BUFFALO, N.Y. - Student-athletes at Buffalo State are finding that a little hard work can go a long way in making a difference in their local community.
Last Saturday, Buffalo State student-athletes joined their classmates and faculty in the school's annual Bengals Dare to Care Day. The initiative, which evolved out of another similar campus community service event four years ago under Buffalo State President Katherine Conway-Turner, brings campus members together to assist in service projects like neighborhood beautification, garden planting and maintenance, and painting around the Buffalo area.
Jeff Ventura, the associate director of athletics for Buffalo State, said hundreds of students participated. "More than 800 students participated, with more than 150 of those being student-athletes," Ventura shared. "A huge part of Buffalo State's mission is to be an urban-engaged institution. As the only comprehensive SUNY college in an urban setting, our relationship with the community is extremely important."
Ventura explained that the goal is to specifically have that relationship work both ways. "It is part of the education process to involve our students and student-athletes in various projects to give back to the community," Ventura said. "We also seek to foster a connection between the external community and our campus."
In addition to making a postive change in Buffalo, participants in Bengals Dare to Care Day learn some valuable life lessons along the way. "Civic engagement is an extremely important part of the educational process, and the experience of being a student and student-athlete at Buffalo State," Ventura explained. "Like the lessons learned through athletics, lessons learned through service are often as important as those lessons taught in the classroom."
An initiative that's building up the Buffalo community, while building up students' character along the way.
According to Conway-Turner, in addition to Bengals Dare to Care Day, Buffalo State provides more than 500,000 hours of community service to organizations that address the needs of indivduals and families each year.