Communities in our region and around the world profited from their interactions with Oswego’s faculty, staff and students in 2013-14. Members of our college community contributed research and creativity, instruction and community service for the greater good through economic development and cultural enrichment.
The new localism trend has been manifest in Oswego’s endeavors for some time, even as the college prepares students to be competent global citizens. New degree programs respond to our area’s needs, advisory councils tap regional expertise, and faculty and staff contribute their time to local projects.
Nowhere was this dual local-global focus more evident in 2013-14 than in the nationally recognized volunteer efforts of our student chapter of the anti-poverty group ONE. Its president, senior Sara Cooper, drew on her study-abroad experience in Benin to spearhead awareness-raising and support-building efforts against poverty in sub-Saharan Africa. The students won ONE’s Campus Challenge through action-oriented initiatives such as studying without power and urging members of Congress to support programs that help create a sustainable future for the developing world.
The students also worked against poverty in their own backyard. Cooper told USA Today, “Students are jumping on board with our cause because they see poverty every day” in upstate communities.
Pam Caraccioli, deputy to the president for external partnerships and economic development, appeared on Syracuse TV station WSYR with Austin Wheelock of Operation Oswego County to discuss economic development in the county.
Paul Stewart of Oswego’s psychology department heads the Oswego Renaissance Association, which has a block-by-block plan for revitalizing housing in Oswego neighborhoods. “The groundwork for a market-driven transformation is beginning,” he says.
“Young people … are sometimes unfairly accused of suffering from terminal idealism. … If the actions of a group of students at the State University of New York at Oswego are any indication, this criticism is misplaced. Students belonging to the college’s ONE campus chapter sent congressmen 620 letters and embarked on a spirited social media campaign to secure resources to end poverty in their community.” — U.S. News University
SUNY Oswego has deep roots in the community dating from our founding in 1861. Now the largest employer in Oswego County, the college increasingly allies with other sectors of the region’s socioeconomic ecosystem to lift the area’s quality of life. In 2013-14, the college expanded its affiliation with agriculture, nonprofits, and businesses large and small, and established a new position dedicated to external partnerships and economic development.
The college has purchased produce from an Oswego distributor for more than a decade in support of local agriculture. The farm-to-campus food program promotes the sustainability of healthy, local foods from two dozen farms in Central New York. With help from the American Farmland Trust in 2013-14, Oswego added more locally grown food to dining hall menus, including 2,400 dozen eggs a month from a farm in Onondaga County.
The college-based Small Business Development Center helped secure funding for 14 businesses and create 27 new jobs in the community. Our Office of Business and Community Relations partnered with New York Sea Grant and others to evaluate the business climate in the county’s recreation and tourism industry. The goal of the survey was to find what helps keep tourism enterprises in business and what helps them expand. For the nearby Adirondack region, the office contributed to a report on the economic impact of the region’s hundreds of nonprofits.
In the biggest accomplishment of the year for external partnerships, SUNY Oswego’s Start-Up NY campus plan designating tax-free zones for business development won state approval. Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Start-Up NY initiative provides major incentives for qualifying businesses to relocate or expand through affiliations with colleges. Oswego is targeting innovation-oriented industries, from robotics to sustainable, green processes. The college aims to integrate Start-Up NY partnerships with our longstanding emphasis on experiential learning. “Advancing our academic mission while creating jobs for our region is an exciting opportunity for our college, which is already an economic anchor in Central New York,” President Stanley said.
Preparing students for careers in broadcasting is one of our college’s fortes, and students put their skills to work assisting the community. Using Onondaga County’s Air 1 helicopter, a faculty-student team underwritten by Motorola produced an award-winning film about the need for an effective cross-agency mobile radio communications system for first responders in Upstate New York.
Working with the Oswego County Health Department, the college completed an educational video on Eastern equine encephalitis. A relative of a 4-year-old Oswego County victim of the mosquito-borne disease participated in the video and called it a major step in raising awareness to prevent more deaths.
The college used a community-produced video to make heroin education part of new-student orientation sessions on campus. College police officers are equipped with the overdose drug naloxone. Vice President for Student Affairs Jerald Woolfolk said colleges can make a difference with drug abuse issues. “We’re not going to sugarcoat it,” she said. “We’re going to hit it straight dead on because this is a really serious national epidemic.”
SUNY Oswego hosted two-hour training sessions to give residents the tools and resources to prepare for any type of disaster, respond accordingly and recover as quickly as possible. The state organized the sessions following Superstorm Sandy. Our Sheldon Hall ballroom was packed to capacity as local citizens learned how to survive on their own in an emergency.
Faculty in our health promotion and wellness department conduct research that can ultimately benefit people everywhere. A study led by Oswego faculty member Amy Bidwell and published in U.S. and European professional journals in 2014 brought new light to the ill effects of high-sugar diets and showed how physical activity can counteract them. She found that adding 75 grams of fructose — two 20-ounce lemon-lime sodas — to the daily diet of healthy participants caused massive spikes in cholesterol and other markers that can threaten cardiovascular health. But if the subjects at the same time led highly active lives — indicated by walking at least 12,500 steps, or six miles, daily — their bodies canceled out much of the adverse effects.
Educators from Central China Normal University in Wuhan attended Oswego’s new International Professional Achievement Academy in summer 2014.
A record 130 second- to 10th-graders took part in Oswego’s two-week summer educational enrichment program in 2014. The institute offers small classes, hands-on projects and dynamic teachers who entice students to return summer after summer.
The IRS certified dozens of our business students as volunteers to prepare state and federal tax returns. They served 350 taxpayers in 2014 through the accounting honor society’s annual Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.
Assistant professor Amy Bidwell found that a high sugar intake raises cholesterol but a high activity level can counteract it. Walking at least 12,500 steps, or six miles, daily canceled most of the highly adverse effects of consuming two 20-ounce fructose-sweetened sodas.
SUNY Oswego enriches communities at home and abroad through a wide array of cultural, entertainment and educational activities.
For our nearest neighbors, we debuted an open house of sorts during school holidays in December 2013. Cruisin’ the Campus at the Holidays invited one and all from the community to share in campus recreational opportunities. The college welcomed those who were home for the holidays or in the region year round to attend shows in our new planetarium, exercise at the rejuvenated Romney Field House track, hike Rice Creek Field Station’s nature trails, shop in the college bookstore, and take advantage of our facilities to ice skate, play tennis, swim, read and otherwise enjoy themselves.
Our music, theater, art and dance programs put on 21 student performances and exhibitions in 2013-14, and our faculty along with visiting professional artists presented 64 performances, all open to the public in college or community facilities. In addition, our faculty members are instrumental in many community arts programs, from administering the Rhea LaVeck Concert Series in northern Oswego County to directing church choirs around the region and performing with Syracuse’s Symphoria. They go on tour as well, performing recitals and directing plays from New York to Hawaii to China.
SUNY Oswego-based WRVO Public Media is the largest NPR affiliate in the region and a tremendous source of news, education and entertainment. It won a 2014 regional Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association for “New York in the World,” a documentary hosted by the late Garrick Utley. The veteran journalist was a senior fellow and professor of broadcasting and journalism at Oswego. The documentary told how no other state benefited as much or suffered as much as New York in this era of globalization.
Among our college’s many educational programs for visiting children and professionals were the annual summer Sheldon Institute for schoolchildren, a free School of Education Writing Institute for educators from pre-K through college, and year-round nature education programs at Rice Creek Field Station. The college launched the International Professional Achievement Academy in 2013-14 for educators visiting campus from other lands, starting with India and China. The initiative arose from requests among our partner institutions around the globe to offer customized academic and professional programs.
The college’s retail outlet in the heart of downtown Oswego doubles as a small gallery for student and community artists. In 2013-14, it displayed eight exhibits.
Renowned for preparing some of America’s top actors, the Acting Company brought two sold-out productions to Oswego in 2014, including “Hamlet,” and offered workshops for students.
Kaki King, counted by Rolling Stone among “The New Guitar Gods,” and string quartet Ethel premiered their new collaboration in Oswego before taking their show to UCLA and then on tour nationally.
The first Cruisin’ the Campus at the Holidays during the 2013-14 winter break opened college facilities to the public, including Romney Field House.