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Eastern Community Service Award Winners

Written by Allison Kelly

Willimantic, Conn. -An Eastern Connecticut State University student, staff member, student club and Willimantic community partner were named the recipients of Eastern's first annual Community Service Awards. Recipients were honored in an awards ceremony held on April 22 in the University's  Child and Family Development Center.


Eastern's Community Service Award Winners and their Supporters.JPG  Eastern's Community Service Award Winners and their Supporters


This year's awards ceremony took place during National Volunteer Week. The week's theme --"Celebrating People in Action"-- presents the opportunity for individuals, families, nonprofit organizations and government entities to be recognized for accomplishing extraordinary things through service.

The Community Catalyst Student Award was presented to social work major Amy Gorman '11 of Cromwell. Gorman was honored for her active participation in Eastern's service oriented student club, People Helping People. She also mentors teens at the Windham Teen Pregnancy Prevention Center; volunteers weekly at the No Freeze Hospitality Center; and served on the planning committee for Eastern's Day of Giving and Town Pride/Town Wide community service initiative. 

The Catalyst award in the faculty/staff category was presented to Nutmeg Hall Director Mark Connolly of Boston who was honored for engaging his hall residents in numerous community service projects and fundraisers. Connolly continues to encourage his resident assistants to lead service activities by promoting their endeavors, including a camera drive and a sock collection drive.

The Eastern Outdoors Club won the Community Event Award for organizing the Earth Day Trail Run.

George Hernandez, a small business specialist at the Spanish American Merchant Association (SAMA), won the Community Partner Award. Hernandez teaches business startup classes to local entrepreneurs and is involved at Eastern. Recently, he spoke to a multicultural anthropology class and set up a salsa dance party after the Spanish Harlem Orchestra's performance.

All four recipients embody the characteristics of initiative, altruism, service/volunteerism and community spirit.

Eastern student Monica Rochon, faculty member Irene Cretella and the Eastern Rugby Team were also recognized for their commitment to community service. Rochon helped organize the "Capture It Camera Drive," a movement to collect old cameras from students and use them to educate Windham High School students. Cretella was honored for her work in Eastern's numerous blood drives, and the Eastern Rugby team was recognized for volunteering annually at Willimantic's Covenant Soup Kitchen.



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