Friday, June 11 was an exciting day for the faculty and staff at Berkeley College.
On that day, 530 members of our staff traveled to 46 sites throughout New York and New Jersey to volunteer with agencies that work to improve our quality of life or lend a helping hand to those in need.
The work our volunteers did during the first annual Berkeley College Community Service Day included delivering meals to the homebound, bowling with senior citizens, raking and planting and cleaning beaches at Sandy Hook.
At the Boys and Girls Club in Wayne, volunteers from Berkeley College created some new opportunities for kids to get fit and have fun by painting brightly-colored hopscotch, box ball courts, tic tac toe and twister spots on a back parking lot -- not to mention a baseball diamond.
While our contributions certainly had value to the agencies that invited us last Friday, our Berkeley College community also reaped significant rewards from the experience.
With several other members of our faculty and staff, I spent a few hours serving lunch at The Hoboken Shelter, a nonprofit social service organization that provides hot meals to more than 300 people each day as well as a wide array of social services that includes overnight shelter for 50 individuals each night.
Like the majority of institutions we visited on June 11, The Hoboken Shelter is dedicated to forging a community partnership that changes lives.
That is also our mission here at Berkeley College. In the 21st century, college education no longer takes place in an “ivory tower."
It is our responsibility to prepare our students to function successfully in an increasingly complex world, a world that requires not only class work, but teamwork; a world that values not only electronic connection, but connection to community.
Our commitment to this goal is demonstrated by our participation in the New York State Campus Compact and the newly formed New Jersey State Campus Compact, agreements that promote active citizenship as an aim of higher education.
Berkeley College is also participating in New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Service Initiative. Based on the principle that "everybody's got something to offer”, the initiative seeks to engage all citizens in addressing the city's most pressing problems through a myriad of volunteer opportunities.
All of these efforts reflect our ongoing commitment to making a difference in the lives of others as well as in ourselves.
The Berkeley College Community Service Day will remain with us during the year ahead as we share with our students the impact of partnering with the greater community to help those in need.
It gives me great pride to know that through their teamwork and dedication to volunteerism, our faculty and staff serve as powerful role models for the students of Berkeley College, both in and out of the classroom.
Dario A. Cortes, PhD
Photo Above: Berkeley Associates on June 11, 2010, Community Service Day, serving lunch at The Hoboken Shelter.
Pictured from left to right: Katherine Wu, President Dario A.Cortes PhD, Gerald Iacullo, Greg Lincoln, Romel Espinel, Sheila Vaughan, Laura Jewell, Marquise Martin, George Martinez, and Lynn D'Amario.
Click here to view images taken on-site during Community Service Day on Flickr.
President Dario A. Cortes, PhD and the Executive Director of The
Hoboken Shelter discuss their Community Service Day experience.