Middle Main

A neighborhood just a little off center

Congratulations to Middle Main-ers Jim Challey and Jeff Kosmacher, who were honored with Hudson River Housing's Community Builder Award at our Annual Meeting yesterday. (Look for photos on Hudson River Housing's Facebook page soon.) Jim and Jeff have been active with Middle Main from the beginning. They serve as co-chairs of Vassar College's Campus-Community Advisory Committee, and have helped us gain access to the valuable resources available on campus, and the talents of its faculty and students.

Soon after she became Vassar's president in 2006, Catharine Hill said strengthening the college's community relationships would be among her top priorities, and she formed a Campus-Community Advisory Committee of faculty, staff, and students to help lead the process. The committee is Vassar's first ongoing effort to coordinate and increase the effectiveness among its many community-oriented activities. President Hill charged the group to "strengthen existing partnerships, provide for the best use of resources, and suggest new partnerships."

The Campus-Community Advisory Committee has originated such projects as "The Poughkeepsie Shuttle", a 4-hour daily loop bus service from the campus, and the "Neighbors" website that helps increase interaction between the college and the general public. The website includes information for the public about how to broadly partake in the college's resources, as well as information for Vassar students and employees about the college's community-oriented learning and service opportunities. And when it organized Vassar's new Visitor Information Center in the lobby of historic Main Building, the Campus-Community Advisory Committee partnered with Dutchess County Tourism to have the information center double as one of the county's official tourist information sites.

Jim and Jeff are always at the table during Middle Main meetings. They have brought ideas, energy, and resources to the Middle Main initiative. They have recruited students and faculty to support the initiative through internships, volunteer work, and class projects. It is for their commitment, and their work to truly build the bridge between the college and the community in a real way, that they were honored with the 2010 Community Builder Award. Congratulations!

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