Joshua Klimaszewski ’14, a native of Massapequa, N.Y., who is an electrical engineering major, has been awarded the Frederick M. Nussbaum ’30 Memorial Award for Outstanding Volunteerism. The award is granted to an outstanding senior in recognition of his or her volunteer activities on the Rensselaer campus or his or her civic involvement in bettering the local community and its residents.
The award was created by Jim Ferguson ’53 and his family in recognition of their father’s volunteer activities on not only the Rensselaer campus but also in the broader community of Troy. Klimaszewski was presented with a check for $1,000 during Family Weekend.
“The Nussbaum Award, developed by Jim Ferguson ’53 and his family, gives Rensselaer the opportunity to honor a student who exemplifies unselfish caring for their community as demonstrated by volunteerism and civic engagement,” said Cameron McLean, director of student activities in the Rensselaer Union. “By instilling an appreciation of those values, Joshua serves as a role model for other students to emulate.”
Since the fall of 2011, Klimaszewski has been involved in a series of RPI Relief efforts for the victims of Hurricane Irene and Hurricane Sandy. The RPI Relief program is focused on raising awareness and funds, as well as coordinating volunteer initiatives when disaster strikes an area.
“Josh has actively participated in a variety of service and community-building efforts as well as recruited and encouraged other volunteers in their participation, including not only his fraternity brothers and their friends, but also many others,” said Cynthia Smith, assistant dean of students and director of pipeline initiatives and partnerships.
“Josh is not afraid to get his hands dirty, especially during our most challenging first trip to Prattsville in September 2011, where he and several other volunteers spent most of the day removing debris from a basement along the Schoharie Creek,” Smith said. “Over the course of his sophomore year, he made a number of trips to the Schoharie region, helping with whatever needed to be done at the moment. His ongoing commitment has been vital to the success of Rensselaer’s relief efforts to assist those in need.”
“I am extremely honored to receive the Nussbaum Award,” said Klimaszewski. “At Rensselaer, I have participated in many volunteer activities through campus groups. When Hurricane Irene struck the Northeast in 2011, my peers and I wanted to help local communities affected by natural disasters. We worked to form the campus group known as RPI Relief: Mighty Waters. Mighty Waters organizes service projects to benefit local communities by engaging students, faculty, and campus groups. Most service trips include assisting local community members to repair property damage caused by natural disasters, in addition to facilitating community building activities.”
“Josh’s involvement over time has been consistent, and the depth of his commitment has grown,” Smith added. “The success of the RPI Relief and Mighty Waters initiatives are largely due to his unwavering commitment to the causes and his quiet leadership on the front lines and behind the scenes, encouraging others to get involved and helping them to understand that their work, no matter how inconsequential it may seem, is making a difference to the communities our efforts touch.”