Community Service House: an upperclassmen Co-op

March 23, 2015

Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, NY have a Community Service House. It is an upperclassmen Co-op with 17-20 students and is located in an old fraternity house overlooking Seneca Lake. Students are selected based on applications which include their record of service activities, response to an essay question and a letter of recommendation by someone who can attest to their service.

Residents are required to complete 5 hours of service per week as well as plan and implement 1 house wide project per semester. Residents are also expected to be on the planning committee or serve as site leaders for our annual Day of Service. The house is used for service related meetings and gatherings, and residents are expected to act as “”hosts””. Over the past two years these have included a Templeton Fellow forum, dinners with community organization representatives, feedback sessions with organization reps, and various meetings for things such as Day of Service and blood drives. Residents take turns cooking and shopping and designate one meal a week as the “”family meal”” where everyone is expected to attend so issues can be brought up and discussed and news shared. (The amount of time and effort to run the co-op end of things can take away from the service work, but the kitchen/dining space is huge and it wouldn’t fly on the campus if that space was not a co-op. It is worth the trade-off because of the other aspects of the house.)

This past semester just some of the service students participated in included: Chairing Habitat for Humanity, founding a Make-A-Wish chapter, organizing the Colleges’ days at the local soup kitchen, participating in our 8th grade mentoring program, organizing our campus holiday project that sponsored gifts for 15 families, organizing and recruiting for the blood drive and organizing our Day of Service.

Hobart and William Smith Colleges - NY, New York
President: MARK GEARAN
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