Annual Review 2011: Vibrant Community

II. SUNY Oswego and a Vibrant Community

Recognition Community Service Honor Roll

• SUNY Oswego earned the prestigious Carnegie Foundation's Community Engagement Classification in January 2011.

• Oswego has been on the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll (with Distinction in 2011) every year since the list's inception.

Well-being: Contributions to Our Community

• As noted in the Education Pipeline section, this fall, in a signature engagement project, SUNY Oswego is launching the "Mentor-Scholars for Middle School" program designed to provide large-scale academic and social development assistance to Oswego Middle School students (grades 7-8) to increase persistence rates through high school graduation. The project was planned in collaboration with the superintendent of Oswego City Schools and Oswego Middle School principal and staff. SUNY Oswego will recruit and train 75 students each fall and spring semester (making available a total of 150 each academic year) to serve as mentors-scholars for students identified by the Oswego City School District as underserved or at risk.

• Currently, service learning plans at SUNY Oswego vary across the campus from offered, required or suggested components of curriculum to choices made from personal perspectives. Plans and more uniformity and formality are evolving through wide discussion. We are creating a special identifier in the Registrar's database for all courses with a community-based learning requirement to designate courses that include active community involvement.

SUNY Passport: Arts and Culture Activities

Artswego's Step Afrika• At SUNY Oswego, the arts remain one of the most powerful forms of campus and community engagement. More than 8,000 campus members, regional residents and visitors enjoy in our annual series of musical and theatrical performances; fall and spring art exhibitions; authors, poets, essayists and journalists from our Living Writers Series; and theatrical productions. SUNY Oswego‘s Artswego subscription performing arts series, unique in the area, brings world-renowned creative artists to perform on campus and also engages them at workshops and demonstrations in schools and other venues in the surrounding area. Last season brought to campus acclaimed violinist and composer David Mastrangelo, dance troupe extraordinaire Step Afrika, and graphic artist and Oswego Reading Initiative author Chip Kidd. The National Association of Performing Arts Presenters in 2010 recognized SUNY Oswego for integrating the work of visiting artists with our academic program and the service to the surrounding community, as Oswego advanced in the association‘s Creative Campus Innovations grant competition.

Tari Khan, Pakistani musician• Through Artswego, SUNY Oswego has been nationally selected as one of five small-city communities to participate in a pilot project designed to use the arts to foster an understanding of Muslim cultures through a program titled Caravanserai. This project — aligned with President Obama's Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge — began with a Community Forum on Muslim Culture, broadcast from Syracuse by WRVO-FM on Oct. 10, 2011. During the 2011-12 academic year, three residencies will be held on campus and they will include performances, lecture/demonstrations, classroom visits and social gatherings; residencies will also be conducted in the Oswego and Mexico (N.Y.) school districts.

• As part of Artswego's yearlong theme "Arts, Identity and Diaspora," SUNY Oswego hosted a series of programs in 2010 exploring the experiences of those who leave their native country and culture for another, by choice or otherwise. Artists and ensembles performed, visited classrooms, gave radio interviews and interacted with more than 2,000 students, faculty and community members.

• WRVO-FM, an award-winning National Public Radio affiliate at SUNY Oswego, was founded on campus more than 40 years ago. Transponding throughout Central New York, the station is also deeply involved in meeting the critical information and communication needs of our region.

2010 media summit• Since 2005, SUNY Oswego‘s annual Media Summit has brought students into close contact with leaders in the media industry for high-level, cutting-edge debate about the significant challenges and career opportunities facing this fast-changing industry. Panelists have included ESPN and ABC Sports President George Bodenheimer; former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee; Oswego alumnus Ken Auletta (‘63), author of "Googled" and "The End of the World as We Know It"; and Al Roker of the Today Show. 300 students and other members of our college community attended the program last fall (also broadcast by our NPR affiliate station WRVO), "Are You Ready for the New Media?"

• The SUNY Oswego Metro Center in Syracuse exhibits art shows free to the public at large through "Third Thursday."

• Oswego State Downtown, in the heart of the City of Oswego, gives SUNY Oswego a visible and active presence directly in the center of our community. Opened in 2007, it hosts a beautiful gallery space to exhibit the work of students, faculty and visiting artists (year round) and to host artists‘ receptions and an arm of the College Store offering SUNY Oswego apparel, memorabilia and event and ticketing information while providing new ways for our students and employees to engage with neighbors, community organizations and local businesses. 

Men's ice hockey whiteout game• SUNY Oswego's Campus Center arena is host for our men‘s and women‘s hockey teams, whose games are packed with thousands of spirited fans and spectators while broadcast across Central New York and streamed live to fans anywhere by our student run television station, WTOP, and student-run radio station, WNYO. The Campus Center is also a unique venue in the area, open for community sporting events and activities such as pee wee hockey and open community skate; for community-supported important lectures, and film series and for most of the county‘s high school graduations.

Significant Impact

Students with Habitat for Humanity• SUNY Oswego students provided over 39,000 hours of service to the community last year, providing more than $1.1 million of impact for student activities alone. (That amount will greatly increase as we begin to quantify the volunteer hours provided by faculty and staff as well). Many students are involved in student-led volunteer programs including Adopt-a-Grandparent, Mentor Oswego, Special Olympics, Habitat for Humanity, and Red Cross Club. Through SUNY Oswego‘s Alternative Winter Break, 12 Oswego students served in a primary school in Jamaica teaching basic subjects, painting the building and erecting a jungle gym for children, while 43 students visited the Gulf Coast to help rebuild St. Bernard Parish and the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans. 

• SUNY Oswego, working with Oswego City School District has mentoring and tutoring programs at two elementary schools, the middle school, and the high school. Approximately 100 SUNY Oswego students tutor and/or mentor 100 K-12 students each year. (Our new "Mentor-Scholars for Middle School" began this fall).

• Lakers in the Community, student athletes, engage in hundreds of hours of community service improving the circumstances of hundreds of residents in the Oswego area. 

Books for Sudan• SUNY Oswego faculty led a service project to help fill the library at Dr. John Garang Memorial University of Science and Technology in Bor, South Sudan. Oswego faculty worked with two former Lost Boys of South Sudan. Collaborating on the project was Ginny Donahue, a SUNY Oswego alumna and founder of On Point for College.

• The Adopt-a-School partnership of SUNY Oswego‘s School of Communication, Media and the Arts each year brings college students together with Oswego schoolchildren for stimulating creative projects. In 2009-10, 75 children participated at Kingsford Elementary School, and 120 Oswego Middle School children participated in 2010-11.


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