SUNY Empire’s Inaugural Student Engagement Mixer
By Suzanne Lazar, student, SUNY Empire State College, editor, The Student Connection
October 6, 2016
SUNY Empire State College held its first collegewide Student Engagement Mixer on Sept 27 and 28 in regional locations across the state. The event was hosted by Student Affairs Committee student, faculty and staff representatives, and focused on myriad ways students can become engaged at the college. Representatives from different clubs, organizations and departments such as library resources, academic support, MSiA and Lean In ESC, also were present to answer questions and help encourage students to get involved!
The evening began with a light meal and mingling among students, faculty and staff, followed by a video which highlighted clubs, collegewide events like the upcoming Student Academic Conference and Student Wellness Retreat, residencies and the Student Connection.
Following the video, the SAC representatives opened up the floor for an interactive discussion with Q&A and more mingling.
The Black Male Initiative, a NYC based group, encourage black male students to continue their studies or return to their studies if they have stopped out, reported new members joined as a result of the event. David Fullard, advisor to the organization and SUNY Empire mentor at the Metropolitan Center stated “It was great to see club representation, but more important was that students could walk from table to table, meet club representatives and talk about what each group offers new and existing members. It’s wonderful that several clubs, including BMI, picked up new members. Being engaged in these activities keeps students connected to the college, and keeps them motivated to stay in school.”
Students and their guests enjoyed the evening and meeting new people. Student and SAC representative Dan DeBrucker in Central New York told us “it was great to engage with the students who attended, and their guests. The college was well represented, and it was nice that some faculty was present, but not the focal point of the evening. We ended the evening meeting new Empire friends! What a successful event!”
SAC representative, Heidi Reed, also from Central New York is a nursing student in the graduate program. Her courses are all online which gives her less of an opportunity to interact with students in face-to-face modes of studies. Reed stated “we had a great time getting acquainted with some fellow students and staff! All my classes are on-line, so the ability to visit and network with some fellow students was great! The students in attendance were surprised and excited by all that Student Services has to offer.”
On the evening of the first round of mixers, Julian Wylie, grad student and SAC representative hosted in Metropolitan New York. Wylie shared his experience and stated “Metro had a very good turnout of students, faculty, staff and alumni. We had a good number of questions from students who are interested in joining clubs, inquiries about graduate programs and many students vowed to get more directly involved in activities overall, at SUNY Empire. Activities here in Metro are like a family affair - everyone is always supportive and this event was no exception. President Hancock and other faculty and club advisors made a trip from Saratoga Springs to be part of this mixer. In all, the event was well received.”
The SAC, staff representatives were also on board to mingle with attendees and help field any questions as well as get to know new students and current students who might not typically get to the different SUNY Empire locations. Colleen Reedy, coordinator of residency students and programs at Niagara Frontier region and SAC representative is always enthusiastic when it comes to events that are focused on students. Reedy told us “the mixer was awesome with more than 40 in attendance. Students loved networking, loved the ability to talk to various college departments and enjoyed the general overview video. It was a great mix of collegewide and local information for students.”
One of the newer SAC representatives was eager to get involved and the student engagement mixer was the perfect place to do that. Esther Blakely, student in the BME program helped host the mixer in Niagara Frontier region. Blakely stated “we had a wonderful turn out with tons of excitement and high energy! Students stayed well after the closing raffle to extend the fellowship. It was a beautiful thing to experience! A very nice kick off indeed. I look forward to planning more!”
In addition to students being representatives SAC, some of are also involved in clubs at SUNY Empire and to be able to share both experiences with new students was a major highlight in this great event. One of the SAC representatives, Melinda Wills-Stallings, is a student at the Long Island Center and also an active member of SUNY Empire’s club Minority Student in Action (MSiA). Her involvement shows great passion and dedication and she was happy to share her experience about the mixer in stating “attendance was great at the Long Island Center. The SAC video, which encourages students to get involved and stay actively engaged in so many fun and rewarding facets of ESC student life, was excellently presented. Afterwards, I briefly shared my experiences as a student who is actively engaged through service in the MSiA Student Club, Student Affairs Committee and endless peer-to-peer opportunities for our diverse student body to inform, support and empower ourselves and one another. I expressed that I often feel the overall mutual engagement at SUNY Empire, is, to me, is indeed a positive fellowship with others. I appreciated all of the positive feedback from students and faculty about my hosting the mixer event. I genuinely love the opportunity to give back to our great SUNY Empire community, and I hope we continue to have this type of event frequently! “
The evening ended with a drawing at each location for a chance to win a travel grant to the 2017 Student Wellness Retreat and lots of SUNY Empire swag!
If you’re interested in more mingling, interactive and educational presentations and an evening of great food and entertainment, it’s not too late to register for the 2016 Student Academic Conference, a great venue for meeting your fellow students, faculty and staff at SUNY Empire and even a better way to get engaged.
Read more about how you can get involved at SUNY Empire through Collegewide Student Services.