SAC Annual Report 2012-2013

Annual Report
Student Affairs Committee

The Student Affairs Committee (SAC) is an integral force in the governance group. During the course of the 2012 – 2013 school year, the committee has scheduled three conference calls and two face to face meetings. The first face to face meeting was held on Oct. 12, 2012 at the Adams Mark Hotel in Buffalo, N.Y. The meeting preceded the Student Academic Conference which was hosted by the Niagara Frontier Center. The full committee has scheduled their last face to face meeting for May at the Desmond Hotel in Albany, N.Y. Following the meeting, the committee will attend the first collegewide Health and Wellness Retreat.

During the initial conference call in September of 2012, the committee identified the following initiatives to focus on for the coming academic year. Below is the SAC 2012-2013 governance year in review:

Student Engagement

  • The committee has discussed the advantages of student clubs for adult students and has decided to participate in the poster session at All College in the spring. Their poster would highlight the activities of various clubs across the college, displaying information about how to start a club, and describing the impact of student clubs on retention. This presentation would hopefully encourage faculty and professionals who visit our session to start clubs at their own centers.
  • The committee also revisited the idea of a Student Ambassador Program in which some centers have been successful in using students to promote activities at their centers, be spokespersons for Empire State College in the community, tutor at their centers, speak at info sessions, orientations, etc.
  • This committee hosted “Vote 2012 An Interactive Forum Across the College.”  This event, which took place on Oct, 2, 2012, was teleconferenced to all regional centers of the college. It was also streamed online via

    This event featured a panel of presenters from three of the regional centers. They addressed topics such as:
    • Role of Media in Election
    • The Development of Third Parties
    • The Challenge to Voting Rights
    • 2012 Election Nonissues
  • The committee also spoke to the various local initiatives involving student engagement. At the Van Arsdale Center there was a recent literary event sponsored by Student Services and funded by SAF funds. The event featured readings from the student publication, “To Remember is to Live.” The event was attended by students, friends, family, Acting President Meg Benke, members of the College Council and officials of the United Federation of Teachers. Planned programs for the spring include a student forum on the topic of Stop & Frisk and a presentation of a movie, “My Brooklyn,” about the commercialization of downtown Brooklyn. The movie is scheduled for March 13.

Student Connection Newsletter

The Student Connection recently published its forty seventh issue in February. CDL student SAC representative Sandra Barkevich is the current editor. The Northeast Center student SAC representative Danielle Clum is serving as the assistant editor. Over the course of the last year the staff of the Student Connection has managed to come up with some outstanding innovations in design, format and content. In the words of Ms. Barkevich, here is what they have been doing.

  • During a meeting with the web team, we were able to make a few tweaks to the look of our newsletter. The most noticeable would be the new link "menu" located just below the page headings. We believe it might make navigation a bit more intuitive and more newsletter looking.
  • With the new format, we will have teaser blurbs on the "Current Articles" page that include a thumbnail of a picture from the article (pictures make articles visually appealing, which is why we want at least one picture for each article.)
  • The Creative Corner is now live. We are now featuring 2-3 creative works in every issue rather than having a separate creative issue
  • The use of pictures - We'd like to make sure each of our articles have at least one professional looking picture included. To do so, we will use free images from sites that provide royalty free pictures such as
  • We are working on guidelines for book and movie reviews. Once we have that down, a new section called The Social Corner will be added. This is where we'd like to feature items like reviews as well as the less journalistic, but still not creative works, by students. One article that comes to mind is Vickie's personal reflection on what working for The Student Connection means to her. It isn't a journalistic piece, but is no less worthy of publication. It just needs to find a home.

Health and Wellness

  • The subcommittee’s main focus is the scheduled Health and Wellness Residency Retreat which will take place in Albany from May 16-18.
  • The subcommittee is in the process of developing a student survey as a means of gauging the interest and knowledge surrounding the topic of health and wellness.
  • The subcommittee is exploring the feasibility of utilizing TV monitors in reception areas of the college to display videos highlighting the many aspects of health and wellness.

Financial Literacy

The Financial Literacy subcommittee was formed to stress the importance of financial literacy to the college community. The subcommittee has done significant research into the current availability of college-sponsored financial resources. From this research, the subcommittee is hoping to identify areas that would benefit from additional resources such as workshops or FAQ. The subcommittee plans to write articles that focus on financial literacy for the Student Connection Newsletter and is looking at ways to partner with local businesses that already offer such resources.

The subcommittee has submitted planning links to be included in the Student Connection Newsletter. The subcommittee has enlisted the services of Ronald Sigeti, from the Niagara Frontier Center, to do a possible collegewide presentation about finances, credit ratings, etc. Mr. Sigeti made a similar presentation at the Student Academic Conference in Buffalo.

Honors Program

Audrey Lynch and Lori Mould have been tackling the merits of an Honors Program at Empire State College. Their work is its initial stage and when concluded will be reported to the Senate in detail. Below is a snap shot of their work.

Reasons for pursuing recognition of student academic excellence:

  • Enhance student applications to graduate school
  • Provide evidence of student achievement on resume
  • Demonstrate to students that the college recognizes their academic achievements.

There are several avenues that we can pursue to recognize student academic achievement at Empire State College - these are just a few ideas:

  • Dean's List/President's list recognition based on GPA for a given term
  • Honors recognition based on final GPA
  • Honors recognition tied to a formal honor society at the college
  • Honors recognition based on completion of an honors capstone study.

Concerns raised by CUSP during the most recent undertaking of an honors/student recognition effort:

  • What does honors/dean's list really mean when faculty cannot award an "F" grade? GPA is not really reflective of true student achievement.
  • Comparing one student to another goes against the overall philosophy of the college.
  • How would honors be viewed outside of Empire State College - it may not be representative of what outsiders think of as honors since we do not have a punitive grading system and students are allowed incompletes in studies.
  • The role of INs in honors - someone receiving an A after 30 weeks isn't the same as someone who received an A after 15 weeks.
  • Full- vs. part-time students and honors - how would that be addressed since so many of our students are part-time? But is a 4.0 the same for someone who went full-time and someone who did one study per term?

There are other issues as well that will need to be addressed such as how to integrate CUSP into any new proposal and who would be responsible for designing and implementing an honors recognition program for our students.

Health and Wellness Retreat

The Health and Wellness Retreat is being planned by Andy Binder from the Office of Student Services. An extensive program has been established for the event. Travel grants will be provided to cover most travel costs for the first 100 students to register.

Highlights of the retreat:

Thursday, May 16 - beginning in the afternoon

  • Personal Wellness Coaches will be available to provide participants with fitness and nutrition plans to acquire health and wellness goals.
  • Wii Fit Challenges – participate in virtual Wii Fit competitions with fellow students including the tight rope walk, soccer, ski jump and more. Prizes are given out to the winners!
  • Fatal Vision Goggles Obstacle Course- see the effects of alcohol while trying to walk a straight line and drive a remote car through a cone obstacle course.
  • TSH Testing – ThyroTest screens participants with symptoms of hypothyroidism by measuring the level of TSH. Results are given in only ten minutes.
  • Social Activity at night.

Friday, May 17 - All Day

  • Concurrent sessions throughout the day will include: Stress Management, Time Management, Nutrition, Yoga, Pilates, Aromatherapy, Dealing with Grief and Loss, and much more.
  • Keynote Speaker – WNYT NBC affiliate News Anchor and Health Reporter Benita Zahn speaking on joy and the role happiness plays in your well being
  • Resource Table – Wellness professional available to answer questions and print out information
  • Free Smoothies all morning
  • Free Chair Massage all afternoon
  • Social Activity at night

Saturday, May 18 - 9 a.m.-noon - Health Fair

  • 25 Vendors to provide information on health and wellness and educate attendees
  • Biometric Screenings – cholesterol, glucose, blood pressure, body fat analysis. Tests take ten minutes per participant.
  • Skin Damage Screenings
  • Paraffin Hand Treatments – hands are submerged in wax which relaxes muscles and penetrates pores to promote hydration
  • Nutrition Awareness Station – busting nutrition myths, eating for energy, nutrition of cancer prevention, and more.
  • Reflexology – Reflexologists will be on hand
  • Bone Density Screening – Screens for osteoporosis by measuring density of the heel bone using ultrasound technology. It is quick and pain free.
  • Visual Acuity Screening – Basic eye exam on site.
  • Enjoy free chair passages, popcorn, and a caricature artist throughout the health fair!

Fourth/Fifth Annual Student Art Competition

The winners of the Fourth Annual Student Art Competition were announced at the 2012 Student Academic Conference in Buffalo. The first place award went to Jenn Crissey for her work entitled, “The Beauty of Vision.”

The Fifth Annual Student Art Competition kicked-off in early February. Students were encouraged to submit a PDF of their art work through May 3, 2013. Any type medium of art is accepted for judging. There is a limit of three submissions per student. Students should submit their work to Any questions or concerns can be directed to Danielle Benedict in the Office of Collegewide Student Services at

Eighth Annual Student Academic Conference

The eighth annual Student Academic Conference was held Oct. 12–13, 2012 at the Adam Mark Hotel in Buffalo. The event was hosted by the Niagara Frontier Center. The event was a huge success and was attended by more than two hundred ESC students, faculty, alumni and staff from around the state. Over thirty five students presented their research, creative and scholarly work.

The keynote address was given by Althea Luehrsen, the Executive Director of Leadership Buffalo. Ms. Luehrsen received both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from SUNY Empire State College.

The Ninth Annual Student Academic Conference will be in October of this year in New York City. The event will be hosted by the Harry Van Arsdale Jr. Center for Labor Studies and will be organized by Sophia Mavrogiannis and Jim McMahon.

Respectfully submitted,

Timothy Minahan, student co-chair
Jim McMahon, faculty/staff co-chair

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