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Students, Faculty, Staff Make Holidays Easier Through Annual ‘Adopt-a-Friend’ Program

gadway adopt a friend

SUNY Plattsburgh students, faculty and staff rose to the occasion once again to make Christmas a little merrier for local families through the Center for Student Involvement’s annual Adopt-a-Friend program.

As in years past, the Clinton County Department of Social Services provided a list with the names of some 125 local children, ranging in ages from four months to 17 years old.

Katie Gadway, administrative assistant in the center, coordinated the project. She asked James Sherman, assistant director of community living, for a count of how many students in the residence halls would like to participate and from there, the community assistants — formerly resident assistants — worked with their floors to shop and collect gifts for the children on the list.

“After we put the call out to the residence halls, we then turn to the faculty and staff to help fill in for anyone left,” Gadway said. “We also encourage them to donate funds for food vouchers, which we provide as well.”

This year they collected $500 to put toward the vouchers, she said.

“We turn that over to Social Services to distribute to whoever needs help with holiday meals or any other needs they may have,” Gadway said.

The Adopt-a-Friend project has been a staple in community service on campus for more than two decades.

“It puts people in the holiday spirit,” Gadway said from the office in the Angell College Center where she was surrounded by piles of gifts that students, faculty and staff brought in. From the offices in the Center for Student Involvement, the unwrapped packages are taken to the Department of Social Services downtown office building with the assistance of the campus moving crew.

Gadway knows the crew well, having worked in Maintenance and Operations prior to taking the position she has in the center in September 2018. Last holiday season, she assistant Cori Jackson, director of the center, with the Adopt-a-Friend project, but this year Jackson entrusted Gadway to run with it.

“I loved my M&O crew, but it’s a different pace over here. And I get to organize this,” Gadway said with a sweeping gesture toward the packages. “I really like this job.”

For more information on the Center for Student Involvement and the Adopt-a-Friend project for next year, contact Gadway at 518-564-4321 or email [email protected] or visit https://www.plattsburgh.edu/plattslife/get-involved/index.html.

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