Written by Julianne Bass
Willimantic, CT - The Center for Community Engagement at Eastern Connecticut State University held a Community Service Expo on April 14 to showcase the service programs and projects that students have been working on during the past academic year. Awards were given out in different categories, including demonstrating creative efforts in protecting and raising awareness for environmental issues; working with children to promote education; providing opportunities to help youth develop leadership skills and confidence; collaborating with the community to help with community issues; the innovative use of technology and marketing strategies; and the best new program.
Local celebrities from the Willimantic area served as judges for the expo, which was held in the Betty R. Tipton Room. They included Paul Doyle, executive director of the Covenant Soup Kitchen; Julie Suedmeyer, senior manager of the Windham Region United Way Community Investment; Jean DeSmet, former First Selectman for the Town of Windham; Leigh Duffy, executive director of the No Freeze Hospitality Center; Andrew May, co-chair of the conservation committee of the Connecticut chapter of the Appalachian Mountain Club; Bob Andrews, volunteer for the Connecticut Forest and Park Association; Ron Osgood, a faculty member at Indiana University; Christopher Brechlin, Eastern alumnus and manager of Cafemantic; Peter DeBiasi, president/CEO of The Access Community Action Agency; Rosie Hernandez, ASPIRA school coordinator; and Victoria Nimirowski, executive director of Windham Area Interfaith Ministry.
The judges presented the PHP student group with the Going Green award for its recycling initiative; James Harakaly, a senior from Ashford majoring in business, won the effective communication award; Nicole Mungo, a senior from Goshen, NY, majoring in business won the Leadership Development award; Brian Mills, a senior from Tolland majoring in business won the strengthening communities award; Todd Aviles, a freshman from Hartford majoring in political science, and Kyle Droniak, a sophomore from Newtown, CT, majoring in business, won the Broadening Horizons award for their service at Windham Middle School; and Avery Doninger, a junior from Burlington with an individualized major, won the best new program award for her involvement with the Homeless Point in Time program.