For the Alfred community and its two institutions of higher education, providing service to those in need is a top priority.
In fact, many community members, faculty, staff, and students within Alfred actively live out the principles that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. himself stood for – equality, social justice, community, and service. That’s why each year, several of these civic-minded individuals are recognized during the annual Celebration of Service Ceremony.
Receiving the 2017 Alfred Community Spirit of Service Award was Guifang Lui (Master Fang), a local Tai Chi instructor. She began offering a class in Tai Chi, at no charge, to meet each weekday morning on the Village Green in Alfred. The group, which has since grown to more than 60 people, includes people from Alfred and the surrounding communities. She has also provided a bridge and an opportunity for the local community to meet and befriend many Chinese members of the Confucius Institute, thereby exposing the community to another culture. Also nominated was Dr. Bob Pipal, president of the A.E. Crandall Hook and Ladder Company and former Alfred University chemistry professor.
The recipient of the 2017 Alfred State Faculty/Staff Spirit of Service Award was Kelly Harrison, secretary for Human Resources. Harrison is a huge advocate for veterans, as she is always organizing and volunteering for veteran organizations and coordinating benefits through her volunteer work at the American Legion. Also nominated were Melanie Ryan, coordinator of student disability services; and Diane Winans, payroll examiner in the Office of Business Affairs.
Larissia Hall, a technology management major from Keuka Park, was the recipient of the 2017 Alfred State Student Spirit of Service Award. Hall, who is an academic peer mentor on campus, commits to at least 50 hours of service through her academic semester, has been very active with disaster-relief organization All Hands Volunteers, and has traveled all over the county and to Louisiana and Tennessee on disaster relief trips and rebuilding/cleanup efforts. Also nominated were Brittany Smith, a Wellsville resident and Reaching Individual Success in Education (RISE) program supporter; and Kemar Kidd, an individual studies major from Bronx.
Hagar Professor of Natural Science and Professor of Geology Dr. Michele Hluchy was presented with the 2017 Alfred University Faculty/Staff Spirit of Service Award. Hluchy has brought an awareness of poverty and health in Haiti to the Alfred community. Her Water for Haiti Project raised $15,000 to build a well there, and she also organized another project to donate books to Cameroon. Fellow nominees include Zachary Hamm, technical director in the Division of Performing Arts; Dr. Robyn Goodman, professor of Communication Studies; and Bob Rankl, head football coach.
Receiving the 2017 Alfred University Student Spirit of Service Award was Mawia Elawad, who was described as “an incredibly articulate advocate for social justice for women, people of color, immigrants, the LGBTQ+ community, the Muslim community, etc.” She has shown that she is passionate about working to spread the message of equality and compassion to youth within the community and beyond through her work with the Art Force 5, a “team of creative superheroes” who deliver the powerful messages of anti-violence, community-building, and creative problem solving. Also nominated was Nur Amalina Amir Hamzah, the university’s current Student Senate diversity director.
Hosting a conference at Alfred State that marries sustainability and STEM disciplines just makes sense, given that the two are heavily focused on at the college.
That’s why last week, 60 participants from institutions of higher education throughout the state gathered at Alfred State for just such an event: the “Applying STEM Disciplines to Support Sustainable Communities Symposium.”
Hosted by Alfred State in collaboration with New York Campus Compact (NYCC), the conference focused on discovering and sharing best practices related to the interface of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines and sustainability. The NYCC is a membership association of college and university presidents committed to promoting “active citizenship as an aim of higher education,” according to its website, www.nycampuscompact.org.
The keynote speakers were Dr. Mark Gallo, professor of biology at Niagara University, and Dan McMann, facility planner at Niagara University. Gallo is a member of the American Society for Microbiology Scholars in Residence program, the chair of the K-12 Committee for the American Society for Microbiology, and has been a frequent presenter at the National Association for Biology Teachers and the National Science Teachers Association annual meetings.
Prior to joining Niagara University, McMann, who graduated from Alfred State in 1994 with an architectural engineering degree, worked as a senior project manager at BHNT Architects, P.C. He has been awarded the “Wall of Fame” and “Best in Category” from VP Buildings, the “Best Green Construction” from Business First Brick by Brick, and was a finalist for the “Best Retail/Restaurant” for his work on the Hamburg Casino.
In addition to the keynote speakers were several breakout sessions on several topics such as specific course assignments that connect STEM and society, incorporating sustainability into the curriculum, and innovative partnerships.
Jonathan Hilsher, director of the Center for Civic Engagement at Alfred State, said faculty and students in the STEM disciplines develop and contribute a unique skill set that can be applied to identify and address community challenges, including those related to sustainability.
“Some of the most innovative STEM courses and programs connect know-how and innovation to issues of critical local, national, and global importance,” Hilsher said. “By applying these courses and programs to things such as renewable energy, green building, and sustainable agriculture, we can help make the world a better and more environmentally friendly place to live in.”
Dr. Laurie S. Worrall, executive director of New York Campus Compact, said, “New York Campus Compact sponsored this gathering at Alfred State because it is important to bring faculty, staff, and community partners together to learn from each other. The focus of tailoring STEM education at the college level to help create more sustainable communities is not only timely, it is one of the most important civic issues of our era. Gatherings like this one help innovative strategies and partnerships emerge that connect the considerable resources of higher education to community efforts.”
Dr. Skip Sullivan, President, Alfred State College:
“Providing a safe and welcoming learning environment is a top priority at Alfred State. Currently there are 42 international students representing 11 countries enrolled at our college, and we work to provide them with a productive setting for their education. None of our international students are from the countries affected by President Trump’s executive order.
“As a member campus of the State University of New York system, we will abide by SUNY guidelines and look to their leadership as the situation may evolve. SUNY welcomes educators and students from across the world and our campus is enriched by their participation in our community.”
Additional statements issued jointly from SUNY Board Chairman H. Carl McCall and Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher are available online.
Over the last decade, several Alfred State engineering students have lent their skills and know-how to The Bicycle Man, LLC, a full-service bicycle and recumbent bike shop in Alfred Station.
During that time, the students have performed a variety of tasks, from design work on frames, to designing production jigs, to testing material samples and prototype frames.
Recently, this collaboration has resulted in some national recognition for The Bicycle Man, whose Linear Recumbents Roadster bicycle was just named the “2016 BentRider Online Recumbent Bike of the Year.” BentRider Online is the Internet’s premier source of recumbent news, views, and information.
“We are delighted to receive this award because it indicates that our commitment to innovation, engineering, and US manufacturing was worth it,” said Owner Peter Stull. “While most of the bicycle industry has moved to China or Taiwan, we think an innovative product can be US-made and compete on the market. In fact, we think it can be made in western New York and dominate a niche market.”
According to Stull, the bike’s design was in part the result of a collaboration with senior Alfred State mechanical engineering technology students, and its manufacturing jig design also resulted from input from the program’s students. Early prototypes of the bike were also machined and welded on the Wellsville campus.
Stull noted his business has spent more than a decade reengineering the Linear Recumbent for durability and adding features customers can use.
“Recumbent bikes are comfortable, but also bulky,” he said. “In 2016, we added a folding version of both our models. This allows a customer to easily put their bike in the trunk of a car. It also makes them the easiest full-size recumbent to pack for airline travel. As a side benefit, it has allowed us to lower our shipping cost to our customers. We are glad to be making a bike we are proud of, and glad we took the time and effort to get it to this point.”
Working with Alfred State faculty and students, Stull said, has helped The Bicycle Man grow the manufacturing side of its business. He credited several mechanical engineering technology students who have greatly helped his business over the years, including:
Dr. Craig Clark, Alfred State vice president of Economic Development and director of the Allegany County Industrial Development Agency, said this ongoing relationship is great for the college and Allegany County.
“The growth of Bicycle Man/Linear Recumbents and companies of this size is important for economic development in the county,” he said.
Alfred State once again welcomed a representative from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office to provide an update on the current condition of the State of New York and to outline the governor’s plan for the future.
Eric Hesse, director of the New York State Division of Veterans Affairs, delivered the governor’s State of the State address on campus recently to a large group of more than 200 students, faculty, staff, and local community members.
Hesse mentioned that under the Cuomo administration, statewide unemployment is down from 8.4 percent six years ago to 4.9 percent today, spending increases have been limited to under 2 percent a year since 2011, construction jobs have increased 22.4 percent from 2010 to 2015, and that tax rates are down for every New Yorker. While progress has been made, Hesse said, the governor recognizes there is more to do, particularly in lifting up the middle class and working class who feel left out of the economic recovery.
At the same time, he said, there is a recent and powerful belief that America’s diversity, openness, and acceptance is in conflict with the success of America’s middle-class working families. As a result, the state, Hesse said, will take two paths forward: advancing the middle class and protecting progressive values.
The Middle Class Recovery Act, he said, will emphasize jobs and infrastructure, access to education, and lowering taxes.
One step ahead includes the governor’s recent proposal that calls for investing $163 million to provide free tuition at all SUNY and CUNY two- and four-year colleges for students whose families earn $125,000 a year or less. He noted that in 2015, the average student loan debt in New York was $29,320 and that 85 percent of all families in western New York would qualify for tuition-free public college under the governor’s proposed plan.
Additionally, Hesse also touched upon the necessary continued growth of the Buffalo Billion strategy, to create thousands of jobs and spur billions in new investment and economic activity in western New York over the next several years. Among the 20 proposals Hesse listed, one involves replicating the successful Downtown Revitalization Initiative to transform suburban downtowns across the region.
In this initiative, the governor is looking to invest $100 million in revitalizing 10 more downtowns. Among the eligible downtowns are three from Allegany County: Alfred, Angelica, and Wellsville.
Also looking ahead, Hesse mentioned several other proposals, including no tax increases, making ridesharing legal across New York State, investing $100 billion statewide in infrastructure, a six-point plan to combat drug abuse, cutting middle-class taxes for 6 million taxpayers, and raising the age of criminal responsibility.
The 54th house that Alfred State students have constructed for the Wellsville community could be just months away from completion, as solid progress continues to be made on the future residence.
Sitting on more than five acres of land at 3829 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.
According to Joe Richardson, professor in the Building Trades Department, work on the house should be completed in May of this year, just over two years after work on the house began in April 2015.
“We’re making steady progress on the house,” Richardson said. “Our students have been working very hard and diligently to complete construction and to provide another high-quality residence for the Wellsville community.”
Richardson noted that students in the heavy equipment operations, air conditioning and heating technology, building trades: building construction, masonry, and electrical construction and maintenance electrician programs have all had a hand in the construction of the future abode.
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.
“These magnificent residences and the excellent real-world, on-the-job training our students receive as a result of working on them would not be possible without the Educational Foundation,” Richardson said. “The Foundation plays a major role in the construction of these houses, and we are very grateful for their ongoing support.”