O'Connor center celebrates 25 years at SUNY Delhi

Feb. 1—The O'Connor Center for Community Engagement at SUNY Delhi is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

According to a media release from the college, campus community members gathered recently at a kickoff party.

OCCE was founded in 1999 "on a shoestring budget," according to Barbara Jones, vice president for student life emeritus. "It's hard to believe it was 25 years ago. I always felt that the O'Connor Center was the heart of the College and the Student Life division. It's an amazing program that brings people together."

"Commitment to service is a very special part of our campus culture," said John Padovani, interim vice president of student life. "Every year, our students and volunteers put in many hours of community service, forming a wonderful connection between our campus and the local community."

Former OCCE director Abigail Brannen-Wilson, currently the director of the Center for Faculty Excellence and Innovation at the college, said "The O'Connor Center has become more than a center for community service — it is a place for belonging for our students, a place to build connections and make a difference. I'm so proud of the philanthropic spirit of our campus and how it tells our story to the community."

According to Ann-Lis Glenn, coordinator of OCCE, anniversary celebrations will continue all semester long, including recognitions of SUNY Delhi's community partners and the A. Lindsay and Olive B. O'Connor Foundation Inc. which supports the O'Connor Center through an annual grant.

Students may participate in activities with monthly themes. Upcoming themes include kindness in February, philanthropy in March, serving communities in April, and service-learning in May. SUNY Delhi's annual community service day will be held Saturday, April 27.

The O'Connor Center "serves as a clearinghouse for community service opportunities, developing partnerships, training, and programs that connect campus and community members, foster collaborative learning, meet local and student needs, and prepare students to become socially responsible citizens in a diverse world," the release said. It manages the campus food pantry and career closet and recognizes civic-minded students with annual awards. The center is recognized with the Carnegie Elective Community Engagement Classification.

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