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Student Spotlight: Caleb Haines, student, SUNY Empire State College

By Suzanne Lazar, student, SUNY Empire State College; editor, The Student Connection

November 3, 2016

Student SpotlightStudents at SUNY Empire State College play an integral role in making this educational institution what it is – an amazing place to learn. While each and every student at SUNY Empire brings something unique to the college, we can’t meet all of them and learn about his or her unique quality or special project, but, on occasion, we do spotlight a student whose achievements capture our attention.

Caleb Haines considers himself “a 32-year-old nontraditional student.”  Under the guidance of Mentor James Nichols, Haines is currently working toward a B.S. in Business, with a concentration in labor studies, at the Ithaca location. Upon completion in 2017, Haines plans to pursue a master’s degree in the field of industrial labor relations. 

At present, Haines is a journeyman stagehand with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (I.A.T.S.E) Local #9 in Syracuse. He says, “In attending SUNY Empire, I am inspired by the I.A.T.S.E. President Matthew D. Loeb, a SUNY Empire alumnus of labor studies, and the exceptional faculty, including professors Jeanne Cousineau, Lee Herman, Lainie Kitt, James Nichols and Dongho Kim. Through SUNY Empire, I am better equipped to serve my union and support my family.”

When not at work or devoting time to his studies, Haines is a husband and father and engaged in a number of civic and volunteer activities including Red Cross, Blue Shield (UNESCO), Tompkins County Worker’s Center, St. Baldrick’s Foundation, and more. He says, “When given free time, I enjoy making music, writing poetry, history, reading and engaging in community oriented activities.”

Haines’ interest in preserving architecture and historical sites, research and love of competition brought him to the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the commendable efforts of “People for the Pavilion,” which then steered him to a competition to redesign the New York State Pavilion at the Flushing Meadows Corona Park site of the ‘64 World’s Fair. Haines’ mother is from Astoria, Queens, which further inspired him to “make mom proud and give it a shot.”

Haines submitted two proposals to support the cause of preserving architecture. The one that got most attention was a $100 million renovation of the NYS Pavilion. Named “The Cheeseburger Museum,” Haines had no expectation the submission would create such an interest and buzz and, although the idea had a light and comedic approach and intent, his Cheeseburger Museum submission was featured in more than 20 digital and print articles including in the Wall Street Journal, Popular Science and several other architecture-related reviews. Haines told us, “Indeed, it was great to garner so much attention to the preservation of the NYS Pavilion and that People for the Pavilion attracted so many creative and diverse entries. I hope that they achieve great success and I look forward to being more active during my time at SUNY Empire and beyond.”

Haines dedicates a great amount of time, as well as passion, to historic preservation. Although Haines was not the winner, he said he was pleased that “I raised a great deal of attention to a wonderful cause by being featured in many magazines and newspapers in New York.”

Haines’ dedication and passions are winning attributes that give him the tools to be a great success as a student at SUNY Empire, which is a prime example of an adult balancing work, life and school.

All it takes is finding something you’re interested in and enjoying what you do.

Read more about the contest at http://gothamist.com/2016/07/06/ny_state_pavilion_restoration_ideas.php#photo-1

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Student Spotlight: Caleb Haines, student, SUNY Empire State College, By Suzanne Lazar, student, SUNY Empire State College; editor, The Student Connection

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