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Commitment Projects


Upon completing the Levitt Leadership Institute (LLI), students have the chance to make a real and positive difference through a long-term Commitment to Action Project that transfers LLI skills and knowledge into real life situations.
The Commitment to Action Projects vary in scope, location, and duration, giving students flexibility to create a project that is meaningful and attainable. Many students have implemented projects on campus, some of which have been made self-sustaining as ongoing student groups, while other projects take place in local communities or abroad. Students may choose to work on Commitment to Action Projects independently or in groups.

Below are examples of Commitment to Action Projects that have been implemented between 2013 and 2015.

2015

Ella Dean ’17, James Mesiti ’17, Sarah Hogoboom ’17, Logan Yu ’17, Alex Hirsu ’17, Matthew Bleich ’18, Taylor Elicegui ’17, and Chris Wallace ’17 created a weekly program to bring Hamilton students together with students in the Newcomers Classroom at the Mohawk Valley Refugee Center. On Friday afternoons, participants from the Refugee Center came to campus to have lunch, spent an hour working on career-related skills, and then played sports with Hamilton students.  The program aimed to provide enrichment for all the students involved and to build connections between Hamilton students and the surrounding population.

Nathalia Mahabir ’17 organized a mentorship pen pal program connecting Hamilton students with students in Trinidad. The program, called Write Back @ You, included Hamilton students and about 40 children at Eshe’s Learning Center in Trinidad. The students, who were paired based on mutual interests, exchanged letters every week.

KaraLin Pintye-Everett ’17 used her commitment project to make ice-skating accessible to all Hamilton students. With funding from Student Assembly, she purchased about 20 pairs of ice skates to start a free skate rental program.  She worked with Dave Thompson, Director of Campus Wellness, and Ellen Hull, Professor of Physical Education, to coordinate the purchase and storage of skates. Students now have access to free skates during ice rink open hours and for skating P.E. classes.

2014

Michael Nelson ’16 was inspired to help students discover what they are truly passionate about.  Working with Sarah Jillings, the Assistant Director of Outdoor Leadership, he developed a workshop about creating a vision and setting goals, which he ran multiple times at Hamilton and at a regional conference.

Hunter Green ’16 expanded LEAP (Leadership Experience and Preparation Program), the first-year leadership program first created by LLI participants. LEAP began as a residential program with 59 first-year students. In 2014, LEAP continued as a course-based program with weekly meetings on leadership-related topics. LEAP participants work to develop 6 key skills: self-awareness, organization, negotiation, active listening, public speaking, and networking. The program is now in its third year.

Emily Goldberg ’16 used her commitment project to create a new volunteering event with local children. She coordinated student volunteers and organized a day of on-campus activities with children from the Neighborhood Center, an organization that supports children and families in the Utica area. In future years, the event will continue as part of HAVOC.

2013

Kate Cieplicki ’16 used her commitment project to support a key campus group, Minds for Change. Minds for Change is a club that hosts weekly open conversations about mental health. Their goals are to support students dealing with mental health issues and to remove the stigma surrounding mental illnesses. Cieplicki worked to increase the club’s visibility and on-campus connections through networking with other campus clubs. She is also working to organize a hunger banquet with Class Matters, a supportive discussion group for students who come from lower socioeconomic status and working class families.

Nick Solano ’14, while a student at Hamilton, was the Executive Director of Rebuilding Together Mohawk Valley, a local affiliate of a national nonprofit. Solano worked to install a sustainable leadership structure to ensure that students continue to be involved in the organization. “It’s so different down there in the community--rural poverty, urban poverty--many people never see these things, but they exist,” Solano said. “This is a way for students to gain perspective on the community and how they can truly impact people’s lives.”

Brady Sprague ’15 restarted Hamilton MicroFinance, a micro-lending club with the aim of providing loans to refugee-run and other businesses in the greater Utica area. 

Jack Cartwright ’15 and Samantha Sherman ’15  organized and promoted HamTrek, an annual sprint-triathlon on the Hamilton campus with the aim to increase student participation in campus-wide non-alcoholic events, engage students who are not involved with athletics on campus, and raise money for the Shawn Grady Memorial Fund, an organization based in Clinton that supports families with terminally ill children. 

Kevin Anglim ’15, Jack Boyle ’15, Meghan O’Sullivan ’15, Gretha Suarez ’15, and Dylan Wulderk ’13 created a first-year residential leadership program called LEAP.  The goal of the program was to foster a culture of leadership on campus while providing students with mentors who have already participated in leadership training. The program consisted of discussions with campus leaders, leadership-focused activities, and a group project aimed at applying the skills students learned during the program to the Hamilton community.  This project has continued, though it has taken several different formats.

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