Judicial affairs work featured at national convention

The work of SUNY Oswego’s judicial affairs office received national attention after it was showcased at the ACPA Louisville 2012 Convention on March 28.

SUNY Oswego graduate student Steven DiMarzo and assistant dean of students for judicial affairs Lisa Evaneski presented at the convention, which had over 3,500 attendees.

The convention, organized by the American College Personnel Association and held every year in different cities across the United States, brings together students and professionals interested in student affairs and higher education for a weekend of networking, panel discussions and workshops.

While DiMarzo had attended the conference before, this was his first time presenting at a national convention.

“I was very excited, I’ve presented before but nothing like this,” he said.  

Student and faculty presentation

Although Evaneski is a regular attendee and seasoned presenter at the ACPA convention, this was her first time working alongside a graduate student and using a SUNY Oswego program.

“This year was great because it was Steven’s first national convention presentation and the first time we showcased one of our programs we do here,” she said.

DiMarzo and Evaneski’s presentation focused on how colleges use educational sanctioning in the judicial process and how that affects students.

“We don’t just make students pay a fine if they violate policy, we connect it to student development,” DiMarzo said. “We found that students who go through our office are more likely to come back from the first to second year.”

DiMarzo, who is pursuing a master’s degree in mental health counseling, has a history of working in judicial affairs with Evaneski. He served as a student conduct committee member, interned there as an undergraduate student and now works as a graduate assistant. 

“We had been talking about the topic itself a lot this year, we had this one sanction that we used with our students and we wanted to share it with other people,” Evaneski said.

“The faculty here is amazing, they have the experience and can use their experiences to help teach us. They provide us with a lot of the real world experience we’re going to have to face after we get our degrees.”
Steven DiMarzo
Graduate, Mental Health Counseling Program, SUNY Oswego

It was DiMarzo’s idea to bring their findings to the ACPA convention.

“He said we should present this,” Evaneski said. “I know him so well after working with him for years, so we had that sense that this is something we can do together.”

Although the presentation took five months of preparation, but both DiMarzo and Evaneski felt the hard work paid off.

“It was really cool to present, we had a good number of people show up and even some who stayed after because they were interested in our findings,” DiMarzo said.

“People were really engaged and thought it was fun and interactive,” Evaneski said. “It turned out to be something other people wanted to learn about.”

Preparing for the future

Although it was DiMarzo’s first time presenting at a national convention, he plans to continue presenting in the future.

“Now I’m going to require myself to present every year because it’s something I know I can do,” DiMarzo said.

“Steven’s a hard worker,” Evaneski said. “He’s passionate about this kind of thing so he put a lot of energy into it.”

DiMarzo hopes to work in student affairs and higher education after he graduates in May 2013. He said the mental health counseling program at SUNY Oswego will help him do that.

“My program is one of the most competitive programs in the state,” he said. “More colleges are asking for degrees in counseling, they understand that a person in counseling has the skills that can transfer over to higher education.”

It is the experienced faculty that DiMarzo believes add to the quality of the mental health counseling program.

“The faculty here is amazing, they have the experience and can use their experiences to help teach us,” he said. “They provide us with a lot of the real world experience we’re going to have to face after we get our degrees.”

Evaneski is confident that DiMarzo’s future is bright.

“He’s got great skills in terms of working in this field,” she said. “He really likes to challenge himself and he’s going to do great things with that kind of energy.”