Upstate News

May 7, 2010
Darryl Geddes 315 464-4828

Upstate wins Spirit of Caring Award

Upstate Medical University wins United Way’s Spirit of Caring Award

Award recognizes Upstate’s community volunteerism activities

SYRACUSE, N.Y. —Upstate Medical University has been recognized with the Spirit of Caring Volunteer Service Award by the United Way of Central New York.

The award recognizes Upstate’s role in community volunteerism, especially Team Upstate, the university’s volunteer outreach group, that promotes volunteerism within the organization, and encourages staff and students to find and support volunteer opportunities.

“We’re elated by this recognition from the United Way,” said Upstate President David R. Smith, M.D. “The spirit of volunteerism and service at Upstate has never been stronger.”

Smith noted that one of Upstate’s core values is service to the community. “We have employees from all across Onondaga County and beyond who share the belief that a community that responds to the needs of others is the best place to live—and that notion is reinforced by Upstate’s commitment to community service.”

The spark of Upstate’s volunteer service comes from Team Upstate, a university group that was created in 2003. Upstate employees always have been involved in volunteer activities, but before Team Upstate was created there was little campuswide coordination of volunteer activities and scant information on the breadth of campus community’s involvement.

Team Upstate, also known as the Upstate Council for Employee Volunteerism, brought into focus the power of the volunteer spirit at Upstate by acting as a resource for community volunteer activities, coordinating such activities and documenting Upstate’s outreach and support for community organizations.

Thousands of Upstate employees and students each year support dozens of human service agencies, including Amaus Free Clinic, Samaritan Center, Salvation Army, Center for New Americans, United Way Christmas Bureau, Vera House, Migrant Clinic, National Kidney Foundation, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, Dorothy House and many others.

Events, too, are opportunities for Upstate members to show their support. Juneteenth 2009 was held on the Upstate campus and National Cancer Survivors Day is sponsored annually by Upstate.

Team Upstate has helped increase the numbers of university employees and students who participate in fundraising walks and runs in Central New York. March for Babies, Syracuse Corporate Challenge, Relay for Life and other similar events are sure to see participation from hundreds of Team Upstate T-shirt-clad walkers. This year, Team Upstate fielded its largest team ever— more than 700 Upstate employees, students and family members—for Heart Walk 2010, benefiting the American Heart Association with more than $30,000 in contributions.

For more information on Team Upstate and community activities, go to: http://www.upstate.edu/teamupstate/

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