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  Issue Number 11 • Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019  


Campus Champion

Callie Klasek discovered more than an internship program when she answered an email from the Institute of Civic Engagement (ICE) her junior year. A year later, the senior business economics major is an ICE Action Team member leading homelessness efforts on behalf of SUNY Cortland. In October, Callie coordinated “Addressing Temporary Homelessness,” a deliberative dialogue that featured representatives from five community groups. In mid-February, she wrapped up the Homelessness Items Donation Drive, Engaging Neighbors (HIDDEN), which she created. “The results were beyond my expectations. We collected boxes and boxes of clothing, blankets, comfort products and more for our region's roughly 1,700 homeless members.”

Nominate a Campus Champion

Wednesday, Feb. 27

Black History Month Sandwich Seminar: “Cartographies of Historical Trauma: Hospitable Spaces in African American Literature,” Speakers:   Paula Barba Guerrero, Africana Studies and Communication and Media Studies, Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

Health Fair at the Parks Alumni House: 29 Tompkins St., 4 to 6 p.m. 

Brooks Museum Lecture Series: “Scared to Death? Changes in College Students’ Fear and Anxiety in Wilderness Environments Over Time,” presented by Sharon Todd, Recreation, Parks and Leisure Studies Department, Moffett Center, Room 2125, 4:30 p.m. A welcome reception will precede the lecture at 4 p.m. in the Rozanne M. Brooks Museum, Moffett Center, Room 2126.

Wellness Wednesday Series: Join the SUNY Cortland Cupboard board of directors for dinner and learn about the campus food pantry. Interfaith Center at 7 Calvert St., 7 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 28

Sandwich Seminar: “You Don’t Have to be Jewish: Cultural (Mis) Appropriation in the Age of Trump,” presented by Jack Carr, Communications and Media Studies Department, Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge, noon.

Climate Change-Enhanced Extreme Weather Event Simulation: The National Academy of Sciences’ LabX developed this flood disaster activity to help people understand the complexity of this increasingly frequent and devastating kind of event. Institute for Civic Engagement Action Team members and two community members will facilitate, Corey Union Exhibition Lounge, 4:30 to 6 p.m.

Workshop: “Stalking: Know It, Name It, Stop It,” presented by New York State Police Senior Investigator Judith Trimboli and University Police Department Investigator Amanda Wasson, Sperry Center, Room 104, 6 p.m.

Friday, March 1

Conference: “TRANSaction,” presented by SOGIE- Sexual Orientation Gender Identity and Expression Committee, Corey Union Exhibition Lounge, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Performance: “The Children’s Hour,” Dowd Fine Arts Center Theatre, 7:30 p.m. Tickets on sale at

Saturday, March 2

Fashion Show Performance: The Age of Queens, presented by Pan African Student Association and hosted by C.J. Obima, tickets on sale in the Student Government Association Office, Corey Union, Room 271, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Performance: “The Children’s Hour,” Dowd Fine Arts Center Theatre, 7:30 p.m. Tickets on sale at

Sunday, March 3

Performance: “The Children’s Hour,” Dowd Fine Arts Center Theatre, 2 p.m. Tickets on sale at

Tuesday, March 5

Coffee with a Cop: Meet the University and City Police officers and try the police training simulator while enjoying a cup of coffee, Student Life Center, 4 to 8 p.m.

School of Education Series Lecture: “Working Towards Social Justice and Inclusion: Challenges and Possibilities,” lecture by Mara Sapon-Shevin, professor of inclusive education at Syracuse University, Sperry Center, Room 105, 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Wednesday, March 6

Cortland ChallengeCollege’s annual 24-hour giving challenge.

Wellness Wednesday Series: What’s Your Green Dot?” Find out from Green Dot Trainer Alberto Lorenzo, Corey Union Exhibition Lounge, 7 p.m.

Thursday, March 7

Sandwich Seminar: “Encouraging Comment: Anonymous Peer Review in Writing Courses,” presented by Jaclyn Pittsley, English Department, Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge, noon to 1 p.m.

Opening Reception: Faculty Biennial 2019, Dowd Gallery, 4 to 6 p.m.

Professional Development Workshop: “Developing Reflection Assignments,” facilitated by Joseph Cope, associate provost for Student Success and professor of history at SUNY Geneseo, for faculty and staff, Corey Union Exhibition Lounge, 4:30 to 6 p.m.

Lecture: “The Electoral College: Pro’s and Con’s,” presented by Assistant Dean of Arts and Sciences and Associate Professor of Political Science Mary McGuire, Corey Union Colloquium, 7 to 8 p.m.

Presentation: “The Power of One… A Real Conversation About Leadership and Values,” by Kaylon Blake, Corey Union Function Room, 7:30 p.m.

Friday, March 8

Red Cross Blood Drive: At the Lynne Parks ’68 SUNY Cortland Alumni House, Thompson Road, 1 to 6 p.m. Call 1-800-RED-CROSS or go online at to register today.

Performance: “Simple Gifts,” featuring two women plus 12 instruments, sponsored by Campus Artist and Lecture Series, Old Main Brown Auditorium, 7 to 9 p.m. 

Saturday, March 9

Men of Color Student Leadership Summit: Political activist, poet, writer and entrepreneur Kevin Powell is the keynote speaker, sponsored by the Institutional Equity and Inclusion Office, free admission, registration required, Sperry Center, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Sunday, March 10

Dance Marathon: Benefit supporting the Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation, featuring CNY DJ, sponsored by Alpha Phi Omega, Corey Union Function Room, 2 to 5 p.m.

Tuesday, March 12

Concert: Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Tom Chapin, sponsored by Campus Activities and Corey Union, Old Main Brown Auditorium, 7 to 9 p.m.

SUNY Cortland Launches Institute for College Teaching


SUNY Cortland’s reputation as a leader in teacher education has made the College a logical choice for a new institute offering resources to help faculty throughout SUNY’s 64-campus system become even more effective at meeting the needs of their students.

The newly established Institute for College Teaching will be a hub for instruction strategies, innovative practices and other forms of teaching support for faculty in higher education, made possible by a grant from the SUNY system’s Performance Improvement Fund (PIF).

SUNY Cortland’s Carol Van Der Karr, associate provost for academic affairs, and Andrea Lachance, dean of the School of Education, co-wrote the successful grant proposal as a means to create a centralized and accessible place for faculty to get more support for their teaching.

“We already have a fair number of initiatives on campus aimed at different teaching strategies that faculty want to try in their classrooms,” Lachance said.  “The Institute will provide more support for these initiatives as well as offer some new programs to allow faculty to engage with other ideas for supporting the learning of their students.”

These faculty opportunities are especially important in today’s rapidly evolving higher education landscape.

“As student learners and demographics change, faculty are continually having to adapt their best college teaching practices to new needs,” Van Der Karr said.  “The Institute is meant to provide resources and mechanisms to support that work.”

How the Institute for College Teaching will work will be shaped by input from various constituencies on campus. A needs assessment is being sent out to faculty and staff to learn about their ideas for future programming.  Leading the needs assessment is Dakin Burdick, who began as director of the Institute in early February.

Burdick has two decades of experience in instructional development in higher education, including roles as director of the Center for Curricular Innovation and Teaching Excellence at Mount Ida College and as director of the Center for Teaching Excellence at Endicott College.

“The Institute is not only serving Cortland, but it’s also going to be serving the rest of SUNY as well,” Burdick said. “It’s a matter of looking at who are our partners out there and who is doing this already. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel. We’re looking for where the gaps are and how can we help everyone together.”

The Institute is located in Cornish Hall, Room 1307 and is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.  For more information, contact Burdick at 607-753-5431.

Health Education Chapter Recognized


Last fall, the carefully-timed dash across traffic-filled Tompkins Street made by hundreds of SUNY Cortland students each week became a lot safer, thanks to the research and advocacy of the College’s chapter of a national professional health education honor society.

In addition to persuading the city and state department of transportation to install a crosswalk and signage at the most heavily traveled pedestrian route across Tompkins to campus, the 40 members of the Kappa chapter of Eta Sigma Gamma last year helped open and operate SUNY Cortland’s new student food pantry and raised money for a community health clinic in Belize.

Those accomplishments recently earned the chapter a coveted Chapter Recognition Award from the 52-year-old national honor society, created to advance the standards, ideals and competence of health education professionals.

“This is new for us. We’re really excited,” said Assistant Professor of Health Alexis Blavos, who with her department colleague Alan Sofalvi advises the SUNY Cortland members of the honorary society, known as the Kappa chapter. Blavos and Sofalvi also serve on the society’s national board of directors, with Blavos directing advocacy and Sofalvi acting as historian.

“We were one of the first chapters in the country, the 10th, and this is the first time we’ve won this award,” Blavos said. “There are over 140 chapters of Eta Sigma Gamma and this is a competitive award.”

The national office presents a Chapter Recognition Award to an outstanding chapter with involved with projects involving specific areas of health promotion. The activities must meet ESG’s standards for health education and health promotion, and adhere to standards for chapter management and student professional development.

“You and all of the chapter members should be extremely proud of your work which has made you a recipient of this award,” wrote Jeff Housman, an ESG board member and professional member at large, in the letter conferring the honor. Housman invited a Kappa chapter representative to accept the honor on Thursday, March 28, during the ESG Business Meeting and Awards Ceremony in Salt Lake City, Utah.

To receive the award, chapters must also show strong recruitment. The College has roughly 40 Kappa chapter members among some 200 Health Department majors, a big increase in recent years thanks to a big recruitment push. To be counted as active, chapter members must engage in three events on campus per semester including ones the chapter organizes as well as campus or community initiatives.

The Safer Crossing at Tompkins and Prospect Advocacy campaign involved elements of both.

“It was my first experience with advocacy,” said chapter President Samantha Rozich, a senior from Queens, N.Y., who participated in the campaign. “For safety reasons, it obviously was a really great project. But also from a community health perspective, it was interesting to see how fast people walked to get across. We wondered if students would be more likely to walk than drive to campus if there was a crosswalk.”

The required fieldwork didn’t take some of the students far from home. It was October 2017 when a group of Kappa chapter members who also belonged to a social Greek sat on the porch of the sorority house they lived in across from Tompkins Street near the foot of Prospect Terrace.

All were community health majors in the College’s Health Department. The group that formed the local chapter’s advocacy team were patiently making observations to discover how many and what kinds of people were crossing this spot along the two-lane road in the City of Cortland where the continuous traffic flow makes crossing risky.

As their note-taking piled up, the students discerned that this is the most natural spot for SUNY Cortland students living off College Hill to walk to class, carefully timing their mad dash across Tompkins Street between the continual stream of 30-mile-an-hour traffic.

Moreover, they found, local parents and caregivers must quickly negotiate the tricky crossing leading children or pushing strollers with infants in them to the Cortland YMCA.

The students’ aim was to make a strong case for some signs to be installed designating this point as a pedestrian crosswalk with a painted pathway; or better yet, to bring about a stoplight or flashing warning lights. A report issued from Oct. 23 to Oct. 26, 2017, found that 176 individuals — 153 college students and 23 community members — scampered across Tompkins Street in that four-day period.

The civic-minded Eta Sigma Gamma members carefully quantified the need and successfully made the case to the New York State Department of Transportation to approve and pay for the crosswalks and signs. The City of Cortland Transportation Department installed the safety measures just before the start of the 2018 Fall Semester.

“The Student Government Association was getting updates from me as the Faculty Senate liaison to SGA and was supportive, asking people to sign the petition,” Blavos said. The measure gained 1,600 signatures. “But beyond that, it was the Gamma students who did the work,” Blavos said.

The project became personal for the chapter members in November 2017, when sophomore Health Department student Sidney McGowan was struck and badly injured by a vehicle further down on Tompkins Street. This student’s valiant work at recovery set an example both to her classmates and Health Department faculty.

“If you look ‘resilient’ up in the dictionary, it’s her,” Blavos said. “She is going to do so much more in life because she has a different perspective now. So while we’re sad she got hit, it helped inspire us.”

The Kappa chapter submitted two other projects to capture the recognition.

The Kappa chapter also helped an ad-hoc group of civic-minded campus and community members staff the SUNY Cortland Cupboard, a pantry of food and necessities for SUNY Cortland students who are not on the meal plan, according to senior Kaitlyn Kellam of Liberty, N.Y., the chapter service chair.

“I think it’s amazing that Cortland got it up and running so quickly,” said Kellam, who lived on campus for four years and considers herself lucky to never have experienced food insecurity.

Lizbel Chavez, a junior from New York, N.Y., organizes a lot of campus activities as chapter vice president. The events address things like awareness and safety from sexual assault and promoting the SUNY Cortland Cupboard. And now that the new food pantry is up and running, Chavez is in charge of scheduling the volunteer chapter members to staff the pantry during its weekday hours. She gets involved in many other chapter and campus civic endeavors as well.

“We’re trying to do all these things to be in tune with the campus community,” Chavez said.

Senior Shannon Damon of Staten Island, N.Y., the chapter fundraising chair, spearheaded a campaign to send money and items to support a community health clinic in Belize. The students raised almost $500 for the Belize drive and now the chapter has refocused its attention on public health in Haiti. Damon is busy asking for gifts to support that effort, as well as donations of professional clothing for the Dragons Dress for Success closet and non-perishable foodstuffs and personal necessities for the SUNY Cortland Cupboard.

Damon also looks forward to promoting public health in the out-of-doors through a planned Tick Fest. The upcoming event aims to raise awareness about the risk of a serious illness called Lyme disease and the ways to prevent contact with the pest that carries it. Lots of recreational and educational activities are planned and a tick mascot costume is being discussed.

“I do love it. It’s fun,” Damon said.

“All four of these students have been very active and instrumental in this chapter receiving this award,” Blavos said.

Note: Pictured above are Eta Sigma Gamma officers who worked to earn the chapter's recognition, including, seated from left, Shannon Damon, chapter fundraising chair, and Samantha Rozich, chapter president; and standing from the left, Kaitlyn Kellam, service chair, and Lizbel Chavez, vice president. 

Capture the Moment


Climbers make their way up the Student Life Center’s rock wall during the College’s first Adventure Race, held Feb. 24. In all, the 25 racers were timed on how quickly they finished three events — the rock wall, spin bikes and kayaking in the pool. The event encouraged students to try a new activity and recognized National Recreational Sports and Fitness Day. The climbers, from left, are Mike Petito, Kado Marino, Declan Brown, Skyler Russo and Luke Shively, who was the overall winner of the competition. Read more.

In Other News

College Plans ‘TransAction’ Conference

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Court Pineiro ’18 was an example to all transgender students while at SUNY Cortland.

While here, the former outdoor recreation major from Milton, N.Y., was honored twice with the College’s Leadership in LGBTQAIP Advocacy award for speaking publicly and freely about his personal transition to male.

Pineiro will return to his alma mater to give the closing keynote presentation on “Transcend” Friday, March 1, during the College’s “TransAction” conference about the needs and experiences of transgender and genderqueer students in the college environment.

“I thought I would speak about how I transcended and how I broke through the limits of what society thought that I was capable of doing,” Pineiro said.

The one-day conference in the Corey Union Exhibition Lounge runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and also will feature a second keynote speaker, two panel discussions and an exhibition of community service agencies and advocacy groups.

Participants are encouraged to register online. The conference is free for SUNY Cortland faculty, staff, or students. A non-refundable $15 registration fee will be charged for non-SUNY Cortland attendees. Scholarships are available upon request. For more information, contact Erin Morris.

“Unlike other diversity conferences at Cortland, or even other workshops on the LGBTQAIP community, this is focused exclusively on people who are transgender or fall outside the binary,” said Jena Nicols Curtis, a SUNY Cortland professor of health who coordinates Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at the College and serves on the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Expression Committee (SOGIE) which organized the conference.

“Often trans and non-gender conforming people get lumped at the end of the LGBTQAIP community even though they have very different needs and experiences,” Curtis said.

Court Pineiro '18 image by @austin.morford.vp

Cecilia Gentili, the assistant director of public affairs at GMHC, the world’s first and leading provider of HIV/AIDS prevention, care and advocacy, will deliver the keynote speech on “Trans, Gender Non-Conforming and Non-binary realities.” A native of Argentina, she is passionate about advocating for her community, especially transgender women with a Latino background and a history of sex work, drug use and incarceration.

Also during the conference:

  • A panel discussion will focus on “How College Faculty and Staff Create Welcoming Space for Students of All Genders.”
  • A second panel discussion will address “Trans Students and AlumShare Their College Experiences.”
  • The day concludes at 4 p.m. with a social gathering and exhibition of community service agencies and advocacy groups.

Pineiro has maintained his high profile since graduation.

Last fall, he put all his bodybuilding work at SUNY Cortland to good use when he walked the catwalk in clothing designed by Marco Marco during New York Fashion Week. The designer had made history at that show for presenting an entirely transgender roster of models for its underwear brand.

“I thought this would be a great time, especially in society today and just at this point in my life, to speak about basically pushing through the limits of what society says you can do, not just as a trans person but in general,” Pineiro said.

“I remember that when I was younger, I was always told certain things but there was never shown anyone in the media who was successful who was in my position,” Pineiro said. “It just wasn’t talked about.”

An inclusive physical education major for three years, Pineiro also transformed himself as he transitioned to outdoor recreation with a concentration in leadership.

“I loved certain things about physical education…. but thought that having curriculums and all these things was kind of boxing me in and wasn’t allowing me to use my personality and my creativity as much as I would like to,” Pineiro said.

The academic move, along with a leave of absence as he made a surgical transition, stretched out his time at Cortland but rewarded him with the Recreation, Parks and Leisure Studies Department’s Outstanding Senior Award.

In his new major, he retained a love for including people with disabilities in recreational opportunities.

Now he is 25, and wants to move to Massachusetts with his girlfriend where he hopes to expand on his post-collegiate experience working as a direct support professional with Duchess County Arc, a chapter of the largest national community-based organization advocating for and serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.

Never in her 13 years teaching at SUNY Cortland has Curtis met so many students on campus who identify as transgender.

“We’ve very intentionally recruited members of the transgender and non-binary community to speak about those experiences,” Curtis said. “Both of our keynote speakers are transgender people. And we’ll also have a panel of current students who are transgender or non-binary to speak about their experiences.” 

SUNY Cortland has always had trans students, according to Curtis.

“We just may not have known it. They might not have felt safe telling us.”

One student panelist came out into his identity at 16.

“He came to Cortland knowing that he was a trans man and he decided SUNY Cortland was the place to come,” Curtis said.

One of the agencies and organizations that serve non-binary gender clients is the Trans Voice Clinic, a service of SUNY Cortland’s Center for Speech, Language and Hearing Disorders.

“The clinic teaches transgender people how they can modulate their voices and speak in ways that better match their gender identity,” Curtis said.

“Cortland is building a lot of capacity to be inclusive of our transgender students, faculty and staff,” Curtis said.

The group of exhibitors will represent the Gender Wellness Center, Say It Proud Speech Therapy, Cortland Speech Path, Aid to Victims of Violence, Identity Youth, Community Navigator at Family Counseling Services, The Center, Access to Independence, Jacobus Center, and Ithaca Transgender group.

Committee Seeks Diverse Focus Groups

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How college students, faculty and staff feel they are being treated by the campus community is key to their success, whether in class, the workplace or in their personal lives.

Knowing that, a SUNY Cortland Campus Climate on Diversity Committee has begun asking students to express their opinion on the quality of college life for them with respect to four major themes: race; gender, gender expression or sexual orientation; dis(ability); and religion and spirituality.

The committee will hold the following focus group discussions to find out what the College can do to make members of the campus community feel more comfortable expressing their personal identity:

  • Gender/Gender Expression/Sexual Orientation — from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Monday, March 4.
  • Dis(Ability) — from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Monday, March 25.
  • Religion and Spirituality — from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Monday, April 1.

The events will take place in Old Main Colloquium. All are welcome. Refreshments will be served.

On Feb. 11, the committee held its first focus group on racial diversity. Some 20 of about 45 students, faculty and professional staff members who responded to a general campus invitation extended during Black History Month expressed their own experiences at SUNY Cortland in the context of race while members of the Campus Climate on Diversity Committee took note. The event, in Sperry Center, was titled “A Conversation on Race at SUNY Cortland.”   

The confidential questions that are asked at all these focus group meetings are meant to gather information to develop a survey of the campus community that will be conducted in the fall.  

Results will be shared with the College community and used to plan improvements in the way SUNY Cortland creates a more ideal environment for excellence in academics, professional development and personal fulfillment.

The College administration last looked at how well the campus provides a setting for diversity and accommodation of underrepresented groups with a Campus Climate Survey in 2005.

SUNY Cortland is committed to advancing diversity and inclusion in higher education. Building on previously gathered data, historical documents and SUNY Cortland’s extensive efforts thus far, a comprehensive climate assessment will provide the College with research-based and comprehensive findings. These will guide the development of strategic initiatives and action planning to build on institutional successes and address institutional climate challenges.

For more information, contact James Felton III, chief diversity officer or another member of the Campus Climate on Diversity Committee:Stephen Cunningham, director of institutional research and assessment; Amy Russell, academic tutor, Academic Support and Achievement Program; Brandon Manning, residence hall director, Residence Life and Housing; Christina Papaleo, residence hall director, Residence Life and Housing; Christopher Ortega, assistant professor of communication and media studies and Africana studies; Jennifer Wilson, associate director of communications; Jeremy Zhe-Heimerman, assistant director of disability resources, Disability Resources Office; Melanie Woodward, associate director of human resources and affirmative action officer; Michael Baker, interim assistant director of residential life for technology and marketing; Ronnie Silver’67, SUNY Cortland Alumni Association liaison; Yomee Lee, professor of kinesiology and Africana studies; and Jeffrey Jackson, instructor of English.

College Tries an Extreme Learning Adventure

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Extreme weather related to climate change has become a frequent and pressing issue in today’s news. The resulting flooding is likely to affect communities like Cortland in the years to come.

Will you know how to help your community when the waters rise?

A new, hands-on event on how to respond to major flooding is coming to SUNY Cortland on Thursday, Feb. 28. The Institute for Civic Engagement will hold an extreme weather simulation from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in Corey Union’s Exhibition Lounge.

The interactive simulation is free and open to all students, faculty, staff and members of the greater Cortland community.  It is primarily aimed at educating SUNY Cortland students of every major on how to handle an extreme situation like a flood.

In this simulation, participants must figure out a way to save the people of fictional River City and minimize damage by working together with the members of their team. River City is split into multiple neighborhoods called Clearwater, Waterview, Meadowland, Lakeshore, Riverside and Downtown. Team members must trade and utilize resources to help protect the citizens from the impending flood while also dealing with the obstacles that are presented.

“There are no right or wrong answers, only results,” said Kathie Arnold of Truxton, N.Y., a community participant who co-owns and operates Twin Oaks Organic Dairy farm, located about nine miles northeast of SUNY Cortland. “You have to interact with your community members and trade resource cards to complete your task chart in order to save your town from the flood. Depending on what resources you keep and what you trade leads to the result of how effectively that you help the city.”

The format for the simulation was created by LabX, a partner of the National Academy of Sciences.

Alyssa Porter, 13, attends Homer Jr. High School. Arnold is Porter’s mentor and together they went to the Institute for Civic Engagement’s deliberative dialogue about climate change on Oct. 25. The energetic Porter discovered LabX’s hands-on simulation and pitched it to the Institute as a way to continue the discussion of climate change.

“We were talking about how global warming and climate change are affecting us, so I thought why not do a simulation to show kids my age how it affects us, so we learn it at a younger age and so it affects our generation longer,” Porter said. “Then maybe we can make an impact at our age now and older.”

John Suarez, the College’s service learning coordinator and director of the Institute, and Matthew Brubaker, campus energy manager, helped create this event. They also collaborated with Ryann Hudson, a junior political science major from Northport, N.Y., and Kerry Donnelly, a sophomore communication studies major from Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y.

The College has held similar events, including a poverty simulation in which attendees took on roles of people living with few resources and were forced to find ways to make ends meet. The Institute has also held many deliberative dialogues where groups of people come together to discuss social issues in a civil and informed way to help further address the problems.

“One of the lessons is just how complex that a situation like this is and how a student can determine for themselves how their own field of study relates to something like this,” Suarez said.

To register for this event, email John Suarez. Attendance will be capped at 42 people.

Prepared by Communications Office writing intern Skyeler Paparteys

“The Children’s Hour” Explores Timeless Themes

Childrens hour 360240.jpg 02/12/2019

Lillian Hellman’s play “The Children’s Hour” was controversial upon its debut on Broadway in 1934.

It tells the story of two female teachers whose lives are forever changed when a pupil falsely accuses them of engaging in a romantic relationship.

SUNY Cortland presents “The Children’s Hour” March 1-3 because its messages still resonate 85 years later. The play examines insidious homophobia and touches on themes of family, loyalty and how a community deals with rumors and innuendo. 

“I think what’s so beautiful about the timelessness of this play is that it shows us how far we’ve come,” said Director Mark Reynolds. “In our current situation, I think it’s refreshing.”

Nicole Furka, left, and Bailey Hovermale, right
Furka, left, and Hovermale.

The play’s central characters, Martha Dobie and Karen Wright, are played by Nicole Furka, a junior from Massapequa, N.Y. and Bailey Hovermale, a junior from Hagerstown, Md., respectively. The characters have opened the Wright-Dobie School for Girls, a boarding school in the New England countryside.

The accusation from the student is particularly hard for Martha, who is single and faces certain social challenges of the era that her engaged friend Karen does not. Furka has worked to empathize Martha’s situation in her portrayal of the character.

“You see how it takes a toll on her personally and how it ruins the friendship and how it ruins her life,” Furka said. “It was such a taboo thing to be gay or to have two women living together. For that lie to come out during that time period, it was unnatural and she had to have that weight on her shoulders.”

Reynolds has spent time with actors talking about the history of “The Children’s Hour” and how it was received upon its release. Today’s audiences approach the subject matter differently but the work remains just as relevant in 2019.

“It’s a very compelling story that Hellman wrote. It’s brilliant,” Hovermale said. “Mark has explained things and made things clear that I didn’t even realize before. It’s really terrifying in the portrayal of the child, who knows what she’s doing, but the women don’t see it coming and it’s heartbreaking. It’s also human. You see characters who are relevant to today.”

“The Children’s Hour” is based on a true story that happened at a school in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1810. It hit the stage in New York City less than one year after the ratification of the 21st Amendment, which repealed prohibition. Anti-gay rules were written into legislation for the newly-created New York State Liquor Authority, including a ban on featuring gay characters in plays or musicals. Although the show went on in New York, it was banned in cities such as Boston, Chicago and London.

A true-to-script film adaptation of “The Children’s Hour” starring Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine was released in 1961. Liz Davis, a junior from Manassas, Va., who plays Amelia Tilford, the grandmother of the child who accuses her teachers, recalled seeing a documentary, “The Celluloid Closet,” in which MacLaine shared that she and Hepburn filmed their scenes without ever talking about the context of the plot.

Davis hopes audiences leave the theatre doing the exact opposite.

“The discourse is integral for us today,” she said. “It’s such a hard thing for us today to understand why someone would feel that way about someone who just wants to love someone else. It’s about showing that victimization and the exposure of it. People need to be exposed to it time and time again.”

“The Children’s Hour” will be performed in an intimately configured Dowd Fine Arts Center Theatre at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, March 1 and Saturday, March 2 and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 3. Tickets, which are limited, are $19 for adults, $16 for senior citizens and SUNY Cortland faculty and staff, $14 for SUNY Cortland alumni and $10 for current students. They are available at

Support the Cortland Challenge on March 6

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Students filed into the Cortland Normal School for its inaugural classes on the first Wednesday of March in 1869.

In the century and a half since, the College has evolved into the vibrant institution we now know as SUNY Cortland. Access to a high-quality and life-changing education has launched more than 70,000 careers and created lifelong friendships and memories for Red Dragons around the world.

One hundred and fifty years later, on Wednesday, March 6, 2019, all members of the SUNY Cortland community will have an opportunity to help the College provide those same resources to the next generation of students.

The Cortland Challenge is the College’s annual 24-hour giving challenge. Its goal is to get as many participants as possible, from alumni to faculty and staff and students and their parents. Returning for a second year is a simultaneous Athletics Challenge, which allows donors to support their favorite SUNY Cortland teams.

The College aims to build on its record-breaking 2018 Challenge effort, which received $151,360 from 1,384 donors.

“We were amazed by the support that we received last year during the Cortland Challenge,” said Natasha McFadden, associate director for The Cortland Fund.

“We had no idea that it would be that successful, and we are so grateful to everyone who participated. It was so much bigger than we ever could have imagined. But, in true Red Dragon fashion, we’re setting our goals higher this year.”

A number of generous alumni have pledged matching gifts as incentive to hit key thresholds. Lynne Parks Hoffman ’68 will give $5,000 to the SUNY Cortland Parks Alumni House Expense Fund once the Challenge receives 607 donors. Michael Leeolou ’81 and Catherine Suarez Leeolou ’81 have promised $10,500 at 1,000 donors. Patrick Mullaney ’89 will give $10,000 if the Challenge gets at least 1,385 donors to break last year’s record.

John Belmonte ’85, Anthony Moon ’86 and Susan Moon and the C-Club Board of Directors have combined to provide $10,200 in matching funds for the Athletics Challenge.

A general Athletics Challenge will award $1,000 to the general athletics fund if 500 or more donors give to any of the programs funds in athletics. SUNY Cortland’s 20 athletic program funds will be broken into small, medium and large categories based on the number of alumni. The teams that are first to reach their donor marks receive $500 and the teams with the most donors will receive $1,000. Each team that meets its donor mark will receive $100. A trophy and $2,000 will be presented to the team with the most dollars raised and the team with the highest average gift will get $1,000.

Jane Grastorf ’62 has pledged to give $3,000 toward the Challenge, which will be used as part of a Power Hour that will be announced on March 6.

Alumni are encouraged to help spread the word on social media using the hashtag #CortlandChallege.

To join the Challenge, visit

Making gifts online is easy but The Cortland Fund offers alternate payment options as well. For more information on how to submit a gift by mail, telephone or in person, visit

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

Seminar to Discuss College Archives

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SUNY Cortland’s Memorial Library has made great strides in recent years with its College Archives.

A committee involved with the progress to date and with charting the future of these collections will present a sandwich seminar on Wednesday, March 13.

Students and faculty engaged in academic research, historians, local history buffs and the public are encouraged to attend the event, titled “Preserving History and Creating Access in the College Archives.”

Jeremy Pekarek, College archivist and instructional services librarian, as well as Jennifer Kronenbitter, director of libraries, and committee members will give the presentation.

The event, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge, is free and open to the public.

The College Archives Steering Committee, which worked with Memorial Library, will share information about the physical College Archives, which is located on the third floor in Memorial Library. The College Archives project collects or tracks the majority of materials relating to institutional history of SUNY Cortland. The panel also will present an overview and answer questions about the history of the archives, its purpose, the College’s physical and digital collections, instruction, research, hiring an archivist and preserving SUNY Cortland’s institutional history.

The fast-growing collection already contains hundreds of electronic images including literally thousands of digitized sports photos from the dawn of Cortland athletics, accessible to being viewed or downloaded. 

“Among our top digitized collections include our student newspapers and all of the campus yearbooks,” Pekarek said, referring to some of the more popular archives of interest to the campus community and visiting alumni.

“In conjunction with this year’sSUNY Cortland Sesquicentennial celebration, we have also scanned in materials on previous college anniversaries,” he said. “Additionally the library has strived to collaborate with various faculty to create class projects in the College Archives.”

The College Archives were used to assist with mounting exhibits on campus, including the School of Education’s recent sesquicentennial photo exhibit of the Cortland Normal School’s earliest history and imagery.

One College Archives Committee member, Evan Faulkenberry, assistant professor of history, has used the College Archives more than two years for his Introduction to Public History class.

In the past year, Pekarek was hired as a fulltime archivist and instructional services librarian and a campus-wide Archives Steering Committee began meeting to guide the process, make suggestions and identify and catalog additional records and pictures.

Part of the seminar will be used to explain the library’s fairly new digital archive, named after a commons as a place where people can meet and share information and culture.

SUNY Cortland’s new Digital Commons@Cortland, launched during its sesquicentennial year, puts the College’s institutional history from 150 years ago right up to the present day in reach of anyone on the Internet.

There’s original documents and pictures that bring back to life campus student club and honorary society happenings, sports milestones and Greek life activities as well as key figures, buildings and events of College history.

“The library has created new ways to digitize our collections using Digital Commons@Cortland,” Kronenbitter said.

More than a year later, the Digital Commons project continues to grow as more records are being uploaded.

Memorial Library has paid for most projects to improve the archives, including ones relating to the sesquicentennial. Recently, the library was awarded a South Central Regional Library Council Technology and Digitization Grant for $4,583 to have an outside company scan the majority of a cache of student newspapers into the College Archives, the Co-No Pressfrom 1925 to 1942 and the Dragon Chronicle from 2013 to 2017.

“Come learn more about the College Archives to understand our commitment to creating access as well as preserving precious historical materials relating to SUNY Cortland,” Kronenbitter said.

How Youth Use Self-Injury is Topic

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Janis Whitlock, associate director of Cornell University’s Bronfenbreanner Center for Translational Research, will address how current youth use self-injury to speak and how it serves as a cultural emblem of the age, on Wednesday, March 13.

“For many contemporary youth, the body serves as a canvas for self-expression,” said Whitlock.

Her discussion, which begins at 4:30 p.m. in Moffett Center, Room 2125, is titled “My Blood in Between Heaven and Earth: Self-injury and the Embodied Language of Pain, Power and Vulnerability.”

“It can speak what the voice cannot,” Whitlock said. “It can remind the wearer of their connection to both the ethereal and the embodied, of their resistance and their hope.”

A reception to welcome her will precede the lecture across the hall at 4 p.m. in the Rozanne M. Brooks Museum, Moffett Center, Room 2126.

The talk continues the College’s 2018-19 Rozanne M. Brooks Lecture Series on the theme of “The Culture of Death,” which explores the anxieties felt in some cultures, contextualizing them in the 21st century Western experience. The series events are free and open to the public.

Whitlock’s research indicates that self-inflicted injury, or intentionally hurting the body, can be used to sustain life or to end life, to represent hope or hopelessness.

A lecturer in Cornell’s Department of Human Development and Cornell Institute of Public Affairs, she has a doctorate in human development from Cornell University.

This talk is preceded by a Brooks Lecture on Wednesday, Feb. 27, titled “Scared to Death? Changes in College Students’ Fear and Anxiety in Wilderness Environments Over Time.”

The final Brooks series lecture will follow on Wednesday, April 3. A Spanish language and culture specialist from University at Albany will give a talk on “Newfangled Vampires and Zombies in Latin American Literature and Film.” Carmen Serrano, an assistant professor of Spanish, has studied how vampire and zombie figures have inspired Latin American films since the 1950s.

The “Culture of Death” series talks about how various cultures view the end of life. Although inevitable and therefore of interest to all humans, cultures view death differently, many as the doorway to another, sometimes better, existence. In the West however, dying is viewed more often as something to be feared and avoided as long as possible.

The 2018-19 Brooks Lecture Series is sponsored by a grant from Auxiliary Services Corporation (ASC) and the Cortland College Foundation. For more information, contact Brooks Museum director Sharon Steadman, a SUNY Cortland professor of sociology/anthropology, at 607-753-2308.

Winter 2018-19 Edition of Columns Available Online

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For 150 years, SUNY Cortland’s alumni have made their mark in the world.

In the Winter 2018-19 edition of Columns, now available online at, we celebrate their accomplishments as well as a century and a half of history.

From Joe Horan ’88, M ’99 and Manny DeJesus ’16 teaming up to empower the City of Syracuse’s youth to Chenoa Shields ’04, M ’07 rescuing dozens of abandoned dogs and to the legacy of friendship and opportunity left by the late Bill Pittorino ’85, we share these stories and more in the pages of Columns.

This edition also includes news on Cortaca Jug 2019 moving to MetLife Stadium as well as Class Notes on the personal and professional lives of your former classmates. The 2017-18 Cortland College Foundation Annual Report has the latest on the impact of SUNY Cortland’s fundraising efforts as well as a list of those who so generously donated to the College over the past year.

To share your news with SUNY Cortland, please visit

After 38 Years, Musician Tom Chapin Will Return to Campus 02/12/2019

Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Tom Chapin played more concerts at SUNY Cortland during the ’70s and ’80s ­— both solo and with his legendary brother, the late pop star Harry Chapin — than nearly any other artist.

On Tuesday, March 12, nearly four decades after his last SUNY Cortland show, Chapin will return to campus to share ballads, family music, folk song and some of the musical stories that made Harry Chapin one of the most popular musicians of his time. Chapin accompanies himself on guitar, banjo and autoharp. 

The show begins at 7 p.m. in Old Main Brown Auditorium, and is open to the public.

Tickets may be purchased online through the Campus Store at They are also available at the Homer Center for the Arts box office, 72 S. Main St., Homer, N.Y. 13077, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesdays through Fridays, and in the Campus Activities Office, Corey Union, Room 406, weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; by calling 607-753-5574; or at the door the evening of the performance.

The cost is $10 general admission, $8 for seniors 60 and older and $3 for students. Children under 10 are free.

The multifaceted musician — Chapin hosted the Peabody-Award-winning children’s television show, “Make a Wish,” and has also been a Broadway performer, a children’s music pioneer, an activist, an educational advocate and a college basketball star — was invited back to Cortland as part of the College’s yearlong 150-year anniversary.

Chapin is a director of Why Hunger?, an international non-profit organization co-founded by Harry Chapin that is dedicated to eliminating food insecurity through grassroots initiatives. A new generation of anti-hunger activists will be sharing information at the concert and collecting cash donations to support the Cortland Cupboard, a campus pantry for food and other necessities for financially struggling students.

The concert is a part of the 2018-2019 Campus Artist and Lecture Series (CALS), which is funded by SUNY Cortland’s Auxiliary Services Corporation and the Cortland College Foundation. Additional support is being provided by the Homer Center for the Arts.

It is co-sponsored by the Musical Legacy Commemorative Project: 1960-1990. The committee of SUNY Cortland alumni is committed to raising awareness of the legendary artists who have performed on campus. Learn more and participate by visiting the Musical Legacy website. Members of the committee are available to talk about the project, which will culminate in a new campus sculpture commemorating the era.

During that time, student organizers brought some of the day’s biggest acts to Cortland, including the Grateful Dead, Beach Boys, Billy Joel, The Eagles, James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt, Neil Diamond and many more. Chapin performed on campus four times in the 1970s and early 1980s, including a 1974 concert with Harry Chapin.

The only artist to play more frequently on campus during this era was Todd Hobin, a Central New York singer-songwriter and leader of a popular regional band. Hobin joined other musicians, managers and student concert organizers in one of several panel discussions held last fall about the college concert era.

Fear of Wilderness Is Feb. 27 Topic

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Where older generations see the great outdoors as a place of beauty, peacefulness and recreation, many youth instead experience the wilderness as more “Blair Witch Project” or “Zombie Apocalypse” than paradise on earth.

“Yes, I went outside to look for the scary clowns,” admitted one SUNY Cortland undergraduate, regarding the online hoax several years ago involving reported sightings of the costumed menace in cemeteries around the nation.

Sharon Todd, a SUNY Cortland professor of recreation, parks and leisure studies, plans to explore how current generations, who seem to be spending less and less of their childhood outside, perceive wilderness environments, during a lecture on Wednesday, Feb. 27, at the College.

Titled “Scared to Death? Changes in College Students’ Fear and Anxiety in Wilderness Environments Over Time,” Todd’s talk will explore changes over roughly the last 20 years in college students’ fears of the outdoors.

Sharon Todd

The lecture will begin at 4:30 p.m. in Moffett Center, Room 2125. A reception to welcome her will precede the lecture across the hall at 4 p.m. in the Rozanne M. Brooks Museum, Moffett Center, Room 2126.

The talk continues the College’s 2018-19 Rozanne M. Brooks Lecture Series on the theme of “The Culture of Death,” which explores the anxieties felt in some cultures, contextualizing them in the 21st century Western experience. The series events are free and open to the public.

Today’s world has many more Little Red Riding Hoods, or so it seems.

Todd’s talk encompasses research in 1989 and in 2018, when participants’ levels of social and physical anxieties were measured before, during and after a two-week outdoor education practicum in the Adirondack Park.

Historically, wilderness symbolized “wild” places to be feared or conquered, but eventually became associated with beautiful, pristine, cherished areas, according to Todd.

Now the outdoors to many college students represents a scary, unknown realm.

“How do their levels of perceived fear compare?” said Todd, who earned a Ph.D. in leisure studies from The Pennsylvania State University. “What insights can we gain to better facilitate college students’ wilderness experiences?”

Two more Brooks series lectures will take place this semester.

Janis Whitlock, associate director of Cornell University’s Bronfenbreanner Center for Translational Research, will address how current youth use self-injury to speak and how it serves as a cultural emblem of the age, on March 13. Her discussion is titled “My Blood in Between Heaven and Earth: Self-injury and the Embodied Language of Pain, Power and Vulnerability.”

On April 3, a Spanish language and culture specialist from University at Albany will give a talk on “Newfangled Vampires and Zombies in Latin American Literature and Film.” Carmen Serrano, an assistant professor of Spanish, has studied how vampire and zombie figures have inspired Latin American films since the 1950s.

The “Culture of Death” series talks all take place on Wednesdays and begin at 4:30 p.m. in Moffett Center, Room 2125. Before each lecture, a reception to welcome the speaker will start at 4 p.m. in the Rozanne M. Brooks Museum, Moffett Center, Room 2126. The Brooks lectures and receptions are free and open to the public.

Although inevitable and therefore of interest to all humans, cultures view the end of life differently, many as the doorway to another, sometimes better, existence. In the West however, death is viewed more often as something to be feared and avoided as long as possible.

The 2018-19 Brooks Lecture Series is sponsored by a grant from Auxiliary Services Corporation (ASC) and the Cortland College Foundation. For more information, contact Brooks Museum director Sharon Steadman, a SUNY Cortland professor of sociology/anthropology, at 607-753-2308.

Cortland Impresses SUNY Chancellor

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State University of New York Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson visited the SUNY Cortland campus for the first time this week, touring the campus, talking with students, faculty and staff and serving as guest of honor at a Sesquicentennial Reception hosted by President Erik J. Bitterbaum.

Johnson was so impressed by her experience that she said her first visit will definitely not be her last.

“The commitment to service, the commitment to mitigate climate change, the engagement campus-wide. It's really a family. It's impressive and my hats off to the president,” Johnson said. “The faculty are just so into the scholarship and into student learning.

“I’d like to come back. I played lacrosse in college, so I’d like to come back for a lacrosse game. I’d like to come back and learn more about the STAR-NY tutoring program. There’s just so many things. I’ve seen little windows open into the world of Cortland and I’d like to come back and see more.”

STAR-NY is a consortium of 27 colleges that share resources to offer free online tutoring programs to students. It was developed at SUNY Cortland and is run from the College. Coordinators of the program gave a presentation to Johnson, who has made student accessibility and success one of her top priorities.

Statewide, continued support of the state Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), which provides financial, academic and other support to disadvantaged students, is another key goal for Johnson, who met with several SUNY Cortland EOP students while they toured the College’s Student Life Center.

“Individualized education is something I am very passionate about,” Johnson said. “And you’re doing it at Cortland.”

Johnson, who was inaugurated as chancellor of the 64-campus in September, came to Cortland as part of a commitment to visit all SUNY campuses early in her tenure.

She arrived on campus Wednesday, Feb. 13, and participated in a special faculty and staff reception commemorating SUNY Cortland’s 150th year. The chancellor spent the night at the Lynne Parks ’68 SUNY Cortland Alumni House, then met with President Bitterbaum and members of his cabinet before touring campus on Thursday, Feb. 14.

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Faculty/Staff Activities

Tyler Bradway

Tyler Bradway, English Department, had his article “Queer Exuberance: The Politics of Affect in Jeanette Winterson’s Visceral Fiction” (2015), re-published in Contemporary Literary Criticism Vol. 433, edited by Jennifer Stock and published by Gale Cengage.

Christopher Badurek

Christopher Badurek, Geography Department, was honored with the 2018 GISP of the Year Award in February from the Geographic Information Systems Certification Institute (GISCI) for over five years of sustained contributions to the development of GIS professional knowledge certification standards used nationally in industry, government, and academia.

Mark Dodds

Mark Dodds, Sport Management Department, was recently appointed to the editorial board of Sports Marketing Quarterly, a leading sport management journal.

Jim Hokanson

Jim Hokanson, Kinesiology Department, was invited to present a talk titled “Physical Activity and the AlterG Treadmill” as part of the Department of Nursing and Physical Therapy’s Seminar Series at the University of Salamanca, Spain. The presentation highlighted previous research with the AlterG treadmill, carried out at SUNY Cortland’s Exercise Physiology Lab.  

Jeremy Jiménez

Jeremy Jiménez, Foundations and Social Advocacy Department, recently contributed a chapter titled “‘I Need to Hear a Good Ending:’ How Students Cope with Historical Violence” in the forthcoming book Teaching and Learning the Difficult Past: Comparative Perspectives

Kathleen A. Lawrence

Kathleen A. Lawrence, Communication and Media Studies Department, received word that her poem “Dorothy Delivered” has been awarded third place in the Highland Park Poetry’s 2019 Poetry Challenge for L. Frank Baum’s Land of Oz in the Adult Non-Resident Category. In addition, her poem “What to Do?” has been awarded honorable mention in the same contest for Tricubes (a specific poetry form) in the Adult Non-Resident Category. Highland Park Poetry will be publishing a chapbook of all selected poems and Lawrence’s two poems will appear in that anthology. 

Erin Morris and Ryan Vooris

Erin Morris and Ryan Vooris, Sport Management Department, presented their research findings at the 2019 Commission on Sport Management Accreditation (COSMA) Conference, held Feb. 7 and 8 in Atlanta, Ga. Their presentation was titled “Study Like a Girl: An Analysis of Constraints and Facilitators to Female Sport Management Majors.”

Submit your faculty/staff activity

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