News Release: SUNY Poly Students Help Bring the Spirit of the Season to Area Families

News Release: SUNY Poly Students Help Bring the Spirit of the Season to Area Families

Thursday, December 21, 2017 - 11:49
In the News
2017 Toy Drive 800x680

For Release:          Immediate – December 21, 2017

Contact:                 Dave Dellecese, Public Affairs Specialist ­

                        (315) 792-7307 |


SUNY Poly Students Help Bring the Spirit of the Season to Area Families

Student club volunteers organize toy drive for Oneida Square Project


Utica – Students from SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s (SUNY Poly’s) Allied Health Club who are majoring in Psychology and Sociology helped make the holidays a little brighter for area families through support of a toy drive for the Oneida Square Project Black Friday Sale.


Now in its fifth year, the Oneida Square Project works with different social agencies to hold an event for families in need of a hand-up during the holiday season, selling the new items that have been donated on Black Friday at 80% off the retail price. The agencies refer the individual families to the Oneida Square Project and those families then receive an invitation to attend the event where they are able to purchase from the selection of toys that have been reduced in price.


“The dedication of our students on display with this toy drive and event is a wonderful example of their sense of community, as well as a testament to their high-quality of character,” said Dr. Bahgat Sammakia, Interim President of SUNY Poly. “We are incredibly proud of them and the helping hand that they are providing to area families.”


Though the sale event has occurred for five years now, this was the first time that SUNY Poly students have been involved. Students from the Allied Health Club (formerly known as the Psychology-Sociology Club) contacted the Oneida Square Project Executive Vice President of Operations, who is also Office Manager for the SUNY Poly College Association, and wanted know how they could help. 


“The compassion and initiative our students show by reaching out to those in need is a wonderful example of what it means to be a part of the SUNY Poly community,” said Dr. William Durgin, SUNY Poly Provost. “These students exhibit the true spirit of the season and embody what it means to be leaders.”


The students spent several weeks collecting toys and gifts for children and teenagers up to 18 years old, with collection boxes set up in the College Association, the SUNY Poly Bookstore, the University Police office, the Nursing Department, and one box in Residential Life. Students from the Allied Health Club also served as volunteers at the event itself on Black Friday.


This year’s Oneida Square project Black Friday Sale served more than 250 area children.


“I was overwhelmed and extremely grateful. The students not only organized the toy drive, but they also came and helped set up the event and worked it,” said Diana DiPrimo, Executive Vice President of Operations for the Oneida Square Project and Office Manager for the SUNY Poly College Association. “The format of the event creates a sense of dignity for the families where they’re able to come and choose the gift for their child as opposed to someone giving them something. They’re paying for it, so they still get to provide for their family.”


The Oneida Square Project is an organization dedicated to addressing the needs of the community and transforming the area known as Oneida Square in downtown Utica. The group organizes a variety of events to help build, develop, and foster the community.






About SUNY Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly)

SUNY Poly is New York’s globally recognized, high-tech educational ecosystem. SUNY Poly offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the emerging disciplines of nanoscience and nanoengineering, as well as cutting-edge nanobioscience and nanoeconomics programs at its Albany campus, and undergraduate and graduate degrees in technology, including engineering, cybersecurity, computer science, and the engineering technologies; professional studies, including business, communication, and nursing; and arts and sciences, including natural sciences, mathematics, humanities, and social sciences at its Utica/Rome campus; thriving athletic, recreational, and cultural programs, events, and activities complement the campus experience. As the world’s most advanced, university-driven research enterprise, SUNY Poly boasts billions of dollars in high-tech investments and hundreds of corporate partners since its inception. For information visit