The Civic and Community Engagement Center (CCEC) held its third annual Civic Engagement Reception, a two-hour banquet that honors the students, service organizations and community partners, as well as professors and staff that make community service and learning possible each year.
The reception this year featured hors d’oeuvres and refreshments in a cocktail room, along with tri-folds of the 2014 Alternative Break destinations. PowerPoint presentations featuring pictures of the Alternative Break programs were also projected along the walls of the Alumni Lounges.
Invitees spent the first hour chatting, eating, catching up and connecting with new community partners. The second half of the banquet was an awards ceremony, during which CCEC thanked and recognized students, colleagues and community partners alike for their efforts in community service and advocacy. Some of the community service partners in attendance included Pascack Valley Meals on Wheels, NY/NJ Trail Conference and Volunteer Center of Bergen County.
Winners during this year’s awards ceremony included students Brianne Kennedy ’15 and Elle Alfaro ’15, who planned and coordinated this year’s first trip to New Mexico, for Outstanding Alternative Break Trip Leaders. Hannah Ryan, recent Ramapo College alum and coordinator in the Center for Student Involvement, won for Outstanding Alternative Break Colleague for her exceptional planning and logistical management.
Some other winners included community partners, the Mahwah Environmental Volunteer Organization (MEVO), a local experiential environmental program, and World Cares Organization, a disaster recovery organization. Senior Danny Restrepo won the award for Spirit of Service award as a student along with Associate Director of Student Involvement, Eddie Seavers, as a colleague.
Ramapo College alum and former CCEC student coordinator, Lauren Macdonald, who now works as a GED Language Arts Teacher and Teen Girl Program Coordinator at Oasis: A Haven for Women and Children in Paterson, N.J., thought that the reception gave insight into how students are learning and improving the community together.
“Oasis looks forward to Ramapo volunteering every week; they have become a part of our Oasis family and the work that they do is always greatly appreciated and done with love and care,” Macdonald said about her experience with Ramapo volunteers.
Junior Theresa Marciano said that she got involved with the CCEC by volunteering on a Sandy recovery trip in the fall and with Oasis and House on the Hill in the spring.
“I love volunteering with the CCEC because the staff always seem dedicated and well-informed,” said Marciano.
Junior Alyssa Gubitosi went on the alternative break trip to Costa Rica this year and said that she didn’t know much about the CCEC until the reception.
“I didn’t realize how involved Ramapo, as a whole, was with volunteer work and with local organizations. It was inspiring to see how many people in the Ramapo community devote their time to these causes,” said Gubitosi.
Junior Annie Arjarasumpsun, who went on the Costa Rica alternative break trip, summed up the experience that many volunteers and Alternative Break participants expressed at the reception.
“It was an unforgettable experience,” Arjarasumpsun said.