FMCC volunteers giving back on Founders Day

JOHNSTOWN – Volunteers from Fulton-Montgomery Community College will board buses Friday on a mission to make a difference. They’ll be dropped off at local sites to help with projects.

The volunteer effort is part of the college’s annual Founders Day.

In previous years on Founders Day, FMCC staff participated in professional development workshops. This year, the staff had another idea.

“This year, the [Founders Day] committee approached me in the early fall and said they would really like to do something different, something that gives back to the community,” FMCC President Dustin Swanger said. “They wanted to volunteer and do some major projects that can make a difference in the community.”

After a Friday morning agenda that will include campus meetings and employee recognition awards, staff members will get on buses at 11:30 a.m. and be dropped off at their chosen place of community service.

Some of the places the volunteers will be include: the Brennan Humane Society in Gloversville to paint dog runs; the Inman Senior Center in Amsterdam to paint, wash windows and read to seniors; Lexington Center in Gloversville to decorate for Friday night’s Rock for Abilities Concert; the Montgomery County SPCA for dog walking and general cleanup; Myers Park in Gloversville to prepare the park for the Annual Easter Egg Hunt on March 30; Park Terrace Elementary School in Gloversville to do FM Bound science projects with kindergartners; and Sassafras Park bird sanctuary in Amsterdam for a cleanup project.

Swanger said all of the volunteers will wear a Founders Day T-shirt while volunteering around the area.

“In our strategic plan, one of our goals was to improve or maximize our community college relations,” Swanger said. “This institution is an integral part of our community. It is not just some place for people to come in and take classes, but we are very involved in a lot of aspects of our community.”

Swanger said there are 150 full-time faculty and staff members at the college. He expects around 100 of them to be participating on Friday.

“The idea was to come up with a way to increase our bridge to the community,” said Jason Rauch, a member of the Founders Day Committee and director of human resources at the college. “This was something that the entire campus could participate in. With the workshops, it is very difficult to find something that is applicable to all the groups on campus.”

Some of the awards that will be announced and handed out Friday include an Excellence Award for teaching or other work staff may do on campus, an Innovation Award for staff members who are developing new ways to teach students, the Futures Matter Award and the Presidents Award.

Rauch said Founders Day is a celebration of the day the college was founded and typically is a day for development.

“The college comes together as a community, which is very rare because with classes and schedules, it is very hard to get everyone together at one time,” Rauch said. “It is also a chance for staff to recognize their peers.”

The college will be closed to students Friday because of Founders Day.

Levi Pascher can be reached by email at gloversville@leaderherald.