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The Nursing and Allied Health Department place boxes across campus locations to support their annual spring food drive to fight hunger in children in local elementary schools. The boxes of food are then donated to fill the pantries of the Juniper, Highland, and Paper Mill elementary schools.
Westfield State University sponsors a water stop in support of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Westfield’s 5k and 10k and half-marathon event. Members of various Westfield State athletic teams volunteer to support participants with a water stop at the main campus entrance.
The Westfield State Ice Hockey team sponsors a “Pink the Rink” game every year. The team wears a specially designed jersey for the event and offers these jerseys for sale. Proceeds from the sales of the jerseys is donated to the Cancer House of Hope in Westfield.
Buzz Off For Cancer is an event, at which participants raise money by shaving their heads to symbolize a child battling cancer. All the proceeds benefit children and their families’ battling pediatric cancer.
Earth Week is celebrated for one week with films and discussions, environmental awareness activities, and volunteer work including a volunteer crew cleaning up the Westfield River.
Westfield State annually hosts College 101 for Westfield middle-school students to give local eighth graders a taste of the college experience. The eighth graders participate in a science lab, attend lectures, and hear from students who have studied abroad. The students also learn about the wide selection of extra-curricular activities available as a Westfield State undergraduate student.
Westfield State and the Westfield River Watershed Association sponsor the annual Westfield River Symposium with a variety of speakers and exhibitors in the morning and field trips in the afternoon.
Westfield State nursing students and faculty members travel to Santa Maria de Jesus, Guatemala during spring break as a clinical and civic engagement element for their nursing courses. While in Guatemala, students build wheelchairs, build a house for a family, provide and serve 400 children a protein meal for lunch and deliver sandwiches and fruit to the local homeless population. In addition, students visit a daycare of 100 students and donated arts and crafts and school supplies.
Spring River Cleanup
At the annual spring cleanup event, Westfield State students accumulated trash and debris from the riverbanks at several sites to celebrate Earth Day.
The annual Mr. Westfield pageant raises money for for Make-A-Wish® Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The event raises an average of $15,000-$20,000 through contestant fundraising, sponsorship, ticket sales, concessions, and other donations. This amount is enough to grant wishes for two children with life-threatening medical conditions.
Westfield State and Westfield Technical Academy team up to produce sets for the University’s musical productions. The partnership exposes Westfield Technical Academy students to art and music, while Westfield State students have the opportunity to work alongside the high school’s skilled carpentry and graphic arts students.
For nearly 30 years, Westfield State has held events dedicated to awareness and celebration of women’s rights and issues involving women globally as a part of the Month Celebrating Women. What started off as a week-long celebration organized around International Women’s Day, is now a month-long tribute in March featuring guest speakers, concerts, and art exhibits.
Community members participate in the annual Health Fair sponsored by the University. More than 30 organizations are represented at the health fair including Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the American Red Cross. Westfield State nursing students, assisted by Westfield Vocational Technical High School students, offered free blood pressure screenings. Several departments from Noble Hospital offered free glucose screenings; the head of the Center for Comprehensive Breast Health is available to answer questions about breast health; and, a variety of organizations offered educational pamphlets and information about health conditions and support resources.
A group of Westfield State students travel to Nicaragua in January each consecutive year as part of a Global Service Learning course. Each year, the students travel to Granada, Nicaragua to assist La Esperanza Granada, a local nonprofit that focuses on improving children’s education. The organization aids more than 2,000 children in poverty-stricken areas. Students have raised more than $30,000 for the community, and built an entire community center, along with classrooms and an updated water system.
Westfield State University holds a Relay for Life even on campus. The event is the main volunteer-driven cancer fundraising event of the American Cancer Society. The University’s annual event last year raises more than $40,000 to give to the American Cancer Society for cancer research and treatments.
Reach to Teach
Westfield State University and the Springfield Public School System have formed a partnership aimed at attracting and helping more minority students to become teachers.
The program, titled Reach to Teach, offers students incentives to pursue a degree in education – including mentorship in high school and tuition assistance at Westfield State. The partnership is a "grow your own" teacher preparation model, which commits participants to a three-year teaching agreement with Springfield Public Schools upon their successful completion of the Westfield State program.
Partnerships with Holyoke Community College and Springfield Technical Community College
Westfield State has partnered with Holyoke Community College and STCC to make a four-year college degree more affordable. The presidents of Westfield State, HCC, and STCC have signed agreements between the institutions that caps the cost of an associate degree plus a bachelor's degree at $30,000 for eligible students. The agreement will expand access to a higher education to those who can't afford it, while adding to the pool of highly skilled workers the region's economy needs.
Mongoose Research to Save Turtles
Professor Buzz Hoagland and biology students have been studying mongoose on Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge (SPNWR) on St. Croix. His project concentrates on developing a tracking system that will record the movements of mongoose in the field. SPNWR has the largest turtle nesting beach in the United States and mongoose tracks are commonly observed around turtle nests and may be a significant cause of mortality in hatchling sea turtles. Hoagland’s research seeks to propose a method of protecting the hatchlings from the hungry mongoose by the development of comprehensive mongoose management plans for SPNWR and other turtle nesting beaches on St. Croix and additional Caribbean islands inhabited by mongoose to insure the continued survival of sea turtle populations.