Held at Alfred State for the first time ever Aug. 4-6, this year’s Grasstravaganza event was a “huge success,” according to Dr. Phil Schroeder, chair of the Agriculture and Veterinary Technology Department.
Roughly 120 people attended the three-day event for farmers, conservationists, and consumers who are interested in soil health, grazing, and sustainable agriculture. Grasstravaganza featured presentations from nationally recognized grazing and soil health experts, specialized workshops, and a trade show.
Attendees were also able to take tours of farms in West Sparta, Angelica, Birdsall, and even Alfred State’s own 800-acre farm, which is home to horses, alpacas, swine, poultry, sheep, and both conventional and organic dairy herds.
“We had fantastic speakers and workshops, and ACES did an awesome job with providing the food,” Schroeder said. “Grasstravaganza was a huge success, as we received an even greater number of attendees than we had anticipated. I would say it is very likely Alfred State will host this event again.”
Alfred State would like to thank its fellow sponsors of this year’s Grasstravaganza, including the United States Department of Agriculture, the New York Grazing Coalition, Cornell University Cooperative Extension, the Allegany County Soil and Water Conservation District, the Steuben County Soil and Water Conservation District, Agri-Dynamics, Animal Welfare Approved, Steuben Trust Corporation, Dairy One Forage Laboratory, CRV, King’s AgriSeeds Inc., Maple Hill Creamery, Organic Valley, Farm Credit East.
When it comes to creating portraits, some artists choose to work with more traditional mediums, such as acrylic, watercolor, or charcoal.
But for Amelia Fais Harnas, the medium of choice is a more unique one: red wine.
From celebrities to politicians to family members, Harnas has created many realistic portraits out of red wine, and from Aug. 29 through Sept. 30, the public will have a chance to view a series of 14 all-new wine stain self-portraits at the Hinkle Memorial Library.
About four years ago, Harnas said, her wine stain portraits began to attract a lot of attention on the Internet, though at around the same time, she started experiencing increasing trouble with her complexion. She was eventually diagnosed with rosacea.
“Of course, the irony was not lost on me, since red wine has long been thought to be the cause of rosacea,” she said. “So, taking inspiration from Monica Castillo’s brutally honest self-portraits, it is all too appropriate for me to finally create a series of self-portraits illustrating my plight using the very medium that many believe triggers it.”
Titled “#nomakeup,” the exhibit’s featured wines stains are all selfies on square pieces of white fabric with white prints, “intended to conjure up a sense of Instagram filters and format,” Harnas said. She noted that the title “speaks to the honest representation of my rosacea, as well as my dismay about how this hashtag is often used by women whose complexions and bone structure already highlight their innate beauty. For me, makeup is the only way I can attempt to conceal a stigmatizing medical condition.”
Harnas, who hails from Corning but has been living in Portland, ME for the last two years, holds an associate degree in liberal arts from Corning Community College and a Bachelor of Arts degree in graphic arts and arts business from SUNY Empire State College. She furthered her art education by visiting and studying the artwork in more than 50 museums in Austria, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain, and Switzerland.
An artist, designer and performer, her exhibitions, collaborations, and performances have taken place in Corning; Binghamton; Portland, ME; Portland, OR; Brooklyn; Hammondsport; and Elmira. She is also the co-founder of a small collaborative arts festival called “The Hours Festivals,” and will have an artist residency from Sept. 3-10 at Hewnoaks in Lovell, ME.
When asked what she hopes viewers of her #nomakeup exhibit will take away from it, Harnas said, “Even though it is tempting and increasingly easy to present yourself in a self-serving flat light via flattering filters on Instagram, and Facebook posts that are biased toward the rosy moments of life, it is through the honest showing of our vulnerabilities that true connection occurs.”
The exhibit will be open for viewing during normal library hours. To inquire about exhibiting your work in the Hinkle Gallery, email email@example.com or call 607-587-4313.
Dr. Richard Kellogg, professor emeritus of psychology at Alfred State, is the author of an article appearing in the most recent issue of Paperback Parade, a quarterly journal for readers and book collectors. The article is titled “Tales of Cosmic Disaster.”
In the article, Kellogg discusses two classic novels in the science fiction genre penned by Philip Wylie (1902-1971) and Edwin Balmer (1883-1959). “When Worlds Collide” (1933) and “After Worlds Collide” (1934) present a future scenario in which two rogue planets have strayed from their normal orbits and are hurtling through outer space toward earth. Mankind will only survive if a powerful spacecraft, aptly christened the Ark, can be built to transport a select group of people to another planet before the catastrophic collision in space.
The author points out that Wylie and Balmer were speculating on the possibility of space travel decades before the American space program and the successful flight to the moon. It is likely that many future pilots, engineers, and scientists were inspired by reading these thrilling tales of space exploration in their youth.
Kellogg writes frequently about detective fiction and the world of science fiction. He is the creator of a popular series of books for children featuring boy detective Barry Baskerville. The most recent entry, “Barry Baskerville Traps a Thief,” is available at the Amazon website.
Students may take a break for summer, but this is the time when Alfred State is working hard to improve the campus before they return in late August. Within the past few months, dozens of facilities have been upgraded, while others are undergoing exciting changes or additions.
Recent additions on the Alfred campus have included a food truck, 43-passenger bus, commodity barn, hay barn, basketball court at Shults Hall, diagnostic medical sonography suite, and radiologic technology suite. Some of the numbers for summer construction projects show their size and scope, such as the 6,700 feet of new gas lines, 150-plus new concrete steps, and 20-plus new pedestrian lights.
As for the School of Applied Technology campus, the $5 million Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing Center, which will house freshman and senior welding students and senior machine tool technology students, will be ready for fall classes. A new Health and Wellness Services Center will open in Wellsville for the first time this fall, as well.
Glenn Brubaker, director of Facilities Operations, said, “We’re excited about the improvements being made to both our campuses. Our hope is that when students arrive later this month, they’ll see that we’ve been hard at work over the summer making Alfred State even greater.”
Other projects on the college’s summer to-do list include adding a new Pioneer Trail complete with fitness stations, installing a 72-inch entertainment center at 10 Elm, resurfacing and striping multiple parking lots, and renovating the library art gallery and lounge, the nano lab clean room, and the equestrian pavilion.
“Our students are at the heart of everything we do here at Alfred State,” said President Dr. Skip Sullivan. “These renovations and upgrades have been undertaken with the goal in mind of making their college experience the best that it can be, and we continually evolve and progress to meet this goal.”
One of the biggest facilities projects is the makeover of the college’s largest residence hall, the MacKenzie Complex, which enters into phase one this fall. Preparation work includes installing new laundry areas closer to MacKenzie residents, clearing out the central quad to make way for construction, and relocating Residential Services offices to the Townhouse Commons. At Pioneer Stadium, construction will soon begin on a new set of locker rooms as construction projects continue to enhance the campus.
While working to repair and maintain the Statue of Liberty, Dennis Heaphy knows that he is preserving history.
In addition to the 62,000 pounds of copper that make up the 300-foot-tall monument, he is also preserving a proud history of tradesmen who helped build this great country. Heaphy, the resident tinsmith for the Statue of Liberty, recently came to Allegany County to celebrate how the region and Alfred State build interest in the craft and trades for the next generation.
Heaphy set up shop at the recent Allegany County Fair to tell his story that started when his great-grandfather opened a metal shop in Syracuse 124 years ago. Sharing his skills and talking with local residents about the need for young people to learn trades with hands-on education proved inspirational.
“My work on the Statue of Liberty is a grand achievement for me, but I was inspired and invigorated by the pride people expressed when they reflected on works of their relatives,” said Heaphy. “The spirit of a community is deeply intertwined with its craftsmen, they are at the heart of the arts and the character of that community, and the trades of today have their roots in the trades of the past.”
Since 1966, Wellsville has been home to Alfred State’s School of Applied Technology. Located on the site of the former Sinclair Oil Refinery, Alfred State’s campus is keeping a proud tradition of tradesmen alive, as each fall a new class of students arrive to learn skills that are not only passed down through the generations, but also evolve to meet the demands of today’s industry. The Allegany County Economic Development staff hope that Heaphy’s visit will be the first in a series of tradesmen who come to demonstrate their craft and generate more interest in education for the trades.
“Our campus in Wellsville is preparing for a big celebration to commemorate 50 years,” said Dean of the School of Applied Technology Ana McClanahan. “We will be inviting the community to join us on Homecoming/Family Weekend for a celebration on Oct. 14. We have a ton of history to celebrate, but also to cheer for what’s new and still developing on our vibrant campus.”
Heaphy’s partner, Anna Dobkowski, is actually an Alfred State alum, having graduated in 1976 with an architectural engineering technology degree. His connections to the college go even deeper, however.
“Not only did Anna graduate from Alfred State, but so did my uncle and many friends, and many friends of friends, and I am proud to say that my nephew will be attending in the fall,” Heaphy said. “Allegany County is the perfect atmosphere to nurture a culture of craftsmen who could find fertile ground to teach and learn the trades that have made us who we are.”
Employers often lament about the need for more young people to learn the trades and the open jobs waiting for skilled workers. Heaphy sees the need for continuing to teach the hands-on skills needed for trades and crafts as a way to prevent the extinction of a long proud tradition.
“When we look at a structure, a piece of furniture, or myriad other works of craft, we hear those voices telling their stories,” he said. “But like a dying language, once there are no more native speakers, it becomes the whisper of myth. I have labored most of my life to keep these languages alive so future craftsmen can understand those messages.”
Not long after the sound of pomp and circumstance rings through the halls of high school graduation ceremonies, some of those same students and parents are packing the car and heading to Alfred State for orientation.
While the number of high school graduates in the region has been declining, thanks to recruitment efforts that are attracting students from an ever-increasing radius, Alfred State is experiencing record numbers at orientation. In July, a total of 1,272 students, parents, and siblings came for orientation, including one session that peaked at 268 student participants, which is larger than any single orientation session in decades.
“Many of the students and parents come here focused on our school’s track record for graduates going on to successful careers, with 99 percent either employed or choosing to continue their education,” said Deborah Goodrich, associate vice president for Enrollment Management. “We have a wide variety of in-demand majors from which to choose, and at orientation our goal is to ensure that these families are on the right track from day one to make their college years pay off for the future.”
Through a series of six sessions, with many participants spending the night and some arriving by bus from New York City, they all converge on Alfred State’s campus. Some parents arrive apprehensive about their child leaving home. Others may come to Alfred with a spring in their step as orientation marks the beginning of an “empty nest” with no children left at home. But all of those parents and students at Alfred State’s orientation come armed with questions and lots of them.
“I’m not sure which group has more questions, the parents or students,” said Goodrich. “The start of college is life-changing for both. And we have an incredible team assembled to answer all questions, so that when school begins in late August, the transition will be easier. In particular, our student orientation leaders help inform those who are not familiar with Alfred State and perhaps unfamiliar with the area, to make the campus comfortable, friendly, and welcoming to our diverse incoming class.”
The orientation leaders are also a diverse group of 14 students who arrived on campus for their first time not so long ago. These students are athletes, Greeks, club members, and student government representatives. Orientation leaders are selected to assist the transition onto campus, stress the importance of thoughtful decisions for academic choices, and encourage students to engage in activities, clubs, and passions. Alfred State offers more than 100 clubs and organizations to match a wide variety of interests.
“Of course studying and achieving your degree is paramount for launching your career,” said Goodrich. “At Alfred State, we also encourage students to develop new interests, leadership skills, and lifelong friendships outside of the classroom. Those attending orientation are often amazed by all that is available to do in our small college town.”