Serving and solving
From strengthening democracy to advancing health and safety, from developing new educational tools to aiding disaster stricken families, members of our college community played constructive roles in the wider world in 2012-13.
As the academic year began, the 2012 election was on the horizon and the college‘s Civic Engagement Coalition coordinated its first comprehensive voter registration and education campaign. Film and discussion series, a debate and other events built engagement with the democratic process and registered more than 1,300 voters. The project culminated in an election night party in the Campus Center as returns rolled in.
Some 70 students representing student media WTOP-TV, WNYO-FM and the Oswegonian covered election night like never before, filling four hours of live air with remote broadcasts, roundtable discussion and constant updates via social media, providing Oswego County‘s only TV coverage and streaming it online. “There‘s nothing ‘student’ or ‘pretend’ or ‘practice’ about what we just did,” WTOP-TV station manager Ben Gordon said with pride as the marathon telecast wound down.
SUNY Oswego was named to the 2013 President‘s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction for the third consecutive year. Oswego was one of under a hundred institutions to achieve the national designation. Highlighted were the college‘s Mentor-Scholar Program, Alternative Break volunteer program and disaster relief projects.
“We just really love helping other people,” student group leader Sophie Marsden told an Alabama TV reporter interviewing her about a Habitat for Humanity project. She led a dozen Oswego students building a house in the Shoals during their alternative spring break. “It‘s just super important to show how much we can actually give back to somebody else.”
Closer to home, the college community mounted a quick response to New Yorkers whose lives and livelihoods were disrupted by Superstorm Sandy. Students and staff held fundraisers and food drives, and the college‘s Small Business Development Center helped business owners apply for disaster assistance.
Our students readily apply the knowledge and skill they learn in class to real-world challenges. Oswego‘s increasingly renowned meteorology program, for instance, has spawned the largely student-run Lake-Effect Storm Prediction and Research Center, where students forecast the weather for school districts and other agencies.
Helping to forecast a public health threat, student Stephanie Ciesla spent the summer of 2013 assisting the New York State Department of Health vector surveillance unit. She received samples of mosquitoes and identified them by species at the Shad C. Slade Eastern Equine Encephalitis Field Station in West Monroe.
Our faculty and staff shared solutions for improving teaching and campus communication with colleagues in higher education. Oswego‘s adaptations to students‘ growing use of mobile devices — a website that optimizes for viewing on small screens and mobile apps aimed at students‘ top needs — were the subject of a story in University Business magazine. Two Oswego professors received SUNY support to develop their teaching innovations as templates for similar programs at other colleges. Dr. Ulises Mejias of the communication studies department worked to create a replicable model for his educational use of alternate reality gaming. Dr. Harrison Yang of the curriculum and instruction department shared ways to help future teachers work visual and digital tools into their lessons to serve today‘s visually oriented, technologically savvy learners.