Sage Engaged: Local college students giving back to community

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TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Students at Russell Sage College took part in a large public service project on Wednesday. “Sage Engaged” is an annual event, but this year they had to get a little creative in order to make sure they could serve the same purpose while keeping people safe.

“It’s really important for our students to get involved in the community that they live in. They’re essentially here for four years, or they’re going to be here even after they graduate as well. So, they get to know what the needs are of the community,” said Carleen Pallante, Director of Career Planning for Russell Sage College.

The school-wide campaign promotes local philanthropy and helps out a number of local non-profits, including Joseph’s House, which is a local emergency shelter in Troy, and the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York.

“We have been working with certain community partners for the past four years or so and this year we reached out again and said how can we help you? What is your biggest need?” said Pallante.

Students on both the Albany and Troy campuses were collecting food and personal-care items, making face mask “ear savers” for healthcare workers and canvassing the college for voter registration. They also made a number of Halloween decorations for the residents at Joseph’s House. 

Catherine Lee is a freshman nursing student from Ohio and also serves as an ambassador for the Woman’s Institute. She said depending on the weather they were going to try to write inspiration quotes around campus in chalk.

“This whole ‘Sage Engaged’ thing has been very well thought out and very well planned,” said Lee.

She said she’s happy the college was able to find a way to make sure the event still happened this year.

“I felt like it would really inspire some of us especially some of us who are feeling really down and lonely because I know a lot of the the freshmen have been feeling that way unfortunately because we haven’t been able to get out and do a lot of the stuff that Sage usually offers,” said Lee.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, they also had to re-imagine some of their projects and go virtual. Students were encouraged to use the power of social media to help raise money and awareness for their favorite local organizations.

“This year with social media, we’re really expanding our reach so if there are places that students volunteer at that we haven’t had people volunteer at before they can really highlight that and educate others on how to do that,” said Pallante.

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