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News & Events

07-18-2014

Clarkson University Students Volunteer for Potsdam Community Dog Park

Clarkson University students teamed up this spring to clear land behind the Potsdam Humane Society to make way for a new dog park.

Clarkson Serves participants volunteer at the Potsdam Community Dog Park.A group of 11 students, faculty and alumni first began volunteering at the Potsdam Community Dog Park for Clarkson Serves, a day when Clarkson alumni and students come together to help make their communities a better place to live.

Their actions inspired others to get involved, and the initial effort has snowballed into a regular rotation of Clarkson volunteers at the dog park. Working alongside other members of the community, the students constitute the largest organized group of volunteers.

"Clarkson Serves really opened the door to the entire dog park work this spring. It was their dedication and generosity that spurred us on and inspired every work party thereafter," said Deborah Massell, associate professor of voice at SUNY Potsdam's Crane School of Music and Potsdam Community Dog Park organizer. "They are self-motivated and lose themselves in their work, with current students working alongside alumni with no boundaries. Everyone respects everyone else and gives themselves over to the task at hand."

Rugby captain Dylan Kowal '14 brought with him members of the men's and women's teams to volunteer. They returned for four mornings to climb trees, sling logs and boost up each other to grab vines. Nate Watkajtys '16, community service chair for the Delta Upsilon fraternity, next brought four fraternity brothers who generously took time from their summer vacation to clear brush piles.

"It's important for students to volunteer in their local communities because it gives them the opportunity to give back something to the place they call their temporary home," Massell said. "It teaches them about themselves by giving them a chance to feel generous, respectful, and caring, and that is a rare opportunity these days."

Regional Chapter Development and Young Alumni Engagement Assistant Director Gabriela Meza '13 said Clarkson Serves is an excellent opportunity for alumni to get involved in their communities.

"We had more than 300 Clarkson alumni in 16 locations around the U.S., including Hawaii, come together to show the Clarkson values of service, teamwork and caring. Along with integrity, vision, diversity, growth and diligence, these values will always be embedded in our hearts, and the best way to show that is through Clarkson Serves," she said. "I had the opportunity to join the group that participated in the Clarkson campus location. It was inspiring to see students cooperating and enjoying their work."

The Potsdam Humane Society plans to open the dog park this fall to provide an enclosed space for dogs to safely play off leash without encountering dangers such as traffic, hunters, traps, wild animals or river ice.

The dog park features three areas: a 2.5-acre main area including trails, a gazebo, clean water and dog waste disposal facilities; a separate space for small dogs; and a 0.5-acre special use area for dogs at the Potsdam Humane Society, dogs who behave better alone or dogs being trained.

The Potsdam Community Dog Park is in the final round of the "Bark for Your Park" national contest to win $25,000 or $100,000 for materials. Voters can cast their ballots for Potsdam online twice a day before July 31. See all voting details as well as a 30-second video about the park and contest at http://potsdamdogpark.com .

The next Clarkson Serves day takes place on April 18, 2015.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: Clarkson Serves participants volunteer at the Potsdam Community Dog Park.

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/clarkson-serves-park.jpg .]

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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