SUNY Oswego, YMCA partner to bring programs downtown

contract signingSUNY Oswego and the YMCA of Oswego have initiated a partnership this fall to offer programming of interest to city residents.

“We’re thrilled about it. It’s been an excellent opportunity for us,” said Deana Masuicca, executive director of the YMCA.

SUNY Oswego Provost Susan Coultrap-McQuin said planners surveyed the Y’s existing members and members of the college-based Retired Senior Volunteer Program in planning programs so far. “We have so many ideas of different things we could do down there,” she said.

Dr. Paul Roodin of the college’s Experience-Based Education Office helped set up this fall’s programs, she said. They have included a nature walk at the college’s Rice Creek Field Station led by station Director Andrew Nelson, a talk by Dr. Bruce Altschuler of the political science department on the upcoming congressional elections and a reading of an original play by Mark Cole of the theatre department.

“The audience included an assembly candidate (Ed Putnam), two emeritus faculty members and a number of people from the community,” Altschuler said of his presentation. “Questions at the end of the talk indicated that those who came were very interested in and well informed about the elections, leading to a lively discussion.”

Cole’s play on Oct. 29 in the old Armory’s “south parlor” was sold out, Masuicca noted.

Attendees so far have included many “older baby boomers and seniors,” she said, noting that the residential facilities in the downtown area house a predominantly older population.

On Nov. 15, Anthony Licatese, an adjunct in the college’s health promotion and wellness program, will speak on “Senior Nutrition and Health.” On Dec. 13, Walter Opello, director of international education and programs, will talk about “Travel Safety.”

Programs are planned to take place about once a month, and the agreement is renewable every three years, Masuicca said.

Coultrap-McQuin noted that Oswego is part of a national trend in creating this partnership. “Many Y’s around the country are partnering with colleges and universities,” she said.

The idea for the partnership came about around a year ago as the YMCA began leasing the Armory next door to its traditional home on West First Street, Masuicca said. It now has a 35-year lease with the City of Oswego for the building, she said.

“We have a facility that has a lot of room,” Masuicca explained, “and our board president, John FitzGibbons, felt it was a great opportunity to bring talents from the college to downtown Oswego.”

The old Armory building has areas that need repairs and painting, she said, but it has features distinctive to structures of its size and era. “We have four fireplaces that are just gorgeous,” she noted.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Programming partners—SUNY Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley and John FitzGibbons, president of the YMCA of Oswego board of directors, sign a partnership agreement to offer programming of interest to city residents. Witnessing the signing are, from left, Malissa Lakin-Watson, assistant director of the YMCA, and from SUNY Oswego Provost Susan Coultrap-McQuin, Vice President for Student Affairs Joseph Grant and Associate Vice President for Development Kerry Dorsey.

(Posted: Nov 01, 2006)