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LIC-CASC Walk for Hope

By Layla Abdullah-Poulos ’10, graduate student, SUNY Empire State College

September 24, 2015

Empire State College student members of the Long Island Center Community Action Student Club stop for a picture as they participate in the Walk for Hope by Families in Support of Treatment (FIST).Drug addiction is a devastating condition affecting millions of suffers and their families. Members of the Long Island Center Community Action Student Club (LIC-CASC) joined Families in Support of Treatment (F.I.S.T) for the organization’s inaugural Uniting Long Island for Recovery: Walk for Hope in Suffolk County, New York.  The purpose of the walk was to raise awareness about the rising tide of drug addiction.

F.I.S.T. hosted The Walk for Hope. According to the organization’s website, F.I.S.T was created to “help families who have loved ones that are struggling with the disease of addiction.” The 2012 Suffolk County Supreme Court Special grand jury reveals increased heroine arrests (170 percent), oxycodone prescriptions (70 percent), and overdoses from opioids (69 percent) in Suffolk County.

Participants met at the great lawn of SUNY Farmingdale State College. In addition to the walk, there was live music and entertainment, activities for kids, food, speakers and a resource fair.

LIC-CASC’s Purpose

The primary objective of the LIC-CASC student club is to provide students with opportunities to engage in activities that help improve the lives of people in their communities. “Participation in events such as this expose us to the realities of the movements happening around us,” club president Robyn McGee told The Student Connection. McGee explained why LIC-CASC members chose to participate in the walk. "It isn't just important for ESC students to raise awareness about drug addiction, but for every single person in our communities to do so.”

When asked about the importance of consciousness-raising activities for the SUNY Empire State College student’s academic experience, McGee asserted that the various activities promoted through LIC-CASC membership involve making important connections in the community. “Beyond learning about the causes for which we walk or raise funds or raise awareness, it exposes us to other people. The Empire experience can be a somewhat isolated one. We learn from everyone we meet, we gather resources for others, and we gain relationships.”

In addition to fostering communal ties, the student group’s members have structured a support system for one another. “Our club has also fostered great relationships,” McGee told The Student Connection. “Our meetings touch upon our projects and our ideas, but occasionally become a support group or networking session. We are helpers who are driven to assist others, so we take care of each other, too.”

Future Events

LIC-CASC has numerous events slated for the 2015-2016 academic year. The club’s next event will be to participate in "Let's Walk, Let's Talk 2015," an event benefiting the Long Island Crisis Center's 24/7 suicide/crisis hotline on September 20th. “The spring will also bring a parental advocacy workshop to assist our student body in supporting their children as they traverse obstacles in seeking treatment for a variety of "diagnoses,” said McGee.

“We are all eager to help, and we are eager to expand,” McGee told The Student Connection.

To join, or to request more information, please contact Robyn McGee at ESC.LIC.CASC@gmail.com or robynhiller@yahoo.com.

For more information on LIC-CASC and other SUNY Empire State College student groups, visit the college’s Student Clubs page.

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