We always say to get involved on campus, however, we want you to get involved in the community, too. As students, we are residents of New Paltz and must take advantage of the opportunities available to us.
Currently, the New Paltz Middle School is having trouble finding a crossing guard for a smoother and safer journey across the dangerous intersection at Main Street and Manheim Blvd. The job is two hours a day and pays $10 an hour. It is difficult to find someone to fill this job because of the off-hours, but who would best fit the position? A student. That’s pulling in $100 a week for just standing at an intersection and helping kids cross the street safely. This is a great opportunity that students should be pouncing on.
Other opportunities are present in the community, like going to town and village government meetings. It’s the best way to voice your opinion about any issue or concern. Going to these meetings will help prove that students’ concerns should be taken into consideration. However, you must be consistent in attending the meetings. For example, when the noise ordinance idea started to go into effect, students were finally attending the meetings because they realized how affected they were by the issue. But how can students’ opinions be taken seriously if they only go to meetings concerning issues that they feel threatens their way of life and not ones that affect the lives of all New Paltz residents? The permanent residents of New Paltz live here for more than the four or five years that students do, but we must prove that our opinions matter. We deserve our rights but we must participate in these sorts of activities in order to be appreciated and respected.
Many places in town show good examples of the community coming together. The new Slash Root is a great example. They work on a “pay-what-you-will” drink policy and all of their employees are volunteers. Simple things like taking a few hours out of your day to help out a store in the town would really benefit everyone.
The New Paltz Youth Program, located right on Main Street, is a drop-in center for middle school and high school students to hang out. They also offer services such as crisis intervention and tutoring that students could be helpful in. Anyone can volunteer and help out after school. There are also so many different organizations that students can lend a hand to in the community, such as Family of New Paltz and Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD).
Feel like you don’t have the time? Think again. A lot of these will not only benefit you personally, but can contribute to your major and to your future. It can also expand on your networking abilities for future jobs, or enhance your resume. And don’t forget the humanitarian side of you! Someone’s always in need of a helping hand.
So, come on! Jump on the helping train and be a part of your community. We are the students of today and the people of tomorrow, and if we want to start making a difference, we must start now.
Editorials represent the views of the majority of the editorial board. Columns, op-eds and letters, excluding editorials, are solely those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the views of The New Paltz Oracle, its staff members, the campus and university or the Town or Village of New Paltz.