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CCE barbecue promotes community programs, volunteerism

Published on September 25, 2023

CCE barbecue promotes community programs, volunteerism

CCE students on steps
Students learned about volunteer opportunities at the CCE barbeque and open house.

An open house sponsored by the Center for Community Engagement (CCE) at Eastern Connecticut State University on Sept. 18 promoted its mission to support the local community and encouraged students to volunteer.

The CCE engages with the local community through a variety of philanthropic programs. The CCE also aims to equip student volunteers with work ethics and life skills that they can draw on after graduation.

Attendees were greeted with a barbecue offering hamburgers, hotdogs, brownies and salads. They were also encouraged to sign up for CCE programs. Those who did were entered into a raffle to win assortments of candy.

Available on the tables were packets containing information on the broad range of CCE programs and the services they provide. Jayson Caballero, a second-year student volunteer, elaborated on the different types of programs and their missions.

Students were treated to hamburgers, hotdogs, brownies and salads at the barbeque.

The CCE open house attracted a new group of students interested in volunteering.

“We have lots of different programs,” said Caballero. “Our community programs, such as our After-School Program, go through the duration of the semester. We also have programs to help adults, most notably our Vulnerable Populations Program. As student leaders, it's our job to get volunteers to promote an inclusive space.”

The inclusivity extends not only to Eastern and its surrounding community but circulates among the employees as well. “I feel very supported, especially by our coordinator, Lexie (Mastroianni); she’s a great boss,” said Eduar Morales, a new volunteer. “I’m never left to feel alone when I’m working, I turn around and there’s always someone over my shoulder. I always feel like I can ask someone for help.”

According to Munneeb Butt, a senior student volunteer, the CCE staff worked diligently all summer to create posters and flyers, send emails and do promotion to get the word out on CCE services.

“We already have around 250 people interested in what we do here,” said Butt. “We’re all pretty involved as leaders, and we have a wide range of involvement. Our after-school programs are filling especially fast.”

Lana O’Connor, associate director of the CCE, spoke about employee morale and the impact of the involvement of college students in the various programs.

"A lot of people don’t know we’re here, but today was awesome,” said O’Connor. “As for our programs, the seniors in Windham senior housing love the college kids. They often have no one to talk to, so the volunteers do a good job just listening. We’re also doing a Big Brother/Big Sister Program at Windham High, during their student study halls, and they love talking to the college kids.”

Written by Elisabeth Craig