Eight students of SUNY Old Westbury recently took part in a meeting with New York State Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado to provide information and insight to inform the state’s work in creating a new Office of Service and Engagement.
The creation of the Office of Service and Civic Engagement within the Office of the lieutenant governor was recently announced by Gov. Kathy Hochul in her “2024 State of the State” as a means of uplifting communities statewide through accessible public service opportunities.
“Elevating the important work of service will bring New Yorkers together around the greater good and anchor us in our shared capacity to love and have compassion for one another,” said Delgado. “I am honored to lead this effort, and I’m inspired by what I know New Yorkers can and will do in the name of service to each other.”
Delgado visited Old Westbury to learn more about service engagements both on campus and off-campus that students are already engaged, to hear about their experiences and motivations, and to uncover potential challenges that would serve as obstacles to engaging students in service.
“Our students did a wonderful job of describing for the lieutenant governor key ideas that I’m sure he will use to inform his decisions,” said SUNY Old Westbury President Timothy E. Sams. “From the busy academic and work schedules of today’s students to the likely need for incentives to the linkage to existing opportunities on campuses across the state, their input provided a valuable lens from which new solutions can come.”
The Old Westbury students participating in the meeting were Markwan Angulo (Accounting), Melissa Gordillo-Gomez (Mental Health Counseling), Cindy Guzman (Criminology), Kevin Hertell (Professional Studies), Crystal “Amira” Richardson (Philosophy/Politics, Economics and Law), Nevethalie Saintune (Politics, Economics and Law), Jaiden Sam (Politics, Economics and Law/English) and Isabel Torres (Psychology).
To launch the lieutenant governor’s service initiative, New York will recruit an inaugural class of the Empire State Service Corps Program in partnership with the State University of New York.
Modeled after the California College Corps, the Empire State Service Program will provide paid work opportunities to college students as a way of serving their community.
Participating college students will commit to performing necessary community service work for 300 hours a year, such as tutoring in high-need K-12 schools, distributing meals to those facing food insecurity, and taking climate action.
With a historic mission that includes weaving the values of integrity, community engagement, and global citizenship into the fabric of its academic programs and campus life, SUNY Old Westbury is a campus committed to offering in-class and real-world engagements that stimulate a passion for learning in students and a commitment to building a more just and sustainable world.