On Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011 Keene State College hosted the Community Engagement Fair in the Student Center. The fair had various groups from the Keene area available for students, faculty, and staff to learn more about community partners according to the KSC website. Some of the groups that partook in the fair included America Reads, Joy’s Network, Relay for Life, and First Book; these are only a few of the forty-one groups that had tables.
Becca Hickam, one of the organizers of the fair who works with the Community Service Office on campus said, “Our main goal of this fair was to breakdown the boundaries between Keene State College and the community, as well as to get students and faculty involved in several projects.” Other services that the fair provided were potential student internships, and service learning experiences.
Residents represented some groups at the fair from the city of Keene and Keene State students represented others. Relay for Life was one college group and has junior Becca Lazinsk as one of its student representatives.
Relay for Life is an overnight fundraiser for the American Cancer Society to honor the survivors, and last year it raised over $24,000.
Lazinsk said, “It’s a great way to get our name out to students and to help volunteer.” Relay for Life’s means of advertising for the event included posters throughout campus and working with other clubs to join the cause and participate.
Lazinsk was also there representing First Book, which provides books to children in low-income families around the Keene area. Its fundraising methods include grants and book drives.
In addition to Relay for Life and First Book, KSC Reads is another student group that attended the fair. KSC reads is affiliated with America Reads, whose initiative it is to employ 30 student tutors to help children with reading and math skills development. KSC students Kaylee Rowland and Kaitlyn Carter are two of the thirty students who participate in this group through work-study.
Another group that attended the fair was Joy’s Network located in Keene and Marlborough, NH, which provides resources and support for cancer patients who have been recently diagnosed, those receiving treatment, recovering from treatment, and survivors. The organization also helps the family members and friends of people diagnosed with cancer.
Founder Kimberley Diemond created this group in order to honor her mother, Joy Diemond Herrick. “My mother taught me in her darkest hour what it means to truly live,” Diemond said.
This Engagement Fair gave students the opportunity to become more involved with their community and to enrich the lives of other students and those around them.
Jason Abisch can be contacted at email@example.com