By Eric Malanoski (Townsquare Media News)

The O'Connor Foundation has awarded SUNY Delhi a $30,000 matching grant to support the college's O'Connor Center for Community Engagement for 2017. The new grant from the O'Connor Foundation will allow the Center to continue its mission of helping prepare students to be socially responsible citizens who can become leaders and decision makers in their chosen fields.

"With this funding, Delhi students, faculty and staff will continue to beautify the community while making stronger, safer, and cleaner," said Elizabeth Sova, O'Connor Center Director. "Students learn so much from joining local volunteer efforts to make the Catskills a great place to live and we hope it's the start of a life-long commitment to community service." In the coming year, Sova says she welcomes new community partnerships and looks forward to strengthening existing ones. Current partners include The Arc of Delaware County, the local food pantry at the United Ministry Church, and Delaware Opportunities Safe Against Violence.

According to Sova, Delhi students completed over 20,000 hours of community service through volunteer efforts and service-learning projects last year, and contributed over $10,000 to various non-profit organizations.

Upcoming events where students, faculty and staff volunteers will contribute their time this fall include the annual Community Service Day, October 1; the Suicide Prevention Walk, October 2; Red Cross blood drives, September 9 and November 10; and the United Ministry Crop Walk, October 16.

The O'Connor Center for Community Engagement was established on the Delhi campus 18 years ago, thanks to lead support from the A. Lindsay and Olive B. O'Connor Foundation of Hobart. The Center serves as a clearinghouse for community organizations, and facilitates service-learning and volunteerism. It arranges for volunteers transportation, orientation, training, and feedback on completed community service projects. The value of volunteerism is promoted through the campus co-curricular transcript and annual commencement awards for individuals and clubs. The Center promotes civic engagement and public service on campus by developing service-learning partnerships between faculty members and community organizations.

Thanks to the O'Connor Center for Community Engagement, SUNY Delhi has earned the distinction as one of only 361 colleges and universities in the United States to receive the Community Engagement Classification, including 14 from New York State. The Center has earned recognition with the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. It has received this national honor every year since its inception in 2006.

Organizations that would like to connect with students, faculty and staff for volunteer assistance, please contact the O'Connor Center for Community Engagement at (607) 746-4781.