Efforts to help college students cope with stress, have a better focus in class, and be more productive, have earned Alfred State a bronze award in a national competition. NASPA, an association of student affairs administrators in higher education, gave the college this national honor in the category of student health, wellness, and counseling.
“We are pleased to honor Alfred State with this award,” stated Kevin Kruger, NASPA president. “The NASPA Excellence Awards were created to recognize student affairs practitioners who develop transformative, innovative, and data-driven programs. Congratulations and best wishes for the continued success of your program.”
Hollie Hall, senior director of Health and Wellness Services, said her team is committed to meeting the needs of students through a wellness lens.
“The Journey to Wellness Program is an integral piece to the arsenal of inclusive services we provide here at Alfred State,” Hall said. “Additionally, the three MindSpas are an example of the infusion of evidence-based practice and innovation. Winning the NASPA bronze award brings credibility to the Journey to Wellness Program, and I envision future awards as we do more assessment on the effectiveness of this program. Students are learning how to self-regulate emotions, all while experiencing the benefits of self-care.”
In an effort to meet the needs of the college community, Health and Wellness Services recognized the importance of providing students with the skills necessary to manage stress. That led to creation of the Journey to Wellness Program to encompass innovative services that focus on student health and well-being to eliminate stress and increase productivity.
The innovative program began in 2012 when the first MindSpa opened in T.A. Parish Hall. Usage numbers and student satisfaction surveys supported the addition of a second MindSpa in 2014, located on the Wellsville campus in the Pioneer Student Union.
Consistently, student satisfaction survey and usage numbers supported the need for a third MindSpa in 2016, known as the Oasis, which is located in the Student Leadership Center. The Oasis is the hub for Journey to Wellness Programming, and allows students to utilize the MindSpa’s complementary and alternative medicine modalities after normal business hours. A MindSpa is a relaxation room that includes complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) modalities such as aromatherapy, biofeedback training, guided meditation, and massage chairs.
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCAAM) has defined (CAM) as being “a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not presently considered to be a part of conventional medicine.” The response has proven that students are in favor of such services.
NASPA originally stood for National Association of Student Personnel Administrators. The association’s description changed to student affairs administrators in higher education, while the acronym has not changed. NASPA Excellence Awards recognize the contributions of members who are transforming higher education through outstanding programs, innovative services, and effective administration.
Alfred State is cooking up changes to its culinary arts program and public dining options. The goals for the improvements are to better prepare Alfred State culinary arts students for the current food services industry, as well as improve the experience for patrons.
As a result, Alfred State will expand lunch fine dining to five days a week and will be open one night per month for unique themed events including both buffet and fine dining options.
According to Deb Burch, chair of the Culinary Arts Department, the new changes this fall will include:
Additionally, Burch said, students will be managing the restaurant and preparing the meals under the guidance of multiple faculty members. They will also have a greater opportunity to plan and execute a menu of their design, and will benefit from a progressive team teaching style, giving them the ability to develop and explore a variety of cooking techniques under the tutelage and expertise of chef instructors.
In addition to planning and preparing the meals, students will further benefit from hands-on training in areas related to “front-of-the-house” service, including ordering, presentation, appearance, and professionalism – all focused areas that aim to achieve expert levels of student proficiency.
“The Culinary Arts Department also hopes to be taking on special event caterings, which will teach our students how to accommodate customers and their requests,” Burch added. “The goal is to afford our students variety and expertise in all situations, making them invaluable to their employers.”
Dr. Skip Sullivan, president of Alfred State, said, “The new changes to our traditional fine dining are another example of how our college is constantly evolving and improving its programs’ curricula to meet the current demands of industry. Not only will culinary students benefit, but our patrons will as well, and because of this, we are very excited about the changes going forward.”
Dr. Kristin Poppo, provost at Alfred State, said attendance for the college’s traditional fine dining offering has decreased over the years, which is another reason for the changes.
“I am thrilled by the changes in the culinary arts program, which will maintain training in fine dining, while adding more contemporary trends such as farm to table and international cuisine,” Poppo said. “Closer collaboration between our farm and culinary program will truly benefit students in both programs.”
Jeffrey Stevens, interim dean of the School of Applied Technology, said, "Maintaining the highest quality of education for our students and excellent service to the public are the focus of these changes. I am pleased to see these enhancements to the dining venue, which will continue to offer our students training exceeding the industry’s expectations, while serving the public with new and unique dining experiences."
Alfred State also recently unveiled a newly renovated space for baked goods now called the Hank and Evelyn Turner Pastry Emporium in honor of a longtime supporter of the culinary arts programs. The facility includes a new refrigerated bakery case, as well as a new island cupboard with a granite countertop constructed by building trades: building construction students. The emporium will also be open during weekday lunch hours.