New Beginnings

New Beginnings

September 10, 2021 Uncategorized 40

The semester has begun and everyone is off to their new beginning! This blog post is going to focus on our fresh start and where we hope to be by the end of the semester. For our freshmen, this is your first time experiencing college!! What has your first week of college been like? Describe how your service has been going and where/ what you hope to accomplish by the end of the semester! For our upperclassmen, welcome back to the most “normal” school year! How has service changed for you since Covid? What is it that you wish to accomplish by the end of the semester? 

40 Responses

  1. Abeer Jafri says:

    I am so happy to be back in person at Siena and at service! Summer Gear Up was a great introduction to our new beginnings, and set us up wonderfully for the new school year. During covid, service had been less hands on and I was mostly working on the tutoring program. This year, I will be back at Unity House in person, but also in the domestic violence office, which is new to me. I hope to be able to learn a lot there, and hopefully develop a Capstone idea, which I am excited to do. By the end of the semester, I hope to be acclimated to the domestic violence office, and start working on projects there that can ultimately benefit my Capstone research. I also just hope to make great relationships and get back to work academically, and have an awesome semester.

  2. Samantha Gisleson says:

    It has been so refreshing to be able to see everyone’s faces and finally get back to some form of normalcy! Service for me is actually not much different because I am working on my capstone which operates online for the most part regardless of a global pandemic or not. However, being in person for Wednesday night meetings and having in person service days has been so fun and exciting! As this is my last semester, I plan to have my capstone complete at the end of this semester. I am excited for my next “new beginning” but sad to be leaving Siena and this program so soon, so I am hoping to make the most of this semester!

  3. Jackson+Regan says:

    For me, the first week was a welcome return to both old and new. The old was the typical routine of going to classes, grabbing food on campus and seeing my friends. The new included fewer covid restrictions, and also feeling more confident and stable, as if this fall my feet were actually on the ground instead of tumbling in the air. Maybe it has to do with being a sophomore and having a year of college under my belt, and perhaps also with covid not the issue it was last year, everything is clearer, and there is less of a chance of sudden surprises brought on by covid changing the format for both classes and Bonner.

    • Chandler+Edbauer says:

      Hey Jackson,
      I agree that everything is starting to be clearer! I enjoy being on campus as well and I definitely feel more stable. I am very interested in your goal for the semester and how everything is at service!

  4. Kayla McKay says:

    I has been so great and refreshing to have in-person service this semester compared to last semester. The last two semesters I was supposed to serve with Whitney Young. With all the new regulations and rules regarding to people’s safety and trying to the follow the new COVID-19 protocols, I was unfortunately unable to serve there. For the rest of last year I have been doing virtual service. During the winter and most of my second semester, I worked with Birthnet which was all virtual as well. I spent a lot of time conducting interviews and putting together podcasts about reproductive justice and health. Now this current semester I am serving with FOCUS Churches. This is a very new experience for me because I am all in person which is a big change for me. At FOCUS Churches I work with the Breakfast Program and in the food pantry. Serving with FOCUS Churches has been a wonderful opportunity because I get to be physically engaged with the community. Service for me has has changed so much within the past two years but each and every opportunity has been a great experience and I learn so much. Something I hope to accomplish by the end of the semester with FOCUS Churches is to implement or introduce food prescriptions and see if that can be incorporate into any existing programs.

    • Samantha Lunt says:

      It is definitely so great to be back to in person service! It makes me so happy that you finally get to experience it!! Going to a new site for the first time is definitely a big change, but I am glad you are enjoying it. I can’t wait to see all that you will accomplish this semester!

  5. Nora Diede says:

    Coming into the Bonner Program last year, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, I was originally meant to be completing my service at the YWCA. However, due to COVID restrictions and other changes in my service, I shifted my focus in the middle of the semester to online service opportunities. During our extended winter break I started working virtually with Wildwood Programs. I continued this throughout the following semester, and am still working on this project this semester. Covid has made many adjustments to my service, and if we were not in the midst of a global pandemic I would have never begun my work with Wildwood. The virtual format is also something that has been changed due to the virus’s outbreak. Originally, I started going in person to the YWCA. Now, I am still virtual with my work with Wildwood. This is because Wildwood Programs, like so many other organizations around the world, have found many benefits in performing some of their tasks virtually. Their Adult Education program is one of these services that are still safest to complete online. My work, with creating resources for this program, is being done virtually as to limit people in the office, and allow for more people from diverse locations to aid Wildwood and provide them with unique resources. By the end of the semester I would like to create useful resources and materials for the Adult Education classes at Wildwood. I hope that the research I complete can aid the clients at this organization, within their daily lives. I also am working on their newsletter, and I hope this will work to provide Wildwood with more resources from individuals that learn more about the organization through this newsletter.

  6. Michael Averill says:

    It feels amazing to be back to a fully in-person experience at Siena! I can’t believe it’s already the start of my senior year. Every semester presents its own set of challenges, but also an abundance of opportunities. I spent last Spring semester away in Washington DC and spent my summer traveling, so it feels like I’ve been away from Bonner for quite some time. I’m excited to have a new beginning of Bonner service as I reengage with two nonprofits I have worked with in the past, Mayan Hands and the Refugee Welcome Center.
    The world has changed a lot since I first entered Siena as a freshman, and my Bonner service has reflected that shift. As a nation, we continue to grapple with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, address a long history of racial injustices, and navigate the impacts of a new presidential administration. Our Bonner service is extraordinarily timely in the world we live in today, as the call to be changemakers in our communities can no longer be ignored. As former president Barack Obama once said, “”Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” I can’t wait to work closely with all of you this year!

  7. Stephanie Da Fonseca says:

    For our upperclassmen, welcome back to the most “normal” school year! How has service changed for you since Covid? What is it that you wish to accomplish by the end of the semester?

    I am so happy to be back in person and for those turbulent times to have passed, it was a very difficult period for me especially being all remote and it brings me so much joy being able to be in person again. It was an immense pleasure to bond with the sophomores at Camp Appalachia and to meet all the new freshman at SGU and see all my old friends again. Covid has changed service for me in so many ways such as losing my freshman year site because they were not online, then doing all remote service and we also had policy work our first semester of sophomore year. I hope to be doing service somewhere I love by the end of the semester and to at least have an idea of what I want to do with my capstone since senior year slowly creeps up on us.

    • Samantha Lunt says:

      It has definitely been a roller coaster, but it is so great to be back in person! It was so fun getting to know the sophomores more during Camp Appalachia. I can’t wait to see what you do for your capstone!!

  8. Cody Romani says:

    I am excited to be back in person for classes and service! Siena is really my home away from home. It was great seeing people during Summer Gear Up and bonding with everyone. Covid has really changed everything for me especially service. During Covid I was serving remotely for Unity House of Troy. Although this was a good experience, I am excited to be a program associate this semester. I am ready to support my fellow Bonners and listen to what everyone wants and needs. Some of my goals this semester are to get to know more Bonners, come up with some fun bonding activities, and challenge myself. I am also focusing on self care and time management. Hope everyone has a good semester!

  9. Nia Colon says:

    Service has not really changed because of COVID for me. I was still able to go into the hospital and participate in my clinical. My goal for the semester is to finish my capstone and have more of set plan in place. I hope that I can at least accomplish this by the end of October.

  10. Ava Bibisi says:

    Last year starting in the Bonner Program admits the pandemic set me back in what I had want to accomplish. I was unable to serve in person at the Boys and Girls Club, and then had to change sites for the spring semester. This year, although it was only been one week, I feel so much happier with where I am and who I am serving with. I am still serving virtually, but my site supervisor has been awesome in staying in touch so that I feel as much “in person” as possible. It is also new this semester that I will be serving at Ellis hospital in participating in clinical work. This is going to impact my growth not just in service, but for my career in nursing. I plan to feel more comfortable in the community this semester, and my goal is to help develop profitable resources for the Spina Bifida Association that they can contribute to their gala that is in November. I also hope to grow their advertisement this semester through flyers and marketing not just in their town, but also on campus.

  11. Amanda Molloy says:

    I think that covid has really impacted my experience doing service. As a sophomore, I feel like it is hard for me to say how my freshmen year of service would have gone if the world was in a normal state at that time because I had no previous experience to compare last year to. Even though I had no previous experience at Siena before covid, I know that it allowed for some barriers while doing service last year, like maybe having less of a connection with my site, especially at the beginning of last year. However, I think it has also provided some new opportunities. My site now, which is the Spina Bifida Association of Northeastern New York, would never have been an option if virtual service was not implemented because it is too far for the service shuttles. In a way the transition to online service allowed me to connect with a site that really interests me. By the end of the semester, I hope to make an impact at my site in whatever way that may be and I also hope to experience more in-person service whether that be our Bonner service days or other opportunities around campus.

  12. Rachel+Gifford says:

    I’m excited to start this new semester and learn what “normal” means. Over the past year, service has changed a lot for me. I started freshman year doing small virtual projects and training. There wasn’t a lot of structure in my service and I found myself feeling lost and unsure of what I was supposed to be doing. Over the winter I did winter of service and found my site (Food Pantries). Ever since I’ve been working with Food Pantries doing different projects on their online database. This semester I will be able to go to service in person on Fridays while continuing virtual work during the week. Part of my goal for this semester is to become more involved in my site and understand other aspects of FP. I’m hoping that by going in person to my site I will gain a better understanding of it as a whole. My other goal would be to learn how to balance having fully in-person classes along with my service.

  13. Abby James-Vickery says:

    I am so happy to be on campus! I spent the last year of high school on a computer and I am excited to finally socialize with people. My first week of college has been really exciting, and also kind of overwhelming. But overall, I am loving college and am having a great time meeting new people. Service has been really exciting and actually refreshing. For me, it is refreshing to take a break from school and focus on something different. I am really excited to build a stronger volunteer program at the Connect Center, and my goal for this semester is to create a standard volunteer application that is fair and that will bring in good and solid volunteers. I can’t wait to see all of you at Wednesday meetings and I hope everyone has a great semester!

    • Chandler+Edbauer says:

      It sounds like you are very excited to be here and that’s awesome. I think feeling a little overwhelmed is normal but if you ever need any support reach out to any PA or anyone in ACE. I appreciate your positivity and expectation for growth!!

  14. Jack McKenna says:

    I felt like service became strained during the pandemic. Both because it was difficult to give hands on help and also because it was needed more than in previous years, as many people struggled through unemployment, isolation, and sickness. It was a challenge being limited to remote service, or no service at all, while people were in desperate need of help. It was hard to find time to serve while struggling to adjust to online classes and everything else. But most of us made it through and were able help when we could, however we could. And now that things are opening up and returning to the way things were, it’s a good time to et new goals for this semester. One thing I wish to accomplish by the end of this semester is my capstone proposal. It’s not something I’m especially worried about, but it will feel really good when it’s done with. There is nothing in the world I struggle with more than planning, especially when it’s more than a day in advance. But this is a good opportunity to practice this skill and work on communication. So I’m excited to get started on it.

    • Cody Romani says:

      Hey Jack, I agree with you that service was tough during the pandemic. I am happy that you persevered through online classes and serving remotely. I am really excited to hear about your capstone proposal too. Keep up the hard work!

  15. Nancy Marie Rasmussen says:

    Service definitely looks a little different for me this year. As I start preparing for my full-time student teaching position in the spring, I am observing and acting as a teacher’s assistant at Columbia High School in East Greenbush this fall semester. When I walked into the building yesterday, Monday September 13th, there seemed to be a sense of hope in the air. Since it is many students’ first time back in the classroom since March 2020, you could imagine the excitement. I’m teaching grades 9th and 10th, but observe and interact with the students in 11th and 12th grade as well. All the students were extremely welcoming to me, and my cooperating teachers are incredible. I cannot wait to learn more from them. I already observed and helped one of my cooperating teachers with a lesson on Monday, and I was truly in awe with how engaged the students were. I hope to be as good of a teacher as she is when I start full-time teaching in the spring.

    Along with observing and acting as a teacher’s assistant, I am continuing my capstone this fall. Working alongside my capstone advisor has been nothing but great, and I’m excited to see what this semester holds.

    With that said, I hope to accomplish three things this semester. First, I hope to complete a majority of my capstone. Second, I hope to gain my students’ trust and respect with the hopes that they will see my as a constant support throughout this semester. And finally, I hope to learn all my students’ names. There are a lot of students in all the classes I will be teaching, and I think it’s extremely important to know your students, starting with their names.

  16. Annabelle Fisher says:

    College has been hectic from the second we got to campus. Going straight from summer gear up to freshman orientation was a huge adjustment because the bonds we made during summer gear up were so genuine and meaningful so fast. The first week of classes was probably one of the most stressful weeks I’ve experienced in terms of school. Between course load and materials and figuring out the online programs keeping up seemed impossible. Entering the second week everything is settling down and it’s more clear how to manage time and balance Bonner, classes, and social life. There’s not really any down time and it’s very different than what I’m used to, but I enjoy the things I’m doing so it doesn’t feel draining. Service is off to a little bit of a slow start, but I think it will pick up pace as I get a better view and understanding of the Connect Center programs while the kids are there. My goal for this semester is to maintain a productive and optimistic attitude and produce helpful and quality work for both my classes and my site.

    • Chandler+Edbauer says:

      Hey Annabelle,
      I know it can be difficult but it sounds like slowly you are getting used to everything and finding a nice balance. If you ever need help balancing things or adjusting your schedule, reach out for help. Myself and the PAs are always here to help you.

  17. Chandler+Edbauer says:

    How has service changed for you since Covid? What is it that you wish to accomplish by the end of the semester?
    Service has changed a lot since Covid. I feel happy to be serving in a capacity where I can see the work I am doing matters. I feel like I have had the opportunity to see the good and the bad in service. How it has affected me positively and negatively especially during covid. But I feel happy now that I can help the community near my physical self and see the change. I wish to accomplish a new plan for alumni development that gets people very involved in ACE and Bonner even after graduation. I look forward to developing all that I can.

  18. Brianna Rodriguez says:

    My first week of college was really nice and off to a kind of chill start. I’m really excited that I finally feel more comfortable here in terms of balancing school and service, but, as to be expected, I’m already a little exhausted. Although I am having fun and am grateful that we’re able to be on campus and do so many things in-person, I think I really need to set aside some time for my mental health and self-care before I forget to prioritize it at all. I’m optimistic that as the semester continues, I will be better at time management and get into a consistent routine that will allow me to focus on school, service, and my personal life without feeling drained. Service has been going great so far and I’m really happy that my site is at FOCUS Churches! I love the people that we work with and the service that they do for the community. I appreciate that everything is really engaging and hands-on, and it makes me feel really motivated and excited to learn new things there. My goal for this semester is to become more comfortable with planning and organizing projects for my site considering that much of my virtual hours will consist of this and I don’t have much experience in this role of service. Through effective communication and positivity, I’m sure I can do a great job at FOCUS Churches.

    • Cody Romani says:

      Brianna,
      That is awesome that college is off to a good start for you. Balancing school and service can certainly be tiring and exhausting. You make a good point of taking some time for self-care and your mental health. I am excited to hear more about the service you are doing at Focus Churches. If you need help with time management or need some self-care resources, feel free to reach out to a myself or any of the PAs.

  19. Jonathan Limey says:

    The only way I know how to describe my first week here and the weeks before for Bonner/CA training is as a wild ride. I have experienced significant ups and downs, struggles, and everything you can imagine. None of it has been, or probably will continue to be easy. I very quickly learned that “normal” doesn’t mean “better”. That statement doesn’t mean to say that the old covid way of doing things was also better, it was just different. We live in a different world, full of different struggles. Normal is gone or never existed, to begin with. College for me, especially after covid, has been a sea of new challenges. New struggles as I strive to find my normal, just as the world is doing the same. So yes, I wish to accomplish normal but I further wish to learn why. Why I deal with the struggles, why I am able to do all these great things with Bonner, and why normal doesn’t exist. It is a difficulty that we all have, and that’s okay. None of this is easy, and I think we all see that. Hopefully, we all can walk together, lighten the load, and carry a little of each other’s baggage along the way.

    • Erin+Spence says:

      Jonathan, I love this perspective. This is such a great reflection on your past year and your hopes for the coming year. I can relate to the struggle of navigating this new normal, but I know that we are all here for each other in our Bonner family.

  20. Samantha Lunt says:

    WOW! Thats the first thing that has come to mind for me. It is good to be back. Everything is so different and service even looks different. It has looked different for me each year, but this year I see the most change. However, even though I see the most change I also see the clearest path. I am excited to be doing the work I am doing and knowing that it is important and valued. The year didn’t start off quite as I had pictured it, but I know it will out work out. By the end of the semester I hope to have a clear idea for my capstone. I want it to be something that I am passionate about. I also hope that we are able to bring in more freshman to join our awesome Bonner class of 2025!

  21. Service has definitely changed for me since service. To begin, my service site changed- I used to be at BGCCA and now I work with FOR-NY YVM. Also, I have to had service in person for an extended time since March of 2020-I went in during the 2020 fall semester, but a data later all serve was moved to remote. My current site is also remote because COVID changed the layout of how the organization functions and I will only be going in person when serving at large events. Even still, these events which were supposed to be in person have recently went remote due to the Delta variant which has been a bit disheartening, but I enjoy the work I do with my site even if it has to be online. This semester I will be starting my capstone with my site and I’m excited to begin research and see my ideas come to fruision. In addition, I will be assisting with the upcoming Recovery conference in October and updating tranings!

  22. Mara Golden says:

    I am so excited to be back in person for classes and service!! Service has changed a great deal for me over the past couple of semesters! I left Unity House of Troy where I served my freshman and fall semester of sophomore year. I did a lot of different work there from writing grants, working on galas, donation support, and so much more. I am now a PA for the program and the initial transition was not easy. The work I do now is very different than the work I did at Unity House. Although this is a learning curve it does not make some frustrations easier. I hope to have a better understanding of the background work, such as BWBRs, Remind, and Blogs, so I can help the PA’s now and in the future to keep out program running!

  23. Maura+Lynch says:

    So far I’ve really enjoyed being back on campus, especially since it feels so normal again. My service this semester is just clinical rotations at the hospital, which are proving to be difficult on top of my workload. My goal this semester is to nap less and smile more and pass my classes. (In that order). Here’s to a great semester my friends.

  24. Tori Mangelli says:

    Service is now in person but still partly remote, which is kind of similar to how it was during COVID. By the end of the semester, I hope to have a good GPA and become a gym goddess lol. I also want to learn how to cook and meal prep since now I’m finally in the townhouses.

  25. Liz MacMurray says:

    This semester, I’ve started a new site, which perfectly goes along with the theme of new beginnings. As much as I was interested in my site from last school year, I’m very excited to be a part of the Boys and Girls Club community. The whole staff is so welcoming and have brought so much joy to the kids from what I have witnessed. I’m glad that I am now a part of that joy that is being spread. Especially being in person now, it’s easier to make more connections now. Last year I felt barely connected to my site but now I have the chance to be a physical member of the staff. By the end of the semester, I hope to feel much more comfortable with my site and hopefully make an impact on one of the many programs the Boys and Girls Club offers.

  26. Victoria Taco says:

    College has been filled with so many new beginnings for me! It started with Summer Gear Up when I was pushed out of my comfort zone and made genuine connections with many of the Bonners. I was able to learn how to behave professionally, learned about leadership skills and most importantly learned how to serve my community. Since SGU and freshman orientation began, I made a group of friends who have been helping me get through my first week. After classes started my biggest obstacle has been trying to juggle school work, Bonner and a regular life. My main goal is to try and maintain a good, stable schedule that includes service, my classes, study times and time to relax. This was also my first week of service at the Boys and Girls Club and I was able to coordinate a mentor program. I’m extremely excited to be able to work with the kids and have the freedom to do different projects. My goal for service is to maintain a sustainable mentoring project or helping the freight farm with profits and outside connections. I am looking forward to what lies ahead!

    • Erin+Spence says:

      Taco! These are all awesome goals! I love that you have an idea of what you want to accomplish within your academics and school, but also want to prioritize your relaxation and rest time. That is so important!

  27. Giavanna Pitagno says:

    I’m so excited to be back this semester!! Not just on back campus, but ‘back’ to a (new version of) normal. Although service this semester will inherently be different being completely in person, I think the biggest change (and what I’m most excited for) is how ‘far in’ the non-profit I will be working. Last semester was filled with small, tedious projects for various organizations, so I never was truly able to establish a relationship with a non-profit. This semester, I will be deeply involved with the coordination, planning, and programming of the South End Night Market. My goal for this semester is to grow as a professional and establish strong connections with vendors, coworkers, and the community!

  28. Erin+Spence says:

    I am so happy to be back at Siena with as much normalcy as we can have right now. It has been so great to be back with my Bonner family in person! I think we all picked up right where we left off and it has been so refreshing to start this year off on such a high note with SGU. Because this is my second full year as a PA, I feel much more confident in the role and in my ability to be a leader in this program. This semester, my focus will be on building our Wednesday night training curriculum. This is much different from my previous role with recruitment, but I am excited to take on this new challenge. This past summer I was also able to start work on my capstone project through SPIn. This experience was the first community-engaged service I had done since the start of COVID, and I am so glad I had the opportunity. It reminded me about how much I love this program and the work that we do. This semester I am continuing with my capstone and hoping to make great progress with this process this semester with finishing interviews with community members, analyzing my data, and beginning the writing process. Very excited to see what the rest of this semester has in store!

  29. Kimberly Lopez says:

    The theme “New Beginnings” was very fitting coming out of high school and transitioning to this new world. It has been difficult, but I have enjoyed every moment. My first week of college was overwhelming: trying to manage classes, Bonner, and my social life has kept me busy. Busy is good in my book because I’m always being productive, although I do have those moments where I just want to take a break and relax. Participating in summer gear up has motivated me to know more about social injustice and giving back to the community. Being part of the team at Connect Center for Youth has been amazing, I am really excited to be working on my task list and coming up with new ways to further develop the programs at Connect Center. My main goal for this semester is to get comfortable with the uncomfortable.

  30. Katie Lindsay says:

    My first week of college ever has been so eventful! I loved getting to meet my teachers and spend time with my classmates and the friends I’ve made since coming here! The workload is manageable so far but it’s becoming harder to plan time for rest and for myself around classes, homework, service, social events and time with friends. But I think I will find a balance overtime, using strategies I learned in today’s time management lesson during our weekly meeting, google calendar, and other resources.
    My service has been going well so far! The staff are friendly, experienced, and helpful, and I can tell the kids are really benefiting from the after school program in more ways than one, which gets me excited to take part in that positive impact! I’m still figuring out what my partnership with the BGCCA should look like right now compared to what I am envisioning working on in the future with this organization. I will discover how to bridge that gap with sustainable contributions from start to end of my time serving there over the next four years.
    I hope to extend the Freight Farm’s outreach in the community in some way or at least establish those connections in the surrounding area by networking. I also want to add environmental education and initiate other engaging activities for youth in the program by the end of the semester!

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