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.”
Located within the beautiful natural surroundings of New York’s Southern Tier, many activities and interests at Alfred State naturally revolve around enjoying the environment.
The college is also dedicated to environmental stewardship and advancing the principles of sustainability. As a result, a number of environmentally conscious efforts have been or are being implemented at Alfred State.
According to Director of Facilities Operations Glenn Brubaker, one notable project that has recently been completed was replacing all of the outdoor parking lot and loop-road light fixtures on campus, the majority of which were 250-watt and 400-watt high-pressure sodium fixtures.
“We replaced all of those with LED heads, resulting in a 60-percent savings in energy and maintenance costs,” Brubaker said. “We’ve also submitted a proposal to procure new LED fixtures for all of the exterior lighting on the campus buildings.”
Other examples of completed sustainability projects include the Zero Energy Home Laboratory on the Wellsville campus, as well as the Bergey Grid-Tie 10 kW wind turbine located near the outdoor athletic complex on the Alfred campus that offsets the power consumption of Pioneer Stadium.
The college also has a larger Northern Power Systems 100 kW wind turbine, which produces enough energy to power 15 average American homes annually.
“The energy produced offsets energy consumption for several of the college’s smaller energy accounts through a remote net metering agreement,” Brubaker said. “This remote net metering process allows us to apply energy credits we earn from the energy the wind turbine generates to other utility accounts owned by the campus. Alfred State was the first college within the SUNY system to implement a remote net metering system on campus.”
As for projects that are currently underway, the college’s boiler decentralization project is now in its third year.
“Right now, we have a central heating plant with high-temperature hot water boilers that were installed in the 1960s and are very inefficient,” Brubaker said. “We are in the process of installing condensing boilers in each of the buildings on the Alfred campus and will see significant savings in gas consumption when the project is completed.”
Currently, the heating plant is still serving half of the buildings on the Alfred campus, while the other half of the buildings have new satellite boilers in them. If all goes as planned, according to Brubaker, that project should be completed by the start of the fall 2017 semester.
“We are also working on a multi-year and multi-phased renovation project at our largest residence hall,” he noted. “The Mackenzie Complex is a 1,200-bed residence hall built in the early 1970s. We are being energy conscious with new boilers, HVAC systems, controls, and new lighting throughout. The first phase is out for bid this summer, with construction to begin in October.”
Adding to the ways in which Alfred State students are preparing to become the leaders of tomorrow, the college will begin offering a leadership minor this coming fall semester.
The minor is intended to expose students to existing courses and experiential credits (internship or practicum experiences) at Alfred State that focus on and/or include leadership topics. These students will be introduced to the Social Change Model of Leadership and mentorship opportunities.
Although the minor will be administratively housed in the Business Department, a team of faculty and staff will help coordinate the program and advise students who register for it. Danielle Green, chair of the Business Department, said she is excited about this new offering.
“As the department continues to grow, we look to add new opportunities in the academic field of business,” she said. “This minor will provide an opportunity for both business and non-business students to acquire skills necessary to be leaders in their respective fields.”
Requiring a flexible 15 hours of credit, the minor will:
The backbone of the minor integrates Alfred State’s existing Emerging Pioneers Leadership Program (EPLP), which offers leadership development opportunities at three certificate levels for all students. The new minor and the EPLP are one of several leadership-centered offerings at the college, including the Civic Leadership Living Learning Community and Leadership Suites/Organizational Suites.
Alyshia Zurlick, assistant director of the Office of Student Engagement, said, it would be an understatement to say that the Alfred State community is excited about this opportunity.
“One of the single greatest determining factors of college and workplace success is the ability to be a highly effective leader,” Zurlick said. “Leadership skills are valued and respected and have become increasingly pursued in the workforce. The leadership minor will provide students with essential leadership qualities and principles that will enhance and solidify success both in the classroom and the workplace.”
While homeowners may alternate between praying for rain to turn their turf green, or cursing their lawn when it is growing too fast, for many people their interest in grass is merely a hobby. But there is a business, an industry, and even a science to be studied related to keeping things green, and Grasstravaganza is bringing together these experts from around the country.
Alfred State is hosting Grasstravaganza Aug. 4-6, an event for farmers, conservationists, and consumers who are interested in soil health, grazing, and sustainable agriculture. The theme is “Healthy Soils, Healthy Animals, Healthy Farms,” and will feature presentations by nationally recognized grazing and soil health experts.
“We are very fortunate to have Dr. Fred Provenza as our featured speaker,” said Phil Schroeder, chair of the Agriculture and Veterinary Technology Department. “His decades of groundbreaking research has led to many discoveries in livestock grazing behavior, foraging, and nutritional information important to both animals and humans. Attendees will not only be able to hear directly from this international leader, but have dinner and ask questions in less formal gatherings together.”
Attendees are invited to take tours of farms in West Sparta, Angelica, and Birdsall, as well as the college’s own 800-acre farm, which is home to horses, alpacas, swine, poultry, sheep, and both conventional and organic dairy herds.
“Our farm demonstrates just one way in which Alfred State is committed to preparing the farmers and conservationists of tomorrow, and we are proud and excited to be hosting an event like this for those who are already in these fields and are looking to learn even more,” said Dr. Skip Sullivan, president of Alfred State.
Additional speakers at Grasstravaganza include: Justin Morris, NRCS 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; Dr. Hue Karreman, a first-generation organic veterinarian; and Jeremy Engh, recognized for gourmet quality grass-fed beef production.
In addition to presentations from nationally known speakers, there will be specialized workshops and a trade show. For information or to register, call Karen Meade at 607-587-4714 or visit the conference website.