RVCC Honors Late Student Leader for Work with College’s Food Pantry
Some 75 students, faculty, staff and special guests gathered October 22 at the Raritan Valley Community College Campus Resource Center to celebrate the life of Jennifer Biniek, a RVCC Social Work student who passed away last May.
Biniek was a beloved student and also the coordinator at the Food Pantry, an integral part of the RVCC’s Campus Resource Center that focuses on assisting food-deprived students.
Biniek’s passion for helping the underserved and food-deprived student populations grew from her own humble upbringing but expanded appreciably after taking a “Poverty and Society” class at RVCC. Her instructor, Professor Alicia Liss, who spoke at the ceremony, remembered Biniek as an “exceptionally caring and committed” student leader.
The ceremony also featured remarks from Professor Karen L. Gutshall-Seidman, Campus Resource Center director; student Jennifer Clock, Campus Resource Center coordinator; Provost Deborah Preston; and Olivia Picard, a student leader who represented “Communities of Tomorrow,” an RVCC student organization focused on supporting the work of the Resource Center. Members of Biniek’s family, including her husband Brian Biniek, also attended the event.
Michael Goldberg, a trustee of the J.S. Henderson Scholarship Fund, along with fellow trustee and treasurer, Paul Foreman, presented a check for $1,000 to the RVCC Resource Center in Biniek’s name. Michael Marion, Executive Director of the RVCC Foundation, also committed $1,000 from the RVCC Foundation and another $1,000 from local philanthropists, Don and Penny Pray, in honor of Biniek’s impact at RVCC.
J.S. Henderson Scholarship Fund is focused on awarding funds to financially challenged adults who are serious about pursuing career-related programs of study. The fund bears the name of Jessamine S. Henderson and was founded in 1986, shortly after her death, to honor the work of Mrs. Henderson in adult education and to carry it on by bringing opportunities to persons who want to further themselves.
RVCC’s Campus Resource Center assists students in completing college certificate and degree programs by building resources to address non-academic barriers to student success. While the Resource Center attempts to create a student-centered, welcoming environment in which students have access to grab-and-go food items, snacks, and beverages along with individualized information and referral assistance, the Resource Center’s Food Pantry assists students experiencing food insecurity at home with access to an assortment of food, hygiene and household supplies. Together these entities, largely student run, are addressing the well-documented national basic needs crisis facing today’s college students.
Ranked by BestColleges.com, WalletHub.com, and Niche.com as the #1 community college in New Jersey, Raritan Valley Community College has been serving as an academic and cultural center for Somerset and Hunterdon County residents for over 50 years. The College has been nationally recognized for its service to the community, environmental stewardship, and commitment to diversity. It is home to a Planetarium, Science Education Institute and 3M Observatory; a 1,000-seat Theatre offering professional performances for all ages; and an Honors College for high achieving students.
The College offers more than 90 associate degrees and certificates, as well as career training, small business assistance through the Small Business Development Center, and professional development courses. RVCC is located at 118 Lamington Road in Branchburg, NJ. For further information, visit www.raritanval.edu.
[Photo caption]: Participating in a check presentation ceremony at the Raritan Valley Community College Campus Resource Center, at an event celebrating the life of Jennifer Biniek, are, from left, Mike Marion, Executive Director, RVCC Foundation; Deborah Preston, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, RVCC; Lisa Erickson (Jennifer Biniek’s sister); Janice Kaufman (Jennifer Biniek’s mom); Michael Goldberg, trustee, J.S. Henderson Scholarship Fund; and Brian Biniek (Jennifer Biniek’s husband).
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 13, 2019
Media contact: Donna Stolzer, 908-526-1200, ext. 8383