Community service

Off-campus community service program returns with all staff

After three years of limited operations, Ithaca College’s paid off-campus community The Service Program (OCCSP), which provides paid community service opportunities to students pursuing federal work studies, is back for fall 2022 with a full staff.

For the program, the college partners with organizations and nonprofits in the Ithaca area to find internships for students. Since October 2022, 12 local organizationsincluding Foodnet Meals on Wheels, Quarter Acre for the People and Durland Alternatives Libraryy, have partnered with the college for the program and the list is likely to grow, according to OCCSP. According to the program websitepotential employees can apply through the IC Student Recruitment Cloud and must work at least nine hours a week.

Jackson Short ’21, a business process and systems analyst in the Office of Human Resources and Planning, oversees OCCSP and said it’s used by students to earn money that can be used for their financial aid and education. other expenses, and as a way for them to engage with the local community and experience a professional working environment.

“I think…these jobs tend to be really good experiential learning opportunities,” Short said. “I think there is also a real benefit to leaving campus and being able to see the community that exists outside of [the college] and engage with that.

Short said 7% of the funding the college receives for federal work study is set aside for the program. Short said most jobs tend to pay students at least $13.35 an hour to start in the form of a paycheck every two weeks.

Short said that although the number of students participating has decreased during COVID-19, typically 20 to 25 students participate in the program each year. In the 2022-23 academic year, the program aims to recruit about 20 students, but Short said the recruiting process is still ongoing.

For the academic year 2022-23, Durland’s Library of Alternatives in Ithaca has hired two students for its Prisoner Express program, a distance learning program for inmates that aims to provide them with a public platform to express themselves creatively. The program, which is one of many library initiatives, sends inmates kits of books and feedback on their writing.

Gary Fine, director of the Durland Alternatives Library, said the students work with both the Prisoner Express program and the library in general cataloging books, developing the collection and other activities., such as reading letters from inmates and responding to them.

“My perspective on [the college] was usually created by students who want to work for me,” Fine said. “The majority of [student employees] reflect IC in these positive ways that create incredible programs for prisoners… and I’ve been doing this for 20 years. I have a large student base to refer to when I say this.

Senior Adison Nadler was hired in late September 2022 to collaborate with other student employees at the college and Cornell University to create a social media presence for the Durland Alternatives Library. Nadler said she found the program a unique way to engage with the larger community.

“I really think it helps me learn to acclimate to a new work environment without having it facilitated by a teacher,” Nadler said. “And I work with people that I don’t necessarily go to school with or take lessons with. So he just entered a group of my peers in age but not necessarily in skills or interests. I feel that I will be able to learn a lot from them.

Meals on Wheels Foodnet, a partner organization of the program, provides and delivers meals to seniors in Tompkins County. They are currently seeking a Social Media and Community Engagement Facilitator through OCCSP.

Aly Evans, executive director of Foodnet Meals on Wheels, said working through the program could be beneficial for students as it gives them the opportunity to learn skills that will benefit the future, contributing to the community. of which they are part.

“Being able to gain those experiences and have a long-term impact for a nonprofit like ours does a really good job of serving the community in need,” Evans said. “And it’s a resume builder. This will help define where you want to go in your life.

Quarter acre for the peopleanother partner agency, is a program of the Khuba International non-profit band who is looking for a social media and e-blast coordinator, as well as a photographer and filmmaker. The organization aims to provide support to farmers of color through the development of agricultural cooperatives and access to other agricultural activities., like food production and farm.

Christa Núñez, Executive Director of Khuba International and owner of The Learning Farm, said she is delighted to collaborate with young people and believes that students can grow by participating in the program.

“We are actively collaborating with students at Cornell University and departments like the Masters in Public Health program [at Cornell University]”, Núñez said. “Students could potentially expand their networks on other campuses and create connections between Cornell students and [Ithaca College].”