For the seventh year in a row, some Alfred State senior building trades: building construction students are heading south to put their skills to work helping those in need.
Accompanied by retired Building Trades Associate Professor Norm Ellis, the 14 Semester in the South students departed from Alfred Friday for Scottsboro, AL, where they’ll spend six weeks working with the National Park Service at Russell Cave National Monument to convert ranger housing into classrooms to offer more educational opportunities. The next six weeks will be spent in New Orleans, where the Alfred State group will once again partner with St. Anna’s Episcopal Church, working on renovating houses and small businesses, and repurposing a mansion built in 1846 into a school and arts center for the Treme neighborhood.
Participating students this year include Cullen Ball, of Lewiston; Vito Diorio, of Staten Island; Tom Guinta, of Livonia; John Kimmel, of Wayland; Francesca Mastrobattisto, of Baldwinsville; Dakota Matthie, of Madrid; Joe Miraglia, of Byron; Nathan Piegdon, of Elmira; Kyle Rosenzweig, of Webster; James Venticinque, of Rochester; Brian Williams, of Oswego; Robert Zaccaria, of White Plains; Ryan Reynolds, of Linwood; and David Stalker, of Walworth. The group is expected to return to Alfred Nov. 19.
Education, Ellis said, is best when it can be described as an adventure, which is what the college is providing with Semester in the South in terms of new cultures, climates, people, work experiences, food, and traditions.
“I still get excited about that adventure and I know these students are going to look back to Semester in the South as one of the best adventures they ever had,” he said.
Diorio noted that he is looking forward to gaining real-life experience and assisting those in need.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to go down there and help out,” he said.
For Mastrobattisto, the opportunity to participate in Semester in the South is one she has been eagerly anticipating since she first came to Alfred State for her college visit.
“I’m very excited,” she said. “I’m most looking forward to making connections, learning a lot, getting a sense of the different cultures, and just going down there to help because that’s the main reason we’re going.”
Alfred State officially welcomed more than 1,400 freshmen to campus Thursday morning during a New Student Convocation led by President Dr. Skip Sullivan at the Orvis Activities Center.
This year’s incoming class consists of 1,443 students from 61 of New York’s 62 counties and 19 additional states, plus 22 international students from 10 countries. Of these new students, 97 have been identified as Alfred State Distinguished Scholars and 194 additional students have been offered other scholarships in recognition of their outstanding academic achievements, exceptional vocational skills, and extraordinary talents outside of the classroom. A number of students also bring with them previous work experience, military experience, and successful college course work.
Speaking first to students, Sullivan provided a brief history of Alfred State. He then mentioned some of the new and exciting things happening at the college, Alfred State’s emphasis on hands-on learning, and the fact that students have many opportunities to get involved on campus.
“I hope you are excited to be starting your college career here,” Sullivan said. “We are delighted to have you as part of the Alfred State family.”
Also speaking about the Alfred State family was Patricia K. Fogarty, College Council chair, who assured students that though they may face problems or concerns, they will receive help along the way. She also urged students to step outside their comfort zones, explore cultural activities, support the college’s athletic teams, and to take advantage of the college’s many civic engagement opportunities.
“You are entering a great adventure,” she said. “Take this opportunity by the tail and give it a spin. The future is yours, and we are here to help you reach your goals.”
Dr. Kristin Poppo, provost, spoke about the college’s excellent programs, faculty, co-curricular opportunities, and available student support. Her greatest hope, she told the students, is that in two, three, four, or five years, she will shake their hand and give them their diploma on their graduation day.
“My hope is on that day, you are not only more prepared to embark on your career or more education, but that you have learned more about yourself and who you want to be in the world,” she said. “I hope that you will have found purpose in your life, and that when you walk across that stage, you will do so with a recognition of how you can help create a better world.”
Greg Sammons, vice president for Student Affairs, then introduced students to Alfred State’s “Principles of Community” and Student Senate President Katherine Holmok, a business administration major from Prattsville, led students, faculty, and staff in reciting the college oath.
After Sullivan’s concluding remarks, students, faculty, and staff headed to Pioneer Stadium to create a human Alfred State logo for a photo session, which was followed by food, music, and activities outdoors nearby the stadium.
The passion that Alfred State students have for helping out the community and those in need is undeniable, even for those who haven’t yet set foot in the classroom.
On Tuesday, Aug. 23, a total of 93 incoming students took part in Community Action Day, held during the college’s annual Week of Welcome. Designed with new students in mind, the week includes a number of events that are intended to help students have fun, get involved, and feel at home.
This year, Community Action Day included projects in churches, libraries, and other non-profit organizations in Alfred, Allentown, Almond, Belmont, Hornell, and Wellsville. These included organizing the community rooms in the basement of the Almond 20th Century Club Library, landscaping and gardening at the Hart Comfort House in Wellsville, and cleaning up outside the Alfred United Methodist Church.
Jonathan Hilsher, director of the Center for Civic Engagement at Alfred State, said, “Community Action Day is a great tradition that allows new students to build friendships, volunteer alongside partnering non-profit organizations, and connect with their new community. This tradition is one way Alfred State lives out our ongoing commitment to civic engagement.”
Bo Glover, an architecture major from Rochester, was one of several incoming students who helped pound trail signage into the ground along the new Pioneer Trail on the Alfred campus. She said she has always done volunteer work in her hometown and decided Community Action Day was a great way to get to know the campus and to give back to the community she is now a part of.
“It feels great,” she said. “I hope to be more active in the community and to also take on more of a leadership role in the future.”
Civic engagement is a key focus at Alfred State, with students, faculty, and staff taking part in days of service such as Celebrate Service Celebrate Allegany and Spring Into Action, and volunteering out-of-state in places such as South Carolina and New Orleans.
The number of service hours contributed by Alfred State’s students has seen significant increases in recent years. Through internships, clinical treatments, and volunteering, the number of service hours has climbed by more than 10 percent per year and has surpassed 80,000 hours of community service per school year.
With a new school year getting underway, Alfred State students will soon become involved in activities, further their hands-on education, and find opportunities to hone leadership skills that prove valuable later in life. These type of experiences can have a profound impact on students, as thousands of the college’s graduates have risen to the top of their company, as owner, president, director, CEO, or a similar position.
These alums’ businesses are spread out all over the country, from Massachusetts, to Florida, and as far west as Hawaii. Their concentrations range from auto parts and service, to auctioneering, to carpentry, to court reporting, and much, much more.
Nearly 1,600 alums who are business chiefs have stayed in constant contact with Alfred State’s Alumni Relations Office. Out of those:
The college has been honored to host many of these civic leaders on campus to award them with honorary degrees, including:
John Coughlin, a 1978 graduate of the heavy equipment maintenance technology/ technician program, is now the president and CEO of the Linder Industrial Machinery Company based out of Plant City, FL. Coughlin remembers fondly how his professors prepared him.
“They helped you identify your strengths, insisted that you talk to the class about what you had discovered, and prepared you for public speaking and things that you don’t recognize the importance of when they’re putting you through it,” he said.
Long before they became heads of their own companies, however, these alums and many others started out as first-year Pioneers. Though these graduates may have taken different paths, the common thread that ties all these stories together is Alfred State.
“These alums who have risen to the top of their profession are not only an inspiration, but are also an example of the high quality of education and experiences that all Pioneers receive,” said President Dr. Skip Sullivan. “Many of our graduates say Alfred State helped provide a solid base for their future and played a key role in getting them to where they are today. I am extremely proud of all our alumni, students, faculty, and staff, and tremendously gratified to know that our college is making a difference in so many lives and in the world we live in.”
Alums are always encouraged to let the college know about their careers and to keep in communication with Alumni Relations. To contact the office, call 607-587-3930 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to a new report from the New York Power Authority, no similar-sized SUNY campuses perform better than Alfred State for the least amount of energy used per square footage. Several campus buildings were approximately 40 percent more energy efficient than the average among college campuses across the country.
“As we maintain our facilities and update them, energy efficiency is a priority,” said Alfred State President Dr. Skip Sullivan. “Not only are efficiency initiatives good for the environment, they also afford us the opportunity to practice what we teach regarding sustainability and our instruction in green energy jobs. Plus, these efficiencies give us an immediate bonus by lowering our ongoing energy costs.”
Through evaluating building-by-building benchmarks, the college as a whole performed very well in the Preliminary Energy Analysis report which was not weather-normalized. According to the analysis, out of seven similar-sized SUNY campuses, Alfred State’s energy consumption is noticeably lower than five of them, and ties results for first place.
The Student Leadership Center, Shults Hall, the Veterinary Technology Center, and the Hinkle Memorial Library are the top-performing facilities when energy consumption is analyzed by the Energy Utilization Index (EUI). When benchmarked against other college and university facilities nationwide, these four buildings consume approximately 40 percent less energy according to their EUI score.
Providing testament to the effectiveness of the college’s sustainability-related efforts, the analysis concludes that the college takes a truly preventive approach when allocating resources for equipment maintenance, instead of a reactive approach or waiting for equipment to fail. The report further states that maintenance has helped to preserve assets beyond their expected life cycle, and inspections reveal “a pride of workmanship on the part of facility staff.”
The energy analysis also identified opportunities for further energy efficiency by continuing adoption of smart controls to automatically save energy when areas are unoccupied, use of more high-efficiency interior lights and installation of sub-metering to further pinpoint energy usage.
Whether it’s complex programs like installation of highly efficient decentralized boilers, or more simple advice to encourage users to save energy and to recycle waste, Director of Facilities Operations Glenn Brubaker said being environmentally conscious is simply “the right thing to do.”
“Our society has become much more aware of global warming and the effects of energy misuse,” he said. “In many cases it also saves a lot of money and sometimes it is just putting simple practices into place that can make a big difference over time.”
As a new academic year gets underway, President Dr. Skip Sullivan encouraged all faculty and staff to be the very best they can be during his Opening Remarks speech Thursday.
“As I look at Alfred State now and Alfred State in the future, my desire personally is to ensure that the college is even better than when I arrived, and that it can sustain the great culture and caring nature that those of us have worked so very hard to preserve,” Sullivan told the employees in attendance.
In some respects, Sullivan said, Alfred State can argue that it is the best, noting that a 99 percent employment and continuing education rate is hard to beat. He then asked faculty and staff to consider whether their division or department is the best it can be.
“You might say, ‘Well, how do we measure this?’ There are plenty of measures,” Sullivan said, “from meeting goals, to timeliness of reporting, pass rates, student success, our budget position, partnership with industry, technology, growth, all of the metrics we have within SUNY Excels, the list goes on.”
The president also asked employees to ponder whether Alfred State graduates’ personalities and characteristics reflect “who we are as a college and the people who have been instrumental in their education.”
“In other words,” Sullivan said, “are they now the most excellent, effective, desirable folks that they can be as a result of spending time with our employees and the behavior they have modeled? Just as our kids mimic our behavior, students during their formative years model the behavior they see, whether it’s mine, yours, or somebody else’s.”
Sullivan concluded by pointing out that the best are always striving to be better, and urged all employees to do the same.
“Be the best. Help make Alfred State the best,” he said. “We’re proud to be Pioneers and we’re really good at a lot of things, but strive to be the best. I want Alfred State to be the very best it can be.”
Prior to his speech, the president awarded Mark Amman, chair of the Physical and Life Sciences Department, with the Innovation Award for his dedication, commitment, and creativity in advancing Alfred State.
While completing his regular administrative work as department chair, Amman has also managed the development and approval of three new academic programs within the past year: health sciences, radiologic technology, and diagnostic medical sonography. Though these new programs were the creation of many hands, Amman provided exceptional initiative and leadership in coordinating and directing work, keeping various teams on task, and ensuring each step is completed within the necessary time frame.
In addition to his central message, the president also spoke about recent projects, accomplishments, new programs and those in development, the college budget, admissions figures, and more. Keeping with the theme of Sullivan’s presentation, faculty and staff upon departing the auditorium were each presented with blue ribbons similar to those given for “Best in Show” prizes at fairs.