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Work Toward Goodness

News Story

Did you know that doing good is good for you? Hear from faculty and staff who are giving back and find out why we should make 2016 the year of the volunteer!

A new year provides the perfect opportunity to start from scratch. It's that time of the year when people make their resolutions: exercise often, spend more time with family, learn something new, do things that make you happy. You know, #newyearnewyou.

Did you know that volunteering can help with many of those goals? Research shows that giving back can improve your overall happiness and well-being. In a 2013 study by UnitedHealth Group, 94% of people who volunteered in the last 12 months said that volunteering improved their mood, 76% said that volunteering made them feel healthier, and 96% reported that volunteering enriched their sense of purpose.

And Pace is 100% committed. In addition to our paid vacation and personal days, the University offers paid time off for volunteering—full-time staff earn up to eight hours every six months and part-time staff receive up to four hours every six months.

The Center for Community Action and Research (CCAR) at Dyson College provides community service and civic engagement opportunities, which are open to all Pace students, faculty, and staff. In addition to a year-round calendar of events both on- and off-campus, the CCAR can work with your department or division on a volunteering project.

Each year, Pace students, faculty, and staff contribute more than 87,000 hours of service to the NYC and global communities through volunteering, service-learning (Civic Engagement and Public Values courses), advocacy, activism, and non-profit internships.

Some of the CCAR’s most popular volunteer opportunities for faculty and staff in NYC include New York Common Pantry, Pajama Program, New York Cares, and Read Ahead.

In PLV, the Successful Learning Center (SLC) Lunch Buddies Program, Volunteer New York, Pleasantville Cottage School, Jacob Burns Film Center, and Rockefeller State Park Preserve have been frequented by many faculty and staff.

The CCAR has also compiled a list of holiday season volunteering recommendations, including opportunities for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service on January 18, 2016.

And if you don’t believe us, hear from a dozen faculty and staff members about why they volunteer and give back to their communities:

“Volunteering has an enormous impact on the health, well-being, and development of our local, national, and global communities, allowing for opportunities for others to grow, learn, feel valued, and thrive. Whether it’s spending time with a an elderly person in a nursing home, caring for dogs in a shelter, or digging a well in a developing country, volunteers have the power to make a real difference in the lives of others, many of whom we may never even meet.”
—Sue Maxam, EdD, Assistant Vice President for Undergraduate Education

“For our Westchester Administrative Staff Council Picnic in June, we collected just over 800 pounds of food. We worked with Hillside Food Outreach, an organization in Pleasantville that provides food to more than 2,000 local residents. Giving back helps to create a greater connection to Pace and the local community.”
—Jonah Safris, Pace Fulfillment Center, Chair of the Service Committee for the Westchester Administrative Staff Council  Learn more at monthly WASC meetings.

“I first got involved with Read Aloud after 9/11. When companies moved out of the area, there was a shortage of volunteers and someone came to Pace to encourage volunteers to fill the gap. I’ve been doing it consistently for 15 years—it’s a one-hour a week commitment and you can do it through your lunch hour at PS1 in Chinatown or the Spruce Street School across from One Pace Plaza. If you like reading, that’s all the preparation you need. The program is designed to encourage children to read for pleasure. I had a student who was not a good English speaker because her family spoke Chinese at home. I worked with her from first to fifth grade and she became really good at reading. It’s such a small commitment of your time and it really does have an impact.”
—Ellen Sowchek, University Archivist

“It’s important to volunteer so we can give back to our communities. I feel very strongly that my community has provided a home for my wife and I—both literally and figuratively—and the least I can do is return the favor. Doing what I do allows me to rest at night knowing I’ve done my part in making the world a better place; if we all give of ourselves in some small way—even an hour a week—to our local ambulance service, food bank, library, Boys and Girls Club, fire department, or any of the myriad organizations that need the help, we can make a difference.”
—Josh Buland, International Student Adviser, International Programs and Services, NYS-certified Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) with his local fire department Verplanck Fire Department

“If you’re looking for something that is a true joint effort, [Race for the Cure] is it. It shows that Pace is not only an academic institution, but it has a big heart collectively and gives back to the community…I’ve had students come up to me and thank me because their mothers or grandmothers are survivors and this gave them feelings of empowerment other than just sitting there and holding their hands. That’s a gift."
—Ellen Mandel, Professor, Media, Communications, and Visual Arts, Pace team leader for Race for the Cure

“Participating in PMADD [Pace Makes a Difference Day] is an awesome way to commit yourself to active service, but it is as equally important to share the significance of service with students while you are doing it. Campus-wide service activities help influence college students to become more aware of the community around them. As an active member in my own community, it is important that I share with students that their service does not end in college… but extends well beyond.”
—Robert-Thomas Jones, Associate Director for Greek Life and Leadership Initiatives

“My AOK 1 course was amazing. The way I would teach my course would be to volunteer as a class every week together. We would all go over to the PLV Cottage School or the Atria and stay there and split up into groups…I believe the AOK 1 courses were very special to teach because at the end, no matter what, all the students told me they got something out of it and it changed their lives for the better—especially with the Cottage School kids. They were able to appreciate the upbringing they had after seeing that the Cottage kids didn’t have a ‘normal’ one.”
—Elizabeth Tesoriero, Senior Academic Adviser, Dyson Advising Office

“In Residential Life and Housing in Westchester we have worked to infuse community service into all parts of our student and staff experience as much as possible. Each year we include a service project during RA training, professional staff training, and host at least two service projects. We work very closely with CCAR, New York Cares, the Children's Miracle Network, Relay for Life, and various organizations that RAs work with in the area on community projects in their buildings. These have included clothing drives, donation collections, and letter-writing campaigns to soldiers. We also have a department-wide committee, Civility and Advocacy, that is going to start coordinating these efforts so we can ensure they remain a priority for our department.”
—Vinnie Birkenmeyer, Assistant Director, Residential Life, PLV

“I volunteer with the Successful Learning Center (SLC). Why volunteer? I find that it reminds me to be grateful for what I have. It’s important to me to give back to the community at large—I feel that I am replenishing some of the energy I take. Also, these amazing adults teach me more about life than I teach them. We laugh a lot together.”
—Lesa Rader, Senior Academic Adviser, CAP Program, PLV

“I belong to my local Catholic church, St. Kevin’s in Flushing. They kept saying they needed people for the choir, and I said to myself, ‘BR, you’re musical. You should do it.’ I was concerned it would be a challenging time and energy commitment, but it has turned out to be wonderful. I did it to bless the church, but I am more blessed than I could ever imagine.”
—Barbara Rose Aglietti, Associate Dean, Communications and External Relations, Lubin School of Business

“I volunteer at the Charter School of Educational Excellence in downtown Yonkers, where I am on the Board of Trustees. It is a Pre-K–8th grade school and it is so rewarding to help out at the school so that children have a stable, secure, and educational environment. Any time I go to the school and see the kids I am reminded how important it is to give back, especially to children who are struggling in an urban environment. The students at CSEE receive a top-notch education thanks to the dedication of a great bunch of teachers.”
—James F. Stenerson, PhD, Executive Director, Center for Innovative Teaching and Professional Development

“I have been involved with Relay for Life since 2007, when I attended my first event in White Plains. When we started the Colleges Against Cancer group at Pace in 2009, I was more than happy to sign on as the faculty adviser. The Pace University Relay has raised over $300,000 in the past six years and has, on average, 60 teams and 525 individuals participate each year. I also captain a team of faculty and staff members for the Pace Relay that raises over $5,000 annually for this event. I am now also the event lead for the White Plains-Greenburgh Relay for Life, and captain a team there as well. Relay is important to me because 1 in 3 women and 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, and it affects far too many loved ones in my own life and far too many of our students. Anyone who wants to get involved in the Pace Relay for Life event can sign up at www.relayforlife.org/PaceUniversityNY.”
—Melissa Cardon, PhD, Professor of Management and Business Honors Program Director, PLV