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  Issue Number 7 • Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017  


Campus Champion

When she graduates next month, Laura Barnstead will leave a void in the Cortland community, on campus and off. Laura has volunteered more than one hundred hours of service through her service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega and as publicity intern with the Institute for Civic Engagement. A dual major in political science and professional writing, Laura developed “Humans of Engagement” on the Institute’s Facebook page, modeled after the popular “Humans of New York” photoblog. Students tell stories of their applied learning experiences in their own words. Laura’s efforts have helped the Institute increase audience engagement on Facebook by 1,750 percent.

Nominate a Campus Champion

Wednesday, Nov. 22

Thanksgiving Break Begins, 8 a.m.

Monday, Nov. 27

Classes Resume

Tuesday, Nov. 28

Native American Film Series:Medicine Woman,” documentary tells the story of the first Native American woman to earn a medical degree and looks at a modern-day South Dakota reservation, Sperry Center, Room 106, 7 p.m.

Thursday, Nov. 30

Incllusion Series Film: “Coming Out,” Sperry Center, Room 106, 4:30 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 1

Films at Four FilmFest: “Waitress” (2007), Modern Languages lab, Old Main, Room 223. Refreshments will be served beginning at 3:50 p.m.  

A Capella Concert: Old Main Brown Auditorium, 7 p.m.

Performance: “Little Women,” a musical based on the beloved novel by Louisa May Alcott, Dowd Fine Arts Center Theatre, 8 p.m.

Cortland Nites: Pinterest Party, Corey Union Function Room, 9 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 2

SGA Holiday Party: Hosted by the Student Government Association to thank faculty and staff. Spouses, children and other family members and friends welcome, activities include games, inflatables and refreshments, Corey Union Function Room, RSVP required.

Performance: “Little Women,” a musical based on the beloved novel by Louisa May Alcott, Dowd Fine Arts Center Theatre, 8 p.m.

Cortland Nites Movie: “The Grinch,” Corey Union Function Room, 8 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 3

Performance: “Little Women,” a musical based on the beloved novel by Louisa May Alcott, Dowd Fine Arts Center Theatre, 2 p.m.

SUNY Cortland Ranked No. 10 Nationally in Sports Medicine


Whether it’s athletic training, exercise science, coaching, sport studies or fitness development, SUNY Cortland’s Kinesiology Department offers its students top-notch learning opportunities.

That commitment to excellence was recognized recently by, which ranked the College’s undergraduate program in sports medicine No. 10 among colleges from across the nation. lauded SUNY Cortland for its student research, student-run clubs and organizations such as the Athletics Trainers Club and study abroad programs in England, Germany and Australia.

The criteria used by started with academic reputation and student retention. Information used in the study came from The National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. News & World Report and PayScale.

Within the past five years, several undergraduate students have conducted research and presented on topics including the College’s AlterG anti-gravity treadmill, 5-hour energy drinks and Parkinson’s Disease at local, state, regional and national conferences. Students in each of SUNY Cortland’s kinesiology programs have the opportunity to participate in professionally-related internships and practicums in the areas of sports medicine, physical/occupational therapy clinics, fitness centers, strength and conditioning venues, college-level coaching and youth sport organizations. Each year, the department supports more than 50 students through off-campus transformational experiences. There are in excess of 500 options for students to choose from in practical experience that fits their professional goals.   

SUNY Cortland has a long history with and a commitment to athletic training. The College is home to the New York State Athletic Trainers’ Association (NYSATA) Hall of Fame and will host the annual NYSATA conference in June 2018.

Bert R. Mandelbaum ’75, M.D., who has served as a team physician with U.S. Soccer and as assistant medical director of Major League Soccer, has financially supported and returned to campus to speak at SUNY Cortland’s Sports Medicine Symposium.

The College’s kinesiology students do well in the classroom and beyond. A recent study of athletic training graduates from 2014 to 2017 found that 96 percent graduated on time and 90 percent of those graduates were employed as athletic trainers or were employed as athletic trainers while pursuing an additional degree. 

For more information, visit the Kinesiology Department online.

Alumna Among New York City’s Top Teachers


Rose Graham-Newman ’07, M ’09 admits that she was challenged as a high school student growing up in an economically disadvantaged family in the Long Island community of Central Islip.

Newman, who was one of 12 children, had to take many remedial classes during elementary and middle school and attended summer school just to pass in the 10th grade.

“Not many children from my neighborhood grow up and get through high school much less college,” explained Newman. She credits SUNY Cortland for the transformation that has enabled her to become one of the best teachers in New York City, home to the nation’s largest public school system.

This summer, Newman was one of 19 educators honored with a Big Apple Award by the New York City Department of Education, and the first physical education teacher to receive the award in its five-year history.

Big Apple Award recipients represent a diversity of grade levels and subject areas from each of the five New York City boroughs. Newman was chosen from among 7,800 nominees and 1,000 finalists in a city that educates more than 1.1 million children each year.

“What really pushed me toward excellence was not just being a scholar at Cortland but also being a teacher coming out of Cortland,” said Newman, who is in her 10th year of teaching at Lorraine Hansberry Public School 118 in Queens, N.Y.

Now living on Long Island with her husband, Bevon Newman, and 2-year-old son, Isaac, Newman in her own life has surmounted obstacles similar to those now faced by her students.

“I was one of the first in my family to graduate from college,” she said. Athletics helped Newman earn the education she needed, but not in the way she expected.

Newman and her identical twin sister, Rosetta Graham-Nairne ’07, both were high school star basketball players. Newman’s best ticket to a college education seemed to be through collegiate basketball.

In 2002, her high school senior hoops performance brought her to the SUNY Cortland campus to compete for the Long Island team at the Empire State Games.

“That’s how I found out about SUNY Cortland,” she said. “I had such a great experience, that’s how I came to Cortland. I thought, ‘This is like sports heaven, physical education heaven. I want to come here.’

“The primary example that SUNY Cortland set for me was the tone when I got there,” she said. “I knew that Cortland was the P.E. school, number one. That’s where everyone went who wanted to be a physical education teacher. That was just the mindset, that I had to be not just good but great.”

Of course, coming to Cortland meant placing her own athletic career on the back burner and focusing on education. She did not play on Cortland’s Division III varsity women’s basketball team. But her decision certainly paid off.

“I ended up leaving my neighborhood and getting out,” she observed. “If it wasn’t for that, I would probably still be in my neighborhood ... Boy, Cortland and the Empire State Games is what actually got me out.”

She and Rosetta completed their degrees at Cortland together, having competed against one another nearly every step of the way. Today Rosetta teaches middle school physical education in Queens, N.Y.

“Who can get the highest score? Who can pass this class?” Newman said. “We would take courses from difficult teachers and say to one another, ‘I’m going to ace this class,’ ‘I’m going to pass this competency test.’ So that was really fun. It was like a competition instead of a class.”

And by the time the two crossed the platform to grasp their bachelor’s degree diplomas in physical education, both were encouraged that their older sister, Tricia Graham, had graduated one year earlier from SUNY Farmingdale.

Newman’s journey through SUNY Cortland was made possible by a prestigious four-year Cortland Urban Recruitment for Educators (C.U.R.E.) scholarship.

To say she made the most of her Cortland experience would be an understatement.

In 2007, she was honored as a National Association for Sport and Physical Education Major of the Year, an award that ultimately led to a SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence, the highest student recognition given by the country’s largest comprehensive public system of higher education.

Inducted into Phi Kappa Phi, she earned many scholarships in her discipline as well as for student teaching and student leadership. She is listed in the 2007 Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities & Colleges.

Outside the classroom, Newman missed the basketball court. So, in 2004 she co-founded and ran the SUNY Cortland Women’s Club Basketball team, which continues today. As Most Valuable Player, Newman led the team to becoming regional champion in Boston, Mass., and placing fourth in the nation at Georgia Tech in 2007. She also served as vice president for the student club Women of Color and lent her voice to the SUNY Cortland Gospel Choir, traveling with the vocalists to Canada and England.

Newman said many of the courses she took at SUNY Cortland were centered around the concept of health-related fitness.

“They were trying to move P.E. from having that negative connotation of ‘gym’ where it’s kind of like ‘recess.’ It’s more like the learning became as important as the moving, because what is the sense of moving if you can’t link it to your health? Or not knowing what you’re doing or what aspect of fitness you are addressing?”

Among those were two emeritus faculty members, Associate Professor Michael Kniffen and Professor Eric Malmberg.

“Mike Kniffen embodied the type of teacher I wanted to be,” Newman said. “He taught with a passion and enthusiasm, and he was funny. He differentiated his instruction to meet the needs of students.

“He had it down to a science on how to capture the attention of students so that they can learn at their greatest potential,” she said. Newman continues to emulate Kniffen’s style of teaching.

“Malmberg, he was no joke,” she added. “He was a great professor, but he was tough. He played no games. I remember him saying, ‘If you think this is hard, you should change your major’ to people and he would give out change-your-major forms.”

She holds a special regard for the late English Department faculty member, Kathy Lattimore, who spent hours outside of class helping Newman improve her literacy and writing skills.

“She said, ‘Rose, this is not where you are supposed to be as a college student. It’s not your fault, but I’m going to help you to get where you need to be academically to be successful here at Cortland,’” Newman said. “She did all it took to make sure that I succeeded.” 

As a C.U.R.E. scholar she was immediately assigned to assist at a high-needs school in Syracuse, N.Y.

“Those experiences exposed me at an early time in my education to the barriers of learning for students in urban education,” Newman said. “I was able to directly apply the experiences I had, in terms of dealing with the social, emotional and even socio-economic issues that occur in urban areas. As I continued on in my education as a physical educator, it made me stronger as a teacher because I was already aware of the barriers to education.”

After she had earned her B.S. in physical education (K-12), she remained at her alma mater and received an M.S. in teaching health education (K-12).

The transformation of Newman from a teenager who first visited the SUNY Cortland campus as an Empire State Games basketball standout into a dedicated wellness educator was completed in June when she captured her Big Apple Award.

 “That excellence mark was set at Cortland, leading me toward the level of excellence that I’m at now,” said Newman.

“Some people say that perfection is an illusion. But I feel like Cortland makes it possible to be, if not perfect, close to it.”

In addition to continuing their outstanding work in the classroom, this year’s Big Apple Award educators will also serve as Big Apple Fellows during the 2017-18 school year. That entails meeting with New York City Department of Education Chancellor Carmen Farina monthly to improve policies and practices in the city’s education system.

“My physical education class is a place of moving and learning,” said Newman, who teaches pre-kindergarten through the fifth grade. Her overall goal is for students to “have fun while learning about health-related fitness, skills and character.”

She also sets specific goals that can be tracked during the year, and students are expected to spend at least 50 percent of class time engaged in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and complete at least 1,000 steps during each lesson, as measured by the use of pedometers.

Students are empowered in Newman’s classroom, where she calls them her “friends.” They use self-monitoring behavior clip charts to hold themselves accountable. The Rising New York Road Runners program allows them to earn incentives for reaching physical education milestones. They even take on leadership roles such as managing equipment, motivating others, leading workouts and conducting peer and self-assessments. Newman also conducts an early morning fundamental fitness program titled Build Our Kids Success, which gets kids active before the school day begins.

Newman shares best practices and strategies with other district P.E. teachers through her Professional Learning Community.

Now she strives every day to change the lives of children the same way SUNY Cortland changed hers.

“My vision is that every student is pushed to their potential to maintain academic excellence and physical fitness for lifelong health,” she said.


Capture the Moment


Laughing was part of the learning at last week’s statewide New York Coalition for Sustainability in Higher Education annual conference, despite the seriousness of the topic. These participants were attending the panel “Why Artists are Important to Sustainability,” presented by representatives from the University at Albany, SUNY Geneseo and SUNY New Paltz who have used art as a vehicle for teaching sustainability issues. More than 160 people attended the two-day conference. Read more

In Other News

SUNY Cortland Recognized Nationally for Sustainability

Gold stars 360240.png 11/21/2017

SUNY Cortland has again received recognition as one of the greenest colleges in North America in the 2017 Sustainable Campus Index released by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).

The College was one of 122 to receive a gold rating from AASHE’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). SUNY Cortland was the only SUNY comprehensive college to receive a gold rating. The universities at Albany and Buffalo and the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry also earned gold ratings.

Colleges and universities are measured in 17 sustainability impact areas related to academics, engagement, operations and administration.

SUNY Cortland ranked No. 5 in the “Grounds” impact area, which measures the planning and maintenance of campus grounds, minimizing the use of toxic chemicals, protecting wildlife habitat and conserving resources.

AASHE first recognized the College with a gold rating in 2015, as it became the first in the SUNY system to earn such an award. It is the latest in a long line of honors for SUNY Cortland’s green and sustainable initiatives.

The campus was named a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation and was the only campus in New York state identified as “pollinator friendly” by Bee Campus USA.

The Sierra Club ranked SUNY Cortland at No. 54 on its “Cool Schools” list in 2016, among more than 2,000 colleges and universities it studied.

Academically, the College offers a master’s degree in sustainable energy systems. SUNY Cortland was the first college in the nation to offer such a degree.

The College is committed to being a leader on the issue, hosting the New York Coalition for Sustainability in Higher Education annual conference earlier this month. Keynote speakers and conference sessions on a variety of topics related to sustainability were part of the event schedule. It was aimed at energy managers, sustainability coordinators, faculty, students and staff from public and private higher education institutions.

Musical “Little Women” Continues This Weekend

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The emotional ties between the four March sisters in the classic Louisa May Alcott story “Little Women” is an essential part of the plot.

With that in mind, the musical theatre majors cast as the sisters in the upcoming SUNY Cortland musical production of “Little Women” know the importance of forming authentic relationships.

“Right after we were cast, we all went out for a group lunch at Subway,” said Marissa Fess, a junior from Penfield, N.Y., who plays the role of Beth. “It was our first bonding experience.”

SUNY Cortland’s Performing Arts Department musical production of “Little Women,” based on the beloved novel, opened Dec. 1 and continues at 8 p.m. this Friday, Dec. 8, and Saturday, Dec. 9, in the Dowd Fine Arts Center Theatre. A matinee will close the production at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 10. Written by Sean Hartley with music by Kim Oler and lyrics by Alison Hubbard, the musical version seeks to add a fun, new spin on the timeless tale.

Tickets are $19 for adults, $16 for faculty, staff and senior citizens and $9 for students. Purchase tickets at Box Office walk-up hours are Wednesdays from 2 to 4 p.m. and Thursdays from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Dowd Fine Arts Center.

“Little Women” follows the lives of Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March and their passage and struggles from childhood to womanhood during the 19th century.

“This version showcases four very different sisters, but somehow they all come together as this great loving family,” said Liz Davis, a sophomore from Manassas, Va., who plays the character of Jo. “I think that’s really important because it shows you don’t have to be one cookie cutter type of girl or woman.”

Meg is the oldest sister and is played by Mia Donneruno, a sophomore from East Northport, N.Y. She describes her character as “soft spoken” and dreams of having her own “Cinderella moment at the ball where she meets Prince Charming.” The youngest sister, Amy, is played by Alyssa Lopez, a sophomore from Levittown, N.Y. Lopez describes Amy as “a little bratty, but very headstrong.” The two sisters, although years apart, both desire wealth and a lifestyle that only money can buy.

Beth is a “very shy girl who loves music,” said Fess. Compared to her tomboy sister Jo, who Davis defined as “the type of female character that wants to go out and do all the things that aren’t expected of her in her time,” Beth prefers to help others and perform household chores. Her calm and kind manner has a positive influence on Jo, in stark contrast to Jo’s brash behavior.

The musical continues the 2017-18 season’s focus on the strength of female characters and how they overcome obstacles. “Little Women” is a classic story of female empowerment.

“The show centers around these strong female characters and how you don’t need anyone’s permission to do what you want,” Donneruno said.

Although Little Women was first published in 1868, the coming-of-age tale is still relevant today. The story emphasizes the importance of family. The sisters like different things and have different goals, showing there isn’t a “right way” to be a woman.

The story of “Little Women” has been passed down for generations, giving a chance for the students to act out a part of their upbringing. 

Fess, who has three real-life sisters, read the book as a child and would play games with her siblings pretending to be the March sisters. Davis recalls reading the children’s version of Little Women in elementary school and then read the full novel to prepare for her role as Jo. Lopez remembers watching the movie with her mother and “laughing about how Amy was similar to me in some ways and now here I am.”

Donneruno was raised in a musical family and was familiar with the musical version of “Little Women” before being cast.

“The musical was really pushed in my family. I remember my sister and I from a young age skipping around the house, singing the songs, and pretending we were Jo and Beth,” she said.

Opening in time for the holiday season, “Little Women” is a relatable coming-of-age story that audiences of all ages will love. This version of “Little Women” is appropriate for children and is a family-friendly event.

“The show has great music and an array of characters. There are moments where you’ll laugh and cry,” Davis said.

“This show is a lot of fun and people will find themselves in at least one of the characters,” Lopez said.

The actors discussed the musical and also sang a song from "Little Women" on Newschannel 9's "Bridge Street" on Nov. 22. Additional video of the actors is available on the SUNY Cortland YouTube channel.

For more information, contact Jeffrey Whetstone, the Performing Arts Department’s production manager and publicity coordinator, at 607-753-2831.

Prepared by Communications Office writing intern McKenzie Henry

Campus Named ‘Bicycle Friendly’

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SUNY Cortland is known as a college that encourages both physical activity and “green” environmental practices. That’s made the sprawling campus a natural location for a mode of transportation that combines both values: the bicycle.

The League of American Bicyclists, which has existed since 1880, recognized SUNY Cortland as a Bicycle Friendly University (BFU) program at the bronze level earlier this month.

The bronze award means that the College has shown a strong commitment to cycling. The designation lasts for four years. SUNY Cortland may apply for a silver award in 2021, if the campus and community make more bike-friendly improvements.

“Students have done a lot and this award gives them recognition for all their hard work,” said Jason Harcum, assistant director of recreational sports for outdoor pursuits, which runs the College’s popular bike rental program.

“Biking is a great way to get around campus because parking can be challenging and it is a sustainable practice,” he said. “It provides exercise and gets people outside.”

Outdoor Pursuits maintains 70 bikes and approximately 50 of them are rented out each week. Outdoor Pursuits also offers a semester-long rental program where a red bike may be obtained for $55.

 BFU recognizes institutions of higher education for promoting and providing a more bikeable campus for students, staff and visitors, according to the organization’s website. It provides guidance and technical assistance to create great campuses for cycling.

The bronze category indicates that the College has demonstrated the following characteristics:

  • Engineering — the administration recently implemented a policy to engineer streets with the consideration of cyclists or is beginning to develop a trail network. Campus facilities conform to the currently recognized safety standards and some training is available for engineers and planners on staff.
  • Education — The campus holds bicycle safety events and educational opportunities and offers education on theft prevention.
  • Encouragement — The campus hosts organized rides each quarter and an annual Bike to Campus Day.             
  • Enforcement — Officers are familiar with laws relating to bicyclists and work with the bicycling community to disseminate safety information to motorists and cyclists.
  • Evaluation — The college/university is familiar with and responsive to the needs of cyclists. There is a significant percentage of employees and students who bike on campus more than twice a week.

SUNY Cortland launched its Community Bike Project in 2003, offering yellow, red, and green bikes for different purposes. After the College opened the Student Life Center in spring 2015, the program found a home within Recreational Sports under the newly created Outdoor Pursuits. Students and staff worked together to understand the program and how to continue to offer an alternative and safe mode of transportation. The first step was changing the name to Cortland Bike Project.

“Students painted all the bikes to red, inspected them for safety and installed new chains, bells and reflectors,” Harcum said.

Members of the SUNY Cortland community who haven’t already done so are encouraged to try getting around campus on a bicycle.

  • Students, faculty or staff may go into Outdoor Pursuits and request a free bike.
  • They then are required to watch an orientation video.
  • Afterward, they get to select a bike and sign a rental agreement.
  • That bike rental is good for one week. Bike usage that exceeds the time frame incurs a late fee of $1 a day.

The Cortland Bike Project bicycles are mainly used in the fall semester and after spring break during the spring semester. Outdoor Pursuits staff currently are reclaiming all the bikes before winter.

“Bike riding is fun, like being in a car but much more personal,” said Joseph Awuku a junior art studio major from Corona, N.Y. “I enjoy biking around campus because it is a quick way to get to class and allows me to appreciate the beauty of the campus. I think more students should bike more often because it is healthy. We go to school on a nice campus and biking helps you appreciate that.”

 For more information, contact or call 607-753-5809.

Prepared by Communications Office writing intern Navita Ramprasad

Young Alum Puts Skills to Use in Puerto Rico

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Two months after Hurricane Maria tore through Puerto Rico, Matt Green ’12 knows how much still needs to be done on the island.

Green, who works for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Office of Emergency Management, saw the devastation firsthand in October, traveling there on a work-related relief trip to help rebuild San Juan’s major airport.

More than 2,000 people still are living in shelters, while the nation’s power grid is operating at 41 percent capacity, according to a recent report in The New York Times. All told, the U.S. territory has requested $94.4 billion in federal aid to help with long-term recovery from the Sept. 20 hurricane.

“Speaking to what I saw myself, it seemed almost insurmountable,” said Green, who served as chief of SUNY Cortland Emergency Medical Services (EMS) when he was a student. “People still were in desperate need of food and water. There were a lot of homes without roofs. I don’t think I saw a working traffic light the entire time I was there.”

Green went to Puerto Rico with a group of approximately 80 coworkers from the Port Authority, making a two-week trip that was part of a larger, month-long effort to help restore several seaports and the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan. They were fulfilling an Emergency Management Assistance Compact request, or an agreement that serves as the cornerstone of the nation’s mutual aid system.

On a typical workday in New York City, Green works as an emergency communications specialist and a watch desk supervisor. That means he uses social media and other platforms to communicate with the public during events such as major accidents or natural disasters. It’s a full-time job that matches his degree in new communication media with his leadership experience from SUNY Cortland EMS.

The hurricane relief effort, however, was a trip back in time to Green’s roots as an emergency medical technician (EMT). His role in Puerto Rico didn’t involve Twitter or Instagram. Instead, he served as an emergency manager among a group of Port Authority engineers, electricians and port and aviation specialists, primarily helping with the logistics of moving equipment and acting as a safety person on job sites where his team rebuilt security fencing.

Green passed all of the credit to his fellow Port Authority colleagues.

“No one took a day off,” he said, noting that some of the Port Authority’s first responders opted to sleep in airport terminals. “They woke up early in the morning, worked through oppressive heat and basically had to be pulled off of work sites at the end of the day. It was inspiring.” 

Green and his crew members worked even on their weekend days off — rebuilding homes, running humanitarian missions and bringing relief supplies to places that had not seen them. He said the resilience of Puerto Rico’s residents equaled the work ethic of the Port Authority team.

“They’re still going to work, they’re rebuilding their homes and they’re not giving up,” said Green, who grew up in Commack, N.Y., and now resides in Hoboken, N.J. “The Puerto Rican community needs our help, but they’re doing a great job.”

Besides the overall level of destruction, Green said he was moved by the emotional goodbyes that took place each day in the airport, when crying parents sent their children to live elsewhere. He thought back to a communication studies course he took with Professor Caroline Kaltefleiter, Issues in Digital Culture, which put empathy at the center of classroom discussions and assignments.

“All of my ability to empathize — the reason I became interested in social media and how it affects the world around us — has to do with Dr. K’s class,” he said. “Every day we’d show up with an issue that we wanted to solve or debate or discuss. That type of work opens your eyes to what’s going on around you and how it affects your everyday life.” 

In a similar way, the most pivotal college experiences of Green’s undergraduate career involved SUNY Cortland EMS, a close-knit community of student emergency responders. Membership exploded during Green’s four years as a student and the agency never missed any of its 400 to 500 annual calls on campus. But just as important as the tangible emergency response skills he developed were the people he met — friends who turned into family members for a lifetime.

“The people who supported me then are the same people who support me now,” he said, recalling how club members picked up each others spirits during finals week stress and moments of loss. “(SUNY Cortland EMS) is my family.”

For instance, when Green was a senior in 2011, he led a small group that helped flood victims in New York state’s Southern Tier during the aftermath of Tropical Storm Lee. During the trip, former club advisor Michael Holland died suddenly from a heart attack — a devastating experience that ultimately brought EMS members closer together.

Puerto Rico offered the same type of perspective.

When he arrived there, Green saw considerable destruction and desperation. In time, however, he found inspiration through the people around him.

Casey Austin ’14 Running After His Goals

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Casey Austin ’14 was thinking back to his SUNY Cortland cross country career before his big presentation at the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Mid-Atlantic conference in Harrisburg, Pa., earlier this month.

Austin, a graduate student studying his undergraduate major of exercise science, saw himself in competition with the other four presenters. He wanted to be first across the finish line.

That was exactly what happened. Austin’s presentation, ““Elevated Temperature Inside a Lower Body Positive Pressure Treadmill During Exercise: A Possible Environmental Constraint,” tied for first with an entry from the University of Delaware. It was the first time a SUNY Cortland student won a student research award at an ACSM conference.

“The lead-up to the presentation feels really similar to the lead-up of a race,” Austin said. “The nerves are similar and you get focused and get in the zone. I think all of those experiences have made me a better presenter.”

Working with SUNY Cortland’s AlterG Anti-Gravity treadmill, Austin heard a common complaint from users. The treadmill works by placing runners in a chamber that extends up to their waist. An air chamber then inflates to lighten the user’s body weight.

“We found that a lot of the participants who were running on it made the same observation almost every time,” Austin said. “It gets really hot in there and they sweat a lot. We decided to put a temperature probe in there and see what we got. It turns out that it gets close to 100 degrees within the chamber in the course of 20 minutes of use.”

Casey Austin mugshotAustin first presented his data at “Transformations: A Student Research and Creativity Conference” in April. He and Associate Professor Jim Hokanson worked further on the data before the ACSM conference in November.

As a senior in 2014, Austin had presented at “Transformations” on the links between caffeine and the level of performance in athletes. That experience led Austin to realize his passion for research and shifted his career goals from physical therapy to academia. He is currently working on his master’s thesis and is considering pursuing a doctorate and then further research possibilities as a professor.

It was that first experience of explaining his undergraduate research in 2014 that had Austin hooked.   

“I was a theatre guy in high school so I don’t mind speaking in front of groups of people but I had never spoken about science in front of a group of people,” Austin said. “It’s a little different. ‘Transformations’ was huge.”

Austin ran cross country and track and field for the Red Dragons for four seasons as an undergraduate. He placed fourth overall at the 2013 SUNYAC championships as a senior, earning All-SUNYAC and All-Region accolades.

For now, studying physiology and finishing his master’s are Austin’s main passions. He’s glad to have his running experiences in the back of his mind motivating him to strive for his personal best in the classroom.

“That was a huge part of making me who I am today and learning what it means to work hard. Running is really cool in that you tend to get out of it what you put into it. Some sports, it’s a toss-up. There is the luck of it. But with running, generally the correlation is there. If you’re working hard you’re going to see good things.”

College Food Pantry Becomes SUNY Cortland Cupboard

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When most people get hungry, they simply open their kitchen cupboard to find what they need. That common and routine act is captured in the new official name for a donation-supported resource for financially struggling college students that opened Nov. 6: the SUNY Cortland Cupboard.

Located in the basement of the Interfaith Center at 7 Calvert St., on the corner opposite Dowd Performing Arts Center, the cupboard will be open weekdays from noon to 1 p.m. for the rest of the semester.

The SUNY Cortland Cupboard is filled with shelves of non-perishable food items and essentials like can openers and personal care products that students living off-campus often cannot afford.

Although the volunteer ad-hoc committee behind the cupboard initially planned it to be a food pantry, they quickly expanded the scope of its mission to accept — and to provide to cash-strapped students free of charge — donations of personal items like soap and toothpaste.

The service is open to SUNY Cortland students in need.  Over the last few years, similar resources have opened on campuses throughout the country, including at least six SUNY institutions, in recognition of widespread food insecurity among college students.

Volunteer organizers are accepting donations from the community to stock the cupboard. In about six months, they expect to have met the requirements to qualify for support from the Food Bank of Central New York. 

Those who would like to make a contribution to the SUNY Cortland Cupboard can do so through the Cortland College Foundation via mail at P.O. Box 2000, Cortland, NY 13045 or telephone at 607-753-5744 or online at

Running the pantry also creates a continuing need for more civic-minded citizens to help out. To volunteer, contact John Suarez, who directs the College’s Institute for Civic Engagement, at 607-753-4391.

Additionally, Suarez is recruiting a junior or senior as an ICE intern to manage the cupboard for the spring semester. The intern, preferably an economics and or sociology major, must take the internship for credit. The individual will track the cupboard’s inventory, ensuring that the Cupboard is stocked, organized, and accommodating for guests; follow up on guest suggestions; provide weekly updates to a SUNY Cortland Cupboard Board of Directors; train volunteers; and collaborate with other ICE interns on the operation.

Out of 301 SUNY Cortland students who responded to a recent College survey, a majority of whom lived off campus, more than one-third replied that they had gone to bed hungry while attending college because of lack of finances.

The College’s Health Promotions Office representatives worked closely with the College Health Department, to study the problem of hunger at Cortland. A one-week survey was conducted during October to gather information on the students. Of the 301 respondents, 66.9 percent lived off campus. Almost 30 percent of those said their whole semester tuition bill was covered by financial aid. Just a few more than 10 percent said they have used a soup kitchen or food pantry before.

In addition to Health Promotions and the Health Department, staff in the College’s Institute for Civic Engagement, SUNY Cortland Alumni Association, and the Cortland College Foundation participated in the development of the SUNY Cortland Cupboard.

National Philanthropy Week Tradition Continued

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Imagine being a SUNY Cortland student on a campus that doesn’t have newly renovated classrooms, up-to-date technology and a scholarship program.

That’s what student Christopher Gutierrez, a programming intern with The Cortland Fund, asked the campus community in a series of electronic communications during Philanthropy Week, which was celebrated from Nov. 13 to Nov. 17, for a fourth year at the College.

“We would not have the resources needed to get the best education possible,” said Gutierrez. 

“That is where the philanthropists come in. Thanks to their generous contributions, we have access to all of these things, and so much more. These gifts improve the academic experiences of the students and greatly affect the lives of everyone on campus.”

National Philanthropy Day was Wednesday, Nov. 15. During Philanthropy Week, the College offered giveaways for students and information on how they can give back to important causes, help to educate students on the importance of philanthropy and celebrate the many individuals across the nation who choose to make contributions to important causes — like affordable, quality higher education.

Gutierrez shared ways the campus community can work on making the campus better even though National Philanthropy Week is over:

Join SPARK: SPARK is a Student Government Association club that allows students the opportunity to make a difference at the College. They host numerous events and fundraisers on campus that students and alumni are invited to be a part of, including Red Dragon Pride Day, Halloween Extravaganza and Senior Send Off. SPARK meets every Monday at 6 p.m. in the Caleion Room in Corey Union.

Volunteer and Give: Students, faculty and staff, alumni and friends do not have to be in Cortland to make a difference. Individuals can make a gift to a fund that matters to them. Alumni can volunteer with the nearest alumni chapter.

Spread the Word about Philanthropy: Campus community members are now ready to share with friends and family what they have learned during Philanthropy Week.

Philanthropy Week is a time set aside every year to honor the great work done by generous people all across the country, said Natasha McFadden, assistant director of The Cortland Fund, the College’s annual giving program, which benefits students directly with the money it raises.

“The impact that philanthropists have on society is more significant than could ever be measured, and we want to ensure students understand that impact,” McFadden said. “At SUNY Cortland, donations affect every facet of the academic experience and make a daily difference.”

“The week also lets us highlight all the great things our alumni do in return for the great education they received, whether it’s to establish a scholarship or make their annual contributions to The Cortland Fund,” McFadden said.

College students and staff members were available during the week to offer their insights into ways people give back to SUNY Cortland at tables in Brockway Hall, Neubig Hall and the Student Life Center.

At those sessions, student interns with The Cortland Fund and Alumni Engagement office hosted a variety of games in which prizes were offered.

Students also were invited to keep up by posting images on social media about why they appreciate the College’s supporters with the #CortlandGives hashtag.

“We hope that sharing the impact of our current supporters will inspire the next generation of donors,” McFadden said. “Our wish is that our students will remember that many are giving now to their education and that the students will choose to ‘pay it forward’ when they graduate.”

For more information, contact McFadden at 607-753-4910.


Non-traditional Students Tell Their Stories

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Although their backgrounds often are wildly different, SUNY Cortland’s approximately 300 non-traditional students all have interesting stories to tell.

Take Corrine Edick, for example. The College’s third recipient since 2010 of an Alpha Sigma Lambda scholarship from the national honor society for non-traditional students decided to enlist in the U.S. Navy after graduating from high school in 2009. That eventually brought 18-hour work days for months at a time and an eye-opening tour in South Korea in 2012. Today, at 26, she’s a SUNY Cortland biology major with a 4.03 grade point average, an aspiring physician assistant and the first person in her family to attend college. 

The College defines its non-traditional undergraduate students as those who are at least 24 years old or have had an interruption or delay in their education since high school. They also might have dependent children, regardless of their ages.

Most delayed college for a year or more after high school graduation. Many squeeze in undergraduate classes after full workdays. Usually, they are older — sometimes by decades — than their fellow students on campus.

The College celebrated them Nov. 13 to 17 with Non-Traditional Students Week. In addition to an array of activities, offered through Advisement and Transition, one inspiring non-traditional student was introduced daily to the SUNY Cortland community.

Read their stories:

Nov. 13 - Julia West

Nov. 14 - Thomas Benedict

Nov. 15 - Andrew Siciliano

Nov. 16 - Melissa Garrett

Nov. 17 - Kelly McKenna

BFA Thesis to Focus on Reproductive Rights

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Allison Lewis, a senior art studio: bachelor of fine arts major, presents her thesis exhibition, “14th,” beginning Dec. 4 in the Dowd Fine Arts Center.

The mixed-media installation runs through Dec. 14 in the Critique Space. The opening reception begins at 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 8. Lewis will hold an artist talk starting at 5:30 p.m.

“14th” focuses on Lewis’ personal views on the state of women’s reproductive rights and the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The 14th Amendment codified citizenship rights following the Civil War and it served as the foundation of the majority opinion in the 1973 Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade.  

Lewis’ work uses the personal stories of women who have had abortions to illustrate individual experience in a topic that is often generalized.

“Through my work I explore my personal fears in a terrifying future where reproductive rights are nonexistent,” Lewis said. “Many women want to have children on a schedule when they can nurture and afford them. Taking away support and education dealing with the topic of reproductive rights and motherhood may lead to individuals bringing children into a world with limited resources and financial support.

“The artwork on display shows a potential future of women who have been affected by lack of access to care they need as well as inadequate means to make an informed decision,” Lewis said.

She noted that anti-choice activists neglect these women, treating and speaking about them as if they are less than a human.

“These forgotten women haunt my mind and make the future more about survival and less about opportunities,” she said.

Lewis has had her work featured in the College’s Student Select exhibits since 2015. Her work was chosen for the “Best of SUNY Student Art Exhibition” at the State Museum in Albany in 2015.

The exhibition is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Lewis or the Dowd Gallery at 607-753-3216.

Library’s ‘Food for Fines’ Will Help College Food Pantry

Memorial Library is offering a unique way for students to pay their overdue library fines while helping people in need.

The Food for Fines program runs from Monday, Nov. 27 through Friday, Dec. 15. Students may pay their fines by donating non-perishable, unopened, unexpired food in cans, boxes and plastic jars. Those who do not have fines are welcome to donate food.

Students will receive $1 off their overdue fine balance for each item of food donated. Replacement costs for lost or damaged books are excluded from this program.

Donations will be accepted during business hours at The Help Center in Memorial Library. The food will be delivered to the SUNY Cortland Cupboard located at the Interfaith Center.

For more information or to donate, stop by The Help Center in Memorial Library, call them at 607-753-2500, or email

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Faculty/Staff Activities

Seth N. Asumah

Seth N. Asumah, Africana Studies and Political Science departments, received a merit-based high ranking and appointment from the New York State Public High Schools Athletics Association (NYSPHSAA) and served as a referee for the 2017 New York State Boys Soccer Championships held Nov. 10 to 12 at Middletown, N.Y. Also, Asumah officiated the 2017 Boys Regional Soccer Championships held Nov. 4 in Oneonta, N.Y. As a member of the United States Soccer Federation (USSF), the National Intercollegiate Soccer Officials Association (NISOA), and the MidState Board of Approved Officials (MidBAO), Asumah has officiated many international, national and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Final Four Soccer Championships.

Brian Barrett

Brian Barrett, Foundations and Social Advocacy Department, had his article titled “Bernstein in the urban classroom: A case study” published in the British Journal of Sociology of Education, Volume 39, Issue 8.

Ryan Fiddler

Ryan Fiddler, Kinesiology Department, was senior author on a presentation at the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) regional meeting Nov. 3 and 4 in Harrisburg, Pa. The research, titled “Beetroot Juice Supplementation Lowers Oxygen Cost of Vigorous Intensity Aerobic Exercise in Trained Endurance Athletes,” was presented by Nathaniel S. Ashton '16, who is currently working on his master’s thesis in exercise science.  

Jim Hokanson

Jim Hokanson, Kinesiology Department, was senior author on a presentation at the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) regional meeting held Nov. 3 and 4 in Harrisburg, Pa. The research, titled “Elevated Temperature Inside a Lower Body Positive Pressure Treadmill During Exercise: A Possible Environmental Constraint,” was presented by Casey Austin ’14, who is currently working on his master’s thesis in exercise science.  

Jim Hokanson, Ryan Fiddler and Erik Lind

Jim Hokanson, Ryan Fiddler and Erik Lind, Kinesiology Department, moderated research sessions at the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) regional meeting held Nov. 3 and 4 in Harrisburg, Pa. 

Richard Hunter

Richard Hunter, Geography Department, gave an invited presentation titled “Cambio de paisaje en el México central durante el siglo XVI: datos antiguos y nuevas técnicas” on Nov. 8 at the Centro de Investigación en Geografía Ambiental of UNAM-Morelia, Mexico.

Kathleen A. Lawrence

Kathleen A. Lawrence, Communication Studies Department, had a poem, “Inglorious Bastards,” published recently by New Verse News. It is an abecedarian about the allegations of sexual assault, predatory behavior and abuse of power by some of Hollywood’s high-profile directors, producers, actors and comedians. Also, she had her poem, “Three’s a Crowd,” a hay(na)ku, accepted for publication by The Borfski Press for Issue III


Erik Lind

Erik Lind, Kinesiology Department, presented at the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) regional meeting Nov. 3 and 4 in Harrisburg, Pa. The research, titled “Heart Rate, Perceived Exertion and Speech Characteristics across Cycling Exercise Intensity Levels,” was co-authored by Communication Disorders and Science graduate student Sarah E. Fuller ’17, Associate Dean of the School of Professional Studies Eileen Gravani, and Assistant Professor of Kinesiology Kevin D. Dames

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