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First-year students to get an early look at Schenectady



First-year students participating in last year's Community Experience pre-orientation helped spruce up the grounds of the MiSci museum.
First-year students participating in last year's Community Experience pre-orientation helped spruce up the grounds of the MiSci museum.

Dozens of first-year students will be introduced to the city of Schenectady as part of the fifth annual Community Experience pre-orientation program.

Beginning Thursday, Sept. 5, 50 members of the Class of 2017 will spend three days working with organizations such as the City Mission, Bethesda House and Girls Inc. on various projects, including painting, moving furniture and yard work. Students will also participate in leisure activities with residents of Glendale Home and Baptist Health Nursing Home.

On Friday, leaders of the Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corporation will give students a tour of the city.

"The idea is to introduce our new students to the community and to encourage their interest in community service," said Janet Sweeney, assistant director of the Kenney Center, which coordinated the program.

Each student is assigned to four sites from among 21 across the city and surrounding region.

The entire group will work with Habitat for Humanity of Schenectady County on Saturday to paint fire hydrants, remove graffiti and perform general cleanup in a neighborhood near campus. The program ends with a barbeque at the Kelly Adirondack Center.

Group leaders include 11 students who are alumni of the program: Kaila Amirault '15, Lauren Crupnick '16, MaryKate Farber '15, Anna Gagnon '14, Jimmy Hicks '15, Fatima Hosain '15, Dan Hurwitt '15, Jessica Malinconico '16, Samantha Moyer '14, Jarryd O'Connell '14 and Jacob Persily '16.

The full list of sites is:

Baptist Health Nursing Home
Bethesda House
City Mission
Cornell Cooperative Extension
Damien Center
Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corporation
Easy Street Horse Rescue
Emmanuel Friedens Church
Girls Inc.
Glendale Home
Habitat for Humanity
Hamilton Hills Arts Center
Home Furnishings
MiSci
Octopus's Garden
Roots and Wisdom
Sojourn House, Schenectady Community Action Program
Schenectady ARC
Schenectady Public Library
South Avenue Park
Things of My Very Own, Inc.

Union's commitment to community service has helped the College land a spot on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for exemplary service to the local community.

Four times in the past five years the College has earned this honor, the highest federal recognition a school can achieve for its commitment to service learning and civic engagement. Honorees are chosen based on a series of factors, including scope and innovation of service projects, percentage of student participation, incentives for service and the extent to which the school offers academic service-learning courses.

More than a hundred other first-year students are spending two nights at Silver Bay in the Adirondacks as part of the Outdoor Experience of pre-orientation.