The Student Affairs Committee (SAC) continues to be a committed and hard-working governance group. In addition to serving as the student co-chair, Timothy Minahan also serves on the Alumni Federation Board. Two face-to-face meetings and two full-committee conference calls were held this year. During the June 2011 governance retreat, the committee elected to form working subcommittees to focus on individual initiatives. The working subcommittees met independently of the full committee, and each of the subcommittees is led by an elected chair. These independent meetings were usually conducted via conference call. On Oct. 14, 2011, the full group met in White Plains, N.Y. for our first face-to-face meeting. Immediately following the meeting, the committee members went on to attend the Seventh Annual Student Academic Conference (StAC). The full committee met for their final face-to-face meeting at the Mar. 28, 2012 All College Meeting.
During the June 2011 governance retreat, SAC identified the following initiatives to focus on. Below is the SAC 2011–2012 governance year in review:
The Student Engagement subcommittee formed out of a desire to engage the student body at a local and college-wide level. The subcommittee has done extensive research into Student Ambassador Programs. This study was done in an effort to enhance our existing Student Ambassador Program which is currently under-utilized by the student body.
In addition, the subcommittee has decided to hold a collegewide election event in 2012. Nov. 1, 2012 has been saved on the collegewide calendar. This date coincides with “Non-Traditional Students Week.” Representatives from each center have been identified to lead the event at their home location. The event is intended to educate the student body about the election process. Topics will include: the importance of voting, the electoral college, an overview of the different branches of government and information about various national leagues that encourage informed and active participation in government. Centers are considering hosting voter registration tables, as well. Additionally, the event will include at least one main speaker and possibly a panel of speakers. The subcommittee plans to utilize the colleges' video conferencing equipment to ensure that all centers can participate. Coordination and logistics for the event are taking place via monthly conference calls.
The Student Connection Newsletter, which was initiated by the 2010-2011 SAC committee, was an item that the 2011-2012 SAC committee focused their attention on. As of Feb. 7, 2012, 32 issues of the newsletter have been published. Northeast Center student SAC representative Danielle Clum served as the student editor until December 2011. Currently CDL student SAC representative Sandra Barkevich is serving as the student editor and Ms. Clum is serving as assistant editor. In addition, the college is now contracting with committed student writers. These student writers sign an agreement to produce a certain number of articles for pay.
New this year, the newsletter now features a “SAC Corner,” a “Student Alumni Profile” and a “Did You Know” section. These sections are updated regularly. SAC members have been publishing articles for the newsletter throughout the year. Vickie Moller-Pepe, LIC student SAC representative, has published a number of articles about the Seventh Annual Student Academic Conference. Also the committee decided to use the newsletter as a way to communicate with the student body about issues the committee has discussed throughout the year. Amy McQuigge, staff assistant for student services and graduate studies faculty/staff representative for SAC, published an article called “SAC Recognizes Student Services.” The purpose of this article was to inform the student body of the services that are available to them through their local office of student services.
The Financial Literacy subcommittee was formed to stress the importance of financial literacy to the college community. The subcommittee has done significant research into the current availability of college-sponsored financial resources. This has been done in consultation with Kristina Delbridge, director of financial aid. From this research, the subcommittee is hoping to identify areas that would benefit from additional resources such as workshops or FAQ’s. The subcommittee plans to write articles that focus on financial literacy for the Student Connection Newsletter and is looking at ways to partner with local businesses that already offer such resources.
Additionally, Kristina Delbridge and Tim Minahan, SAC student co-chair and vice president of government banking for TD Bank North, prepared and delivered a presentation. The presentation, “Making the Most of Your Money: Best Practices for Obtaining Financial Aid and Tips for Staying Financially Sound While in College and Beyond,” was presented at the Seventh Annual Student Academic Conference in White Plains, N.Y. and was very well attended.
As of Jan. 1, 2012 the college is contracting with an insurance company to offer a full coverage health insurance option to our students. The health insurance initiative was started by the 2010-2011 SAC committee and has come to fruition in the 2011-2012 governance year. There is no cost to the college to offer this program. Articles about the insurance program have been posted in the Exchange, as well as the Student Connection Newsletter. In order to be eligible for the insurance program, a student must be registered for 6 or more credits at a regional center, at the time of enrollment. It is estimated that over 5, 700 students are eligible for coverage. Currently, the plan is being offered to students who are residents of New York, Pennsylvania or New Jersey. At this time, online students who are not enrolled in regional center studies are not eligible for coverage. However, Patricia Myers, director of collegewide student services and administrative liaison to SAC, continues to advocate for the inclusion of online students. We are hopeful that the eligibility criteria will be revisited and revised to include this population going forward. For more information about the health insurance plan, please visit www.cirstudenthealth.com.
The Seventh Annual Student Academic Conference, hosted by the Hudson Valley Center, was held in White Plains, N.Y. on Oct. 14–15, 2011 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. The event was a huge success with attendance topping 200 Empire State College students, faculty, alumni and staff. Over 30 students presented their research, creative and scholarly work, including two international students. Presentations topics ranged from anthropology to nursing. Michael Mancini, assistant to the dean at CNY and Linda Guyette Hamell, director of academic support at HVC were this years’ conference organizers. Dr. Penny Jennings, who earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Empire State College, delivered the keynote address. Jennings is currently the CEO and executive director of Adults Caring for Teens. Adults Caring for Teens is a non-profit group based out of Nyack, N.Y. that provides trained adult mentors to young people between the ages of 5 and 21 years old.
The Eighth Annual Student Academic Conference will be held on Oct. 12–13, 2012 in Buffalo, N.Y. at the Adam’s Mark Hotel. The conference is being hosted by the Niagara Frontier Center and is being organized by Colleen Reedy and Jane Cudmore.
Winners of the 3rd Annual Student Art Competition were announced at the 2011 Student Academic Conference. First place went to Ivy Stevens-Gupta for her acrylic painting, "Field of Flowers." Stevens-Gupta earned her bachelor's degree in business, management and economics with a concentration in marketing from Central New York and is currently pursuing a master of arts in liberal studies at the college's School for Graduate Studies. Rosanne Raneri took second place with her collage, "We Travel." Raneri is a graduate student at the Northeast New York center in Latham, N.Y. Third place went to Joseph Mosner, a Central New York student, for his painting, "Looking Toward the Future." Raven J. Wolf's submission, "Nine Spirits," earned her an honorable mention. "Nine Spirits" was created by using high-quality permanent markers on an elk skin drum that was made by a native Apache.
The 4th Annual Student Art Competition kicked off on Feb. 1, 2012. Students were encouraged to submit a PDF of their artwork through May 4, 2012. Any type/medium of art was accepted for judging. There was a one-submission limit per student. Students could submit their work at www.esc.edu/studentart. On the website, students clicked “New Main Topic” and completed the poster submission form. Questions were directed to Danielle Benedict, student service specialist for the Office of Collegewide Student Affairs.
The Student Affairs Committee decided to send two interested students to the SUNY Faculty Senate poster event, "Discovery: An Undergraduate Showcase." The showcase took place on Feb. 29, 2012 at the Legislative Office Building in Albany, N.Y. The event was an opportunity for undergraduate students to display their scholarly work to the public and to New York state legislators. Students were notified of this opportunity via email and were encouraged to submit their poster description, an electronic mock-up and a faculty recommendation to Danielle Benedict by Dec. 12, 2011. Submissions were then reviewed by a faculty committee which selected two individuals to represent Empire State College.
Janine Carchidi, a mentee of Martha Jean Schecter, represented Empire State College at the event. Janine's poster, “Advocacy By Design,” was creativity-based. Janine is a CDL student from Accord, N.Y. Veronica Baiamont, a mentee of Nicola Martinez, also represented Empire State College at the event with the poster, “Developing an assessment rubric to evaluate digital and media literacy activities.” Veronica, also a CDL student, traveled to the event from Denver, Colo.
The Educational Technology Committee (ETC) consulted with SAC regarding student access to technology. ETC has since developed a resolution and recommendations document that is being discussed at Senate. SAC has reviewed the resolution and recommendations document and is in full support.
During the 2011-2012 governance year, SAC brought two bylaw revision proposals to Senate, with regards to membership of SAC and the ETC. The bylaw revision process is ongoing.
All students who serve on governance committees are eligible for a scholarship for one study. Students are required to show significant involvement with the committee, the college senate or the college council. Students are required to submit a letter of recommendation from the committee chair or liaison, as well as a statement describing their involvement in the committee’s work. In the 2011-2012 governance year, four students were awarded with this scholarship.
Timothy Minahan, student co-chair Amy Costantino, faculty/staff co-chair