sparber, a team advisor, and Amy Jackowski, another team advisor. Caputo described his role in planning the events
“I do the majority of the planning behind the event and on the day. I was responsible for collecting community partners, advertising volunteer opportunities, ordering items for the day, and making the day go smoothly with registration. I received help from our interns to place the students in the different service locations based on what interested them most, ”said Caputo.
Caputo also explained why she thinks COVE is so important on campus.
“I truly believe that community service plays a huge role in the student experience here at Colgate. Not only does COVE allow students to do community service, it also gives Colgate students the opportunity to learn more about the community in which they live. I continue to feel honored to be a part of COVE and all the work our students do, ”said Caputo.
After 20 years of community service, COVE continues to help the local community and introduce Colgate students to volunteering. Many festive events are to come.