Profiles in Civic Engagement: Michael Genito

Year: Sophomore/Junior (graduating a year early, May 2013)
Major: Double major in Political Science and History
  • Volunteer for Harpur's Ferry Student Ambulance Service
  • Started Small Claims Court Action Center
  • Intern at the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) 
  • Volunteer for Flood and Disaster Relief Efforts
How did you first get involved in community service at Binghamton University?
I got involved in community service at BU when I first came here in the spring of my freshman year. I immediately joined the Harpur's Ferry Student Volunteer Ambulance Service, volunteering with other EMT's and responding to medical emergencies. I had actually joined EMS back at home in high school, so Harpur's Ferry has allowed me to continue to flourish in the field of Emergency Medical Services. 

What kinds of volunteer experiences have you had here, and what organizations have you worked with?
This past spring, I started a Small Claims Court Action Center through my internship at the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG). Not only did this allow me to develop leadership skills, but it was also a tremendous asset for the student body and the community. Students could be trained as legal counselors to help those in need of small claims legal assistance. Furthermore, it allowed for more community interaction, as both students and community members called the center for help. I look forward to continuing this call center and providing an outlet for those who need help navigating the small claims court process. 
I also volunteered over 42 (official) hours during the flood relief efforts which opened my eyes to the value of community service. A small action such as bringing someone a glass of water or simply listening to ones story (which may not seem like a big deal at the time) can make a world of difference for someone going through a devastating tragedy. It is important to note that none of this would have ever been possible without the hard work and teamwork of everyone involved in the Events Center disaster relief, from Harpur's Ferry to FEMA and more. Working seamlessly with a common goal in mind made the work much easier.

Describe any experiences you've had working with the CCE.
Working with the CCE, I have utilized the newsletter to advertise NYPIRG's Small Claims Court  Action Center and encourage others to get involved. I consistently go to CCE to figure out how to better get involved at Binghamton University. Their resources are proof that there are always more ways to get involved!

Why do you think it is important for students to become civically engaged?
It is important for students to become civically engaged so they become aware of what is going on in their communities, and can always stay informed. By giving back, one is able to gain a sense of pride and a greater sense of community and self-being. This is a trait that cannot be measured by a paycheck or a GPA and makes both the experience of college and the experiences in life memorable.

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