INSIDE BINGHAMTON UNIVERSITY
Volunteer’s work benefits peers, local children
By : Greg Norman
On Friday nights, when most students devote their time to leisurely activities after a week of schoolwork, Shmuel Bushwick heads to the kitchen of Chabad House to help coordinate the serving of a meal for 350 students.
As one of three kitchen managers, Bushwick spends five hours per shift leading student chefs as they platter and serve the facility’s Shabbat dinner, a weekly Jewish tradition.
“We’re there to make sure all the food is coming out of the ovens, getting on plates and getting it out to everybody,” he said. “It’s a three- to four-course meal, so a lot of work goes on behind the scenes.”
At the end of each night, the 21-year-old Scranton native sees his hard work pay off.
“You look around and everyone’s eating, and suddenly you get to take a breath and sit down,” Bushwick said. “It’s the best feeling you can get — it’s utter relaxation.”
Outside of coordinating dinners, Bushwick is the chairman of the Chabad House’s Barry J Raff Maasim Tovim Foundation, a volunteer corps of more than 50 students.
“They visit with local nursing homes and hospitals to make sure that Jewish elderly in the region who don’t have family or people coming to see them get a visit once a week or so,” he said.
Since taking over as chairman of the foundation in August 2008, Bushwick has expanded its ranks from five to more than 50 students, and his efforts have not gone unnoticed by Chabad House Rabbi Aaron Slonim.
“He’s involved in many capacities in our organization and has assisted our programs on and off campus,” he said. “It expresses exactly who Shmuel is … a person who is ready to give up his own comfort and personal pleasures to help out others, and he has pleasure doing it.”
On campus, Bushwick has instructed martial arts, been a teaching and resident assistant and is the president of the Rho Lambda chapter of the National Residence Hall Honorary (NRHH).
Through NRHH, a residential life leadership organization, Bushwick participates in Hand 2 Heart, a holiday gift collection for children.
With the help of the Salvation Army and the Wyoming Conference Children’s Home, 35 volunteers in the fall semester collected gift bags donated by Binghamton’s residence halls and campus offices, that were then redistributed to financially-burdened families.
“This year from the Wyoming Conference Children’s Home we got a letter back from a young girl who really appreciated the gifts and that made my holiday,” Bushwick said.
“We were able to pass that card around to everyone in our organization, and people were overjoyed with the fact that we were able to make a difference.”
Bushwick, a political science major, was inspired to come to Binghamton University by his father, Nathaniel Bushwick ’95, who graduated from the school with a doctorate. He said he still remembers his father’s Commencement ceremony.
A week after graduating, Bushwick will move from his suburban Scranton home to an apartment in New York City to attend the Cordoza School of Law.
He hopes to use a law degree to pursue a career in international relations.