Participants from this summer's First-Year Community Action Program.

Adelphi's newest Panthers got into action before classes even began by participating in this award-winning program.

Before setting foot in their first college class, Adelphi’s incoming first-year students are given the opportunity to make a difference by participating in three days of volunteer community service through the First-Year Community Action Program (FCAP).

The Center for Student and Community Engagement (SCE) has offered the First-Year Community Action Program (FCAP) since 2006. “Students get to meet members from our local community and student leaders, and make friends before the start of classes,” said Kelsey D’Andrea, coordinator of civic engagement and leadership at SCE.

But the program has a higher purpose: to instill in students the importance of community service and build within them empathy, kindness, and compassion for people experiencing poverty, mental health issues, disability or other challenges. Students report being changed by their FCAP experiences and returning to lead future groups.

The program was recognized by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), which named it a 2022 Circle of Excellence Bronze Award winner for student engagement. According to a judge: “This unique and impactful bridge program (incoming freshmen transition to college life) changed lives! You provided your incoming freshmen with an unforgettable experience that set the tone for the rest of their college career.”

The FCAP Class of 2027 Jumps Into Action

This year, 40 participants volunteered at Crossroads FarmMOMMAS HouseNorthport VA Medical Center and The Village of Hempstead. Their activities included gardening, painting, weeding, cleaning out a garage and separating donated clothing and other items. Back on campus, they held a Can Castles event, in which they created attention-getting structures out of more than 200 canned food items and then donated those items to the Panther Pantry.

After putting in the work, students stayed for Welcome Weekend and Orientation, a three-day extravaganza of fun events and activities where students connect with their fellow Panthers, explore the campus, attend a job and internship fair, and take advantage of leadership and involvement opportunities.

D’Andrea said, “FCAP has kickstarted these students’ journeys at Adelphi, and we are eager to see how they grow throughout their time here!”

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