Grasstravaganza, an event for farmers, conservationists, and consumers who are interested in soil health, grazing, and sustainable agriculture, will be held at Alfred State Aug. 4-6.
Taking place on the Alfred campus, the conference, “Healthy Soils, Healthy Animals, Healthy Farms,” will feature presentations by national and local grazing and soil health experts who will cover a range of topics, interactive soil health-related activities, and a trade show.
The featured speaker this year is Dr. Fred Provenza. For more than 38 years, Provenza has produced groundbreaking research on livestock grazing behavior. This work has influenced research in areas from nutrition and foraging behavior of animals and humans, to rural sociology and development.
Additional speakers include Justin Morris, Natural Resources Conservation Service soil health specialist; Matt Ehrhart, director of Watershed Restoration at the Stroud Water Research Center, an independent research institution focused on stream and river ecology; and Dr. Hue Karreman (tentative), a “first-generation” organic veterinarian, who began using alternative treatments in 1988 as a herdsman on a biodynamic farm.
For more information or to register, please visit the conference web site or call Karen Meade at 607-587-4714.
Alfred State students are riding high in the saddle after advancing to the national finals of the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association in Lexington, KY. Among the equestrians’ many accomplishments, Travis Harvey (Alfred Almond) completed the season as the high point western rider of Zone 2, Region 1 and placed in the top 25 among all riders in the national finals. Previously this year, equestrian club members also brought pride to Alfred State when the polo team won 10 out of 12 contests, including two victories over Harvard.
With the continued success of equestrian sports, the college will add western riding to the Athletic Department’s varsity sports starting in the 2017-18 school year. The move further solidifies Alfred State’s support of equestrian competition and creates more chances for students to compete at the highest level in horseback riding.
“By adding western riding as the 19th official varsity sport for the Pioneers, we are recognizing the success of our student athletes and their mentor, Professor Victoria Bolton, who advanced the program to this stage where they are now able to leap to a whole new level,” stated Athletic Director Dr. Kelly Higgins. “Support runs deep for equestrian sports on campus with the strong backing of President Sullivan, the entire administration, and following an extensive review and approval by the Intercollegiate Athletic Board. The transition begins now and I’m anxious to take the reins of this new varsity sport in 2017.”
“It is a great day to be a Pioneer,” exclaimed Alfred State President Dr. Skip Sullivan. "Alfred State is proud to be adding another official intercollegiate athletic program. Our equestrian team has been highly successful in recent years, and we are pleased to provide more great opportunities for our students."
Western riding is the first sport added by Alfred State since baseball returned to campus in 1995. Currently the equestrian program, including western riding, hunt seat, and polo, is a club team. The hunt seat and polo programs will remain club sports.
The western team, which currently consists of 17 members, competes in eight intercollegiate horse shows throughout the year where the riders earn points based on their placings at all of the shows. During the 2015-16 school year, the team was the reserve champion for Zone 2 Region 1. Six members of the team qualified for the regional show and three advanced to the semi-finals held in Murfreesboro, TN where Harvey then advanced to the national finals.
Vicki Bolton, who has guided the equestrian program during the club period is excited about the move. "The team is very enthusiastic about becoming a varsity sport, which will allow more students interested in horses and horseback riding an opportunity to compete."
The bond between a horse and rider is usually nurtured and developed over time. But in western equestrian shows, riders are paired with horses in a random drawing and the rider has only a few minutes to connect and build a partnership. The horses vary greatly in experience and it is the rider’s job to bring out the best performance after mounting the 1,200-pound animal for the first time. Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) riders are judged by their control of the horse, the rider’s body positioning, and their ability to make the ride appear effortless.
Proving that they have achieved a high level of skill and knowledge within their field, 35 seniors in Alfred State’s construction management engineering technology program recently aced the eight-hour Associate Constructor (AC) Exam.
Collectively, the students scored 14.88 points higher than the national average and accounted for a pass rate that was 11 percent higher than their peers across the country.
The exam is the first level of certification in the Constructor Certification Program. This level of certification is ideal for recent graduates of four-year construction management programs or those transitioning into construction management from other industries. AC's are individuals who have a high level of skill and knowledge in managing the process of construction.
“Those of us in the Civil Engineering Technology Department are very proud of our seniors,” said Erin Vitale, department chair. “For many years, they have outperformed, scored well, and excelled. And this year they’ve exceeded our expectations even further when comparing their scores with peers.”
The professional exam, which took place last month, covered all four years of coursework in the construction management engineering technology curriculum. This included communications skills; project administration; bidding and estimating; materials, methods, and project modeling and visualization; and more.
Dr. John Williams, dean of the School of Architecture, Management and Engineering Technology, said the students’ results are impressive and a testament to the dedication, experience, and quality of Alfred State’s faculty and programs.
“The exam verifies the knowledge and skills of our students in construction,” Williams said, “and the certification helps graduates secure excellent positions in a highly competitive field.”
For the third time, the Alfred State Basic Utility Vehicle (BUV) Team came out on top in a national competition.
The team tied with Purdue University for first place in this year’s intercollegiate BUV Design Competition, sponsored by the Institute for Affordable Transportation and held April 23 in Batavia, OH. In addition to its three first-place finishes, Alfred State’s BUV team has also come in second four times since first entering the competition in 2006.
The contest is a combination of a race and manufacturing design competition. For building a highly efficient pumping system, which was almost twice as fast as any other team’s, Alfred State was recognized with the Most Innovative Award.
This year, the competition involved producing a vehicle capable of operating in rough rural terrain and hauling up to three 55-gallon drums full of water. The event was primarily concerned with endurance, as the teams had to pump water from a pond to fill the three drums and negotiate three laps over a rugged 2.2-mile course including changes in elevation and plenty of twists, turns, and mud.
Upon completion of the three laps, the teams then had to empty the drums and refill them and repeat the exercise. Each lap was worth 10 points and each full drum was worth five points per lap.
“It was evident from the beginning that the contest would be won by either Purdue or Alfred State,” said Dr. Edward Tezak, SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor and chair of the Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Technology Department. “Purdue had the fastest vehicle, but the Alfred State team made up ground at the pond with more efficient unloading and loading of the water.”
During the first three laps, the Alfred State vehicle sheared a critical bolt dealing with the steering. A makeshift repair using a screwdriver in place of the bolt seemed to be a temporary fix, according to Tezak.
Then on the fifth lap, the vehicle developed a fuel issue and lost almost a lap to Purdue. Over the next few laps, the steering quick fix failed twice more and finally the team figured out a way to use two pairs of vice grip pliers to hold the steering together for the remainder of the competition.
“The Purdue vehicle broke down about half an hour before the competition ended,” Tezak said. “However, a shive shifted in our vehicle and the belt drive on the pump came off right after emptying the drums. The team could not reload the drums then.”
Since they could get points even without hauling water, the team decided to run dry and get more points and possibly catch up to the Purdue vehicle. However, Purdue managed to get rolling again before being caught by Alfred State.
“At first it appeared that Purdue had won the event, but they were assessed a 20-point penalty, which resulted in a tie,” Tezak said. “Had the event lasted five more minutes, the Alfred State team would have completed its last lap and won by 10 points.”
Alfred State BUV team members who competed this year included mechanical engineering technology students Mitchell Rogers, of Troupsburg; Robert Rousseau, of Hyde Park; Kyle Jones, of Ransomville; William Easterly, of Brewerton; and James Haveron, of Falconer. The team was accompanied by Tezak and Academic Support Technician Ray Gleason.
In addition to Alfred State, the other major competitors were Purdue University, Baylor University, two entries from the University of Cincinnati, and Trine University. Baylor and Cincinnati tied for third place in the competition.
“Rob Rousseau did a great job with his ‘field fixes’ of the steering system, and Mitchell Rogers gets the credit for the outstanding high-speed water pumping design,” Tezak said. “It was an afternoon of emotional highs and lows, but I am really proud of the team and how the members came together and just would not give up.”
Students agreed that each person’s talents and skills were utilized to create a winning BUV, and that the team, despite the challenges they faced, never once gave up.
“We all chipped in and did what we had to do to finish the competition, Rogers said. “My teammates are great guys and this competition was like no other.”
Rochester Area Colleges Continuing Education (RACCE) recognized 35 outstanding adult students, including three from Alfred State, in its 32nd annual Awards Ceremony and Banquet April 20 at the Hilton Doubletree Hotel in Henrietta.
The RACCE consortium of area colleges promotes and advocates for continuing education to adult and other non-traditional students in the greater Rochester area. RACCE’s extensive network of college administrators provide information about educational programs to students and fosters collaboration and professional development opportunities among its membership.
The Outstanding Adult Student Award recognizes adult students who have excelled academically while successfully combining their college education with other commitments to family, job, career, and service to the community.
This year’s recipients come from 13 Rochester-area colleges: University of Rochester, RIT, Keuka, St. John Fisher College, Nazareth College, Empire State College, College at Brockport, Genesee Community College, Monroe Community College, Finger Lakes Community College, Alfred State, Rochester Educational Opportunity Center, and Roberts Wesleyan College.
Receiving awards from Alfred State were Steven Richardson, agricultural technology, Akron; Dorothy Smith, culinary arts, Bath; and Shawn Murat, electrical construction and maintenance electrician, Bath.
Richardson maintains a 3.73 GPA and is on the dean’s list, while juggling college, a family, a farm, and community service. He credits Alfred State for giving him a much deeper understanding of agriculture and a heightened understanding of the benefits of research and higher education. Richardson is a veteran and helps out with all Alfred State’s Future Farmers of America events and has been a big voice for the chapter.
Smith worked for 32 years at Phillips Lighting in Bath, before starting over at Alfred State. She maintains a 3.79 GPA and is on the dean’s list while balancing her family, internship, and fundraising/charity events. Smith is described as the “mom” of her program by other students, who value her work effort and ethics, as well as her approachable and welcoming personality. She volunteers her time for Culinary Arts Scholarship fundraising events and Christmas dinners for the Salvation Army.
Murat has a 3.81 GPA and is on the dean’s list while juggling school, family, a farm, and community service. He came to Alfred State to continue his education and to learn a new trade. Murat plans on working in his field and continuing at Alfred State to earn his bachelor’s degree in technology management. He is a great mentor to younger students, a former Army Reservist, a volunteer for the Steuben County 4-H program, and has refereed soccer for many years.
Tammy Woods Edwards, coordinator of Continuing Education at Alfred State, said “Seeing the students receive their awards and hearing about all of the obstacles they have faced and overcome is very humbling. The three students from Alfred State were just a few of the many adult students who were deserving of this award. Coming back to school after being out for many years is hard enough, then you add family, work, and other activities on top – these students are amazing.”
Associate Professor Wayne Bensley met with Honors Program members April 21 at the college to review current federal laws controlling marijuana and to present data available from states that have approved the drug for medical and recreational use.
The director of the college’s forensic science technology program, Bensley spent his earlier career in police labs testing for drugs and testifying in drug-related court cases. Despite being approved for medical use in an ever-growing number of states, including New York, marijuana remains a Schedule 1 drug, considered by the federal government “to have no medical use.”
Bensley addressed this seeming contradiction, telling members, “In the 1930s, political influence, Hollywood filmmakers, yellow journalism, and a measure of racism put ‘reefer madness’ in the headlines and resulted in marijuana being considered in the same class as heroin by the government, making actual scientific research on the drug nearly impossible.”
Bensley cited short-term positive data resulting from Colorado’s approval of recreational marijuana but also cautioned that the “experiment” in that state is only two years old, too soon to judge its success or failure.