|October 13, 2009|
Union recognized as "good neighbor" for positive contributions to Schenectady
Union has been recognized as a “good neighbor” for its positive contributions to the city of Schenectady, according to a national survey released this week.
“Saviors of Our Cities: 2009 Survey of College and University Civic Partnerships,” ranked colleges and universities in terms of their economic, social and cultural contributions to the communities surrounding their campuses.
Union was among 100 schools named to the survey’s honor roll. Schools were selected based on 10 criteria, including the institution’s longstanding involvement with its urban community; the real dollars invested through its foundations and annual budgets; the presence felt from payroll, research and purchasing power; and faculty and student involvement in community service.
Schenectady Mayor Brian Stratton and College President Stephen Ainlay celebrate the renovated baseball field in Central Park by throwing out the first balls at a ceremony in spring 2009. The renovation was a partnership between the city and the College.
The survey is a follow-up to a list compiled in 2006 by Evan Dobelle, president of Westfield State College in Massachusetts and former president of Trinity College in Hartford. Union was also cited in that list.
In the past year, the College has engaged in a number of partnerships with the city of Schenectady, including renovating a baseball field in Central Park and installing 10 public surveillance cameras to help deter crime in the surrounding neighborhood.
The public continues to take advantage of a number of cultural opportunities at the College, including exhibits in the Nott Memorial, plays at the Yulman Theater and the chamber concert series in Memorial Chapel.
An independent report by the Capital District Regional Planning Commission concluded that the College’s positive economic impact on Schenectady County alone exceeds $273 million annually.
Earlier this year, Union was named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction for exemplary service to the local community, the highest federal recognition for a school’s commitment to service learning and civic engagement.
Last year, 762 Union students gave more than 7,700 hours of service to a range of projects. Volunteers at the Kenney Community Center tutored and read to local children, served as Big Brothers and Big Sisters and participated in the state Volunteer Income Tax Assistant Program (VITA). Since its launch in 2005, the VITA program at Union has secured some $1.4 million in cumulative tax refunds for local residents.