The Intergenerational Urban Institute and John J. Binienda Center for Civic Engagement hosted the annual Celebration of Civic Engagement on Wednesday, April 19 to honor the accomplishments of members of the Worcester State University community.
For more than 20 years, Intergenerational Urban Institute has provided community service opportunities for students of all ages to tackle the challenges and opportunities that arise in the city of Worcester.
“The Intergenerational Urban Institute was conceived as a marriage of two important groups: students and community,” said Assistant Professor of Urban Studies and Director of IUI Adam Saltsman, Ph.D., during the opening remarks. “We can’t have one without the other.”
Anh Vu Sawyer, executive director of the Southeast Asian Coalition of Central Massachusetts, gave the keynote address. SEAC has worked with WSU on a variety of community service projects.
Sawyer, a refugee of the Vietnam War, is a speaker and writer whose memoir, “Song of Saigon,” was published by Warner Books in February 2003. She has worked with refugees, immigrants, and at-risk teens; offered a home-away-from home to international students; and continues to host international fellowship gatherings in her home.
“I think Worcester has a good advantage for both students and grassroots human service organizations because with the help of the students and despite our small budget, we were able to help these people to rebuild their lives and strengthen our community,” she said. “And the students in turn are able to learn about and interact with all of these different cultures.”
Sawyer also was the recipient of the 2017 Community Engagement Award, presented by the Binienda Center, for her work with the SEAC.he Binienda Center also presented student engagement awards to Madison Thomas and Lindsey Allor for their work with Woo Serve; the 2017 Faculty/Staff Community Engagement Award to Director of Residence Life and Housing Adrian Gage; the Binienda Center Award in Communications Sciences and Disorders to senior Sarah Keith; and the Binienda Center Public Service Award to junior Monica Bhakhri.
Also honored during the ceremony were the 29 Who Shine honoree, the WSU Enactus Club, and a variety of student who completed class projects that have benefitted the college, city, and international communities.
The Master of Science in Nursing Awards and the IUI Deignan Intergenerational Service Award also were presented.
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