Service project connects incoming students to community
Jessica Ganay had a memorable time at Binghamton Zoo at Ross Park last week, but it wasn’t only because of the river otters, ring-tailed lemurs and other assorted creatures. This budding veterinarian got to help paint a new zebra mural on site for all future visitors to enjoy.
“People would walk by me while I was painting and say ‘Thank you. You’re making the zoo look prettier,’” said Ganay, a freshman from Rockland County, N.Y. “It just made me feel good about myself because I was helping out the community.”
Ganay was one of 60 Binghamton University students who took part in in the Welcome Week Service Project, a pilot program sponsored by the Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs that gave incoming students the opportunity to engage in service-learning projects around the community before the start of the academic year.
The Welcome Week Service Project evolved from discussions made during development of the University’s Road Map. The purpose of the project is two-fold, program organizer Marty Wygmans said.
“The first purpose is to help them identify and become comfortable with a peer group early on,” Wygmans said. “The second is to help those same students learn about the Binghamton community, to take them out to these service sites and have them build a connection to the community. It’s all about connection-building and giving back to the community that Binghamton University is so proud to be a part of.”