Batavia, NY- Valerie Hoffman knows one surefire way to get students to come to her Student
Activities meetings: offer free food! Once she has them Hoffman, who’s a campus center associate at GCC’s Warsaw Campus Center, has found engaging ways to get them involved. Her efforts prompted the students to come up with a way they could give back during this holiday season, and the response was “overwhelming.”
“During one of our meetings, the students told me they wanted to have a food drive for the local food pantry,” Hoffman recalls. She strongly encouraged their efforts, helping Student Activities coordinate a competition between four classes, with the winner earning a post-final pizza party from Student Activities. “The classes generated their own ‘hype’ and promoted amongst themselves in order to win the pizza party,” Hoffman said. The collection competition ran from December 1-5, 2014. Even Hoffman was surprised by the results.
“Our students brought in over 1,200 nonperishable items for the Warsaw Food Pantry!” she exclaimed. “It took two trips, one with a van and one with an SUV to take all the items to the shelter. The food pantry was very appreciative of our efforts and all of the donations.”
While the drive was led by and fueled by students, Hoffman’s work behind the scenes makes it all possible. “Val has been excellent in working with the student activity group in Warsaw,” said Patty Chaya, associate dean of the Warsaw Campus Center.
“Listening and following up on their ideas has helped to create a cohort of students who want to and continue to participate,” said Hoffman. Activities are already planned for spring semester, which begins January 12, 2015. There will be opportunities to win GCC apparel and ways to show kindness during Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) week in February. “The students plan to brush snow off cars, especially those located in the handicapped spots,” she said. They also plan to offer kind greetings as people enter the building. “Their enthusiasm seems to be growing as the semester continues, which is great and makes my job exciting,” Hoffman said.
This year the Warsaw Campus Center turned a classroom into a lounge based on students’ feedback. Hoffman says it’s been a positive change and the room is getting a lot of use. “Hopefully this space will help to grow the participation in the Student Activities group,” she said. Hoffman’s enthusiasm is leading the way.
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A photograph of Warsaw students with some of the items collected for the Warsaw Food Pantry is available here:
Caption: Instructor Valerie Putney’s Reading 101 students brought in just over half of the donations for the Warsaw Food Pantry. Putney offered extra credit to participating students.