Alfred State officially welcomed more than 1,300 freshmen to campus recently during a New Student Convocation led by President Dr. Skip Sullivan at the Orvis Activities Center.
This year’s incoming class consists of 1,345 students from 59 of New York’s 62 counties and 20 additional states, plus 13 international students from eight countries. Of these new students, 91 have been identified as Alfred State Distinguished Scholars and 198 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 ways students can get involved on campus through clubs and civic engagement opportunities, as well as enhance their leadership opportunities and engage in real-world learning.
“I encourage you to commit yourself first and foremost as a ‘student’,” he said. “At our college, we emphasize hands-on, project-based learning. You won’t just sit in class and listen to a lecture. Instead, you’ll engage in applied learning through a number of real-world experiences.”
Patricia K. Fogarty, College Council chair, encouraged the students to step outside of their comfort zones, learn new cultures and viewpoints, and make a difference in the world.
“A great American president was fond of reciting this biblical quote: ‘To those who much has been given, much is expected.’” The advantage of higher education is a great gift. Much is expected of you,” she told the assembled students.
Provost Dr. Kristin Poppo, remarked that while being a young adult and leaving home to go to college can be difficult, students will have plenty of help along the way during their journey at Alfred State.
“College is not easy,” she said. “But there is no doubt in my mind that each and every one of you can be successful. Our admissions process is rigorous and you have been chosen to be a Pioneer. We are all here to support you. We know you can do it.”
Greg Sammons, vice president for Student Affairs, then introduced students to Alfred State’s “Principles of Community” and Student Senate President Grant Tinker, an electrical engineering technology major from McGraw, 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.
While it may seem as though it was only yesterday when students were donning their caps and gowns for graduation, it is already that time of the year when Alfred State is welcoming Pioneers back to campus for the start of a brand-new academic year.
This week, roughly 1,000 first-year students began moving in to the living spaces they will call home for the next several months, hauling furniture, clothing, accessories, and more into their rooms. Niche.com recently ranked Alfred State residence halls very highly, as the sixth best out of all public colleges in New York. Altogether, around 2,400 students enjoy on-campus living.
For these students, they and their families don’t have to go it alone when it comes to the move-in process. In fact, according to Matt Ryan, senior director of Residential Services, a number of “helpers” are on hand to assist, from athletes, to members of student clubs and organizations, to faculty and staff members, and even President Dr. Skip Sullivan.
“When students are moving in, they’re going to have some random guy next to them helping them, and it ends up being their English professor, or one of their coaches,” Ryan said. “They can start building some of those relationships in a real, authentic way immediately.”
Also immediate is the sense of welcome that students feel once they’re on campus.
“Move-in day is high-energy,” Ryan said. “Around every residence hall, the residential staff and the residence directors have set up decorations to welcome the students coming in. We’ll also have all of the staff in their Alfred State shirts ready to welcome and invite students.”
While Ryan admits helping the students move in can be quite a bit of work, he says it definitely pays off in the end.
“At the end of the day, you’re tired, but you see the students going off to the first parts of an activity after hugging mom and dad goodbye and you see a lot of those heartfelt moments,” Ryan said, “so it’s definitely worth it.”
And after mom and dad have dropped off their son or daughter at Alfred State, they can rest assured knowing that their student is welcomed with open arms to a close-knit, caring community.
“Every time I’m asked this question of ‘What’s special about Alfred State?’ I can honestly answer ‘It’s a very close-knit community,’” Ryan said. “The faculty, staff, and students all work relatively close together, there’s always a welcoming atmosphere, doors are held for people on a normal basis, people say hi on the sidewalks. So it’s just a nice, warm place I’ve enjoyed working at for the last 15 years.”
Students come to college expecting to develop skills and discover talents as they explore many new areas. During Opening Remarks for Alfred State’s fall semester, President Dr. Skip Sullivan encouraged all faculty and staff to recognize how the development of their own talents enriched their lives.
“I think we as a college have a job to do in regards to uncovering talents,” Sullivan said. “We need to be about the business of uncovering talents in our students. When someone has discovered a talent, it gives them a confidence in life.”
To illustrate his point, Sullivan introduced dozens of faculty and staff members with a wide variety of talents including: writing, drawing, athletics, quilting, and even barrel racing. Several singers, musicians, and performers took to the stage and surprised many colleagues with their talents.
“There are superstars and rock stars walking our halls,” Sullivan added. “Even if it is merely a hobby, these talents are an inspiration. College is a perfect setting for exploring talents and their discovery helps mold character.”
Additional examples of the talented staff included project manager Jon Nickerson who has appeared as Santa on national television, and bus driver Dave Weaver who is a professional Elvis impersonator. International student services coordinator Cyan Corwine created a puppetry video for the event to illustrate how students develop during their college years to become greater than the sum of their parts.
Just over two years after work first began on House 54, the newest home constructed by Alfred State students for the Wellsville community is now completed and the new owners now call it home.
Sitting on more than five acres of land on Foundation Drive, the 2,199-square-foot, French country-style three-bedroom house includes a covered rear porch with a wood-burning fireplace, a full basement, a formal dining room, a laundry room, a two-car garage, a home office area, and more.
Students in the heavy equipment operations, air conditioning and heating technology, building trades: building construction, masonry, and electrical construction and maintenance electrician programs all had a hand in the construction. Work on the house began in April 2015 and wrapped up this past May. Since House 54 attracted a buyer earlier this year, the new owners were able to witness the construction underway while also selecting finishes and fixtures for their new home.
The houses Alfred State students regularly build for the community, valued at more than $200,000, take two years to complete, and are then subsequently sold on the open market and occupied.
Students build and detail the houses in a subdivision owned by the Educational Foundation of Alfred, Inc., a private foundation dedicated to improving the Alfred State community through the support of educational programs. The Educational Foundation funds the construction of the houses.
Speaking about House 54, Jack Jones, chair of the Building Trades Department, said he is proud of the work the students were able to accomplish.
“Like the others that came before it, this home was the result of a lot of hours of hard work by many students from a number of disciplines, all under the guidance of our knowledgeable instructors,” he said. “These projects provide excellent real-world, hands-on experiences for our students, and also benefit the local community.”
Timothy Corkey, an Almond resident who graduated this past spring with a building trades: building construction degree, said working on House 54 was a great experience.
“Being able to put into practice what we learn about in the classroom, and also gain real-world experience that is going to prove valuable on the job someday is incredible,” he said. “It’s also very rewarding to see the finished product and know that you had a hand in its creation.”
Even before the paint dried on House 54, the Building Trades team already started work on House 55 last April.
“We’re very proud of our tradition of constructing high-quality houses for the Wellsville community and being able to provide an unmatched opportunity for our students to put their learning into practice,” he said. “It is through lots of hard work by our students and faculty, as well as the generous support of the Educational Foundation, that we are able to build these homes. We look forward to continuing this tradition for many years to come.”
In recognition of the avid and engaged support of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education that he has shown for many years, Alfred State’s Dr. Craig Clark was recently presented with the 2017 Margaret Ashida Outstanding STEM Leadership Award.
Clark, vice president for Economic Development at the college, previously worked closely with Ashida on a number of projects, including two STEM Education Summer Institutes and the New York State Technology and Engineering Educators Association Policy Agenda and its Economic Imperative. He has served and serves as an example of someone who demonstrates all of the qualities and traits that Ashida lived by and exuded.
Clark has been, since its inception, an active participant and leader with the New York State STEM Education Collaborative, and with its individual member organizations, including NYSTEEA, STANYS, AMTNYS and the NYSSPE. He made it possible for Alfred State to become one of the first partners with the NYS STEM Education Collaborative.
In 2014, 2015, and 2017, Clark facilitated Alfred State’s hosting of the STEM Summer Institute, providing exceptional guidance and hospitality to participants, presenters, vendors, and sponsors. He truly understands the power of students, teachers, and workers being able to use and integrate the STEM disciplines while solving real-world problems.
A highly respected educator and college administrator, Clark has for many years been instrumental in running a number of renewable energy institutes that emphasize STEM integration and application. He has also worked hard to help Alfred State secure a $2.9 million grant from NYSERDA that developed clean-energy programs statewide, a $3.2 million grant for advanced manufacturing programs at Burgard High School in Buffalo, and a $1 million grant from the Gleason Foundation for manufacturing programs.
While serving as dean of Alfred State’s Wellsville campus from 1996 to 2014, Clark helped bring to fruition the Zero Energy Home, the Construction Workforce Development Center, and the Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing Center, the last of which is the first state-funded building on the Wellsville campus.
In his current role at the college, Clark is responsible for developing and implementing an economic and industrial development program for both Alfred State and Allegany County. His emphasis is on attracting businesses and industries to locate within the county and promoting expansion of existing business and industries. Clark continues to be the college liaison with the START–UP NY program, Empire State Development, Appalachian Regional Commission, and other grant-funding and economic development organizations related to the college.
A $14,000 grant from the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and Ford Driving Skills for Life (Ford DSFL) will encourage teenagers to drive safely. A portion of the grant funds will be used to host a driver-training event for college students in Alfred.
“We are deeply appreciative for this grant and the confidence it shows in New York’s efforts to keep teen drivers, their passengers, and those who share our roads with them safe,” said Terri Egan, executive deputy commissioner of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles and Acting Chair of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC). “Good driving habits start while you are young, and people like parents, coaches, and other adults that children know and respect are role models for how to behave when you are driving.”
“By working with our students, this will give us an opportunity to emphasize the importance of safe driving, correct some bad habits through hands-on training, and further prove to college students that our officers are here to serve and protect them,” said Matt Heller, University Police Chief at Alfred State.
University Police at Alfred State, Alfred Village Police, and the Public Safety Office at Alfred University will host the hands-on driver safety class in October. Alfred was chosen because Allegany County has one of the highest rates for fatalities and injuries involving people not wearing seat belts. The largest proportion of those killed or injured were young drivers ages 16 to 20. Those teens comprised 23 percent of all Allegany County accidents with injury, while statewide teens comprise only 11 percent.
The grant will also enable GTSC to expand its Coaches Care program for high school athletic coaches. Created in 2016, the program grew out of an October 2015 report by GHSA titled “Under Their Influence: The New Teen Safe Driving Champions.” Teens were surveyed as part of the research, and 68 percent identified coaches as safe driving influences in their lives.
Coaches Care uses role models with whom students regularly interact to help them learn good driving habits. GTSC provides coaches with sample talking points to help them impart valuable lessons to their students. The campaign also includes a series of school sports posters featuring teens and traffic safety messages.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s “Five to Drive” rules for teens are:
The grant announcement comes in the wake of new AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety research that showed newly licensed teen drivers were three times as likely as adults to be involved in fatal crashes. According to NHTSA, 1,866 teen drivers were killed in 2015 – 163 more than in 2014. Early estimates for 2016 reveal that traffic deaths continued their surge upward.
In New York, the trend in recent years had been a decline in fatal and other crashes involving drivers ages 16 to 20, but preliminary data from the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research (ITSMR) for 2016 shows those numbers rose slightly. A total of 99 young drivers were killed and 15,569 were injured in New York State last year, up from 97 killed and 14,633 injured in 2015. In 2010, there were 139 young drivers killed and 20,295 injured.
For more information on traffic safety for younger drivers, visit www.safeny.ny.gov.