Union is alumni, students and Schenectady

Publication Date
A graphic that reads "a community true to our name"

Union is part of Schenectady and Schenectady is part of Union. Each one impacts and benefits the other.

Take Theta Delta Chi fraternity and City Mission of Schenectady, a nonprofit dedicated to meeting the needs of the poor. In spring 2023, Sean Laragy ’24 and David Leon ’24 received the mission’s Partners Award for their outstanding service to the organization.

Students participating in pre-orientation 2023 work at the City Mission greenhouse, which is located at the home of David Leon '24.

Students participating in pre-orientation 2023 work at the City Mission greenhouse, which is located at the home of David Leon '24.

As philanthropy chairs for the fraternity, Laragy and Leon have led their chapter’s efforts in two main areas: food delivery and community meals. They regularly drive donated food from Hannaford grocery store to City Mission and, together with other students, serve as waiters during community dinners at the mission.

“It was nice to receive the award as an affirmation of our efforts, but it is not the purpose of why we give our time,” said Laragy. “The purpose is to help those less fortunate than us and to help bridge the gap between the local community and Union College.”

City Mission CEO and Executive Director Mike Saccocio ’84 agrees.

“Student engagement plays an important role in building community – both on campus and in the city,” he said. “Serving others is a pathway to building relationships, and relationships are a key component of building trust. When trust is present in a community, people can work together and achieve innovative solutions. Union students are earning that trust.”

The relationship between Theta Delta Chi and City Mission is also emblematic of something else – the unique importance of student-alumni bonds.

“I never really had a sense of belonging with alumni before joining Theta Delta Chi, where I have been able to work with Mike Saccocio and Mark Webster ’88,” said Laragy. “Both have served as invaluable mentors to me. I will continue to look to them beyond my time at Union.”

“It was awesome to have someone to connect with who has been in your shoes and was part of the same fraternity at Union,” Leon said of Saccocio. “Alumni often give students more diverse opportunities for learning and engagement at their organizations because of the shared Union bond. Without the alumni connection and Mike, we might have pursued other options, but with that connection, there was no doubt City Mission was the organization for us.”

Webster is thrilled to know he and Saccocio have made an impact. Webster greatly values his ability to help students in any way he can.

“Of the many roles I have played as an alumnus, being a mentor to the men of Theta Delta Chi is the most important to me,” he said. “I am so grateful and thankful that my fraternity has given me countless opportunities to be woven into students’ lives at Union.”

“The College talks often to students about the strength of our ‘alumni network,’ ‘alumni connection’ and ‘alumni support,’” Webster continued. “I feel a strong obligation to be the kind of alumnus who networks, connects and supports. In this way, everyone – students, the College and alumni – thrive together as one whole community.”


Homepage | Special features