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  Issue Number 13 • Tuesday, March 22, 2022  


Campus Champion

In May, Freddy Familia ’21 will receive his master’s in sport management following five productive years on campus. From the start, Freddy got involved. He was an EOP student mentor, an Orientation Assistant and a Resident Assistant. Fiercely focused on his goal to work for the Las Vegas Raiders, he got hands-on experience in athletics as Sport Management Club president, Student Life Center building supervisor and team manager for Cortland football. Currently the stadium and athletic facilities building supervisor, Freddy will take with him countless lifelong friends and a world of experience, connections and knowledge. As this campus champion embarks on a new chapter, SUNY Cortland is better for his time spent with us.

Nominate a Campus Champion

Tuesday, March 22 to Friday, March 25

Mascot Madness Round 1: The Battle to Name New York's Favorite College Mascot runs Tuesday, March 22 to Friday, March 25 at 4 p.m. VOTE

Wednesday, March 23

Wellness Wednesday: “Celebrate A World of Flavors” With Regina Ludovico, Cortland Auxiliary Services, Student Life Center lobby, noon to 3 p.m.

Women’s History Month Sandwich Seminar: “Lesbian advocacy in the early years of the AIDS crisis,” presented by Lawrence Bruce, president of Campus PRIDE, Old Main Colloquium, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

Navigating Career Uncertainty and Finding Purpose with Allison VanLiew '13: Online via Webex, 4 to 6 p.m.

Educator Dinner and Networking Event: Corey Union Function Room, dinner at 6 p.m., panel discussion at 7 p.m.

Thursday, March 24

Women's History Month Sandwich Seminar: “Black women in the woods: Finding solace in nature,” presented by Sherron Brown, Old Main Colloquium, noon to 1 p.m.

Re-Thinking Abilities Workshop: Online via Webex, 4 to 6 p.m. Rethinking Abilities Registration Form 

Strategic Salary Negotiation Workshop: Online via Handshake, 4 to 5 p.m. 

Friday, March 25

Dowd Gallery Talk: “The Crystallization of Lowbrow Art in the Works of Dominick Lombardi,” online, noon.

Cortland Nites: Murder Mystery Dinner, Corey Union Function Room, 7 p.m.

Sunday, March 27

Glow In the Dark Mini Golf: Corey Union Function Room, 7 to 9 p.m.

Monday, March 28

Money Talks Monday - Goal Setting and Budgeting: Online via Handshake, 4 to 5 p.m. 

Women’s History Month Workshop: “Women’s Activism and the Equal Rights Amendment: An Advocacy Workshop” presented by NYPIRG, virtual via Zoom, 6 p.m.

Tuesday, March 29

Understanding and Advocating for Racial Justice Workshop: Online via Webex, 4 to 6 p.m. Registration Form

Cortland Nites Trivia: Corey Union Exhibition Lounge, 9 p.m.

Wednesday, March 30

Women’s History Month Sandwich Seminar: “Building a female future of childcare and work,” presented by Sequoia Owen, director of Member Services YWCA USA, virtual via Webex, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

Robert Rhodes Memorial Lecture: “John Keats and the ‘Memory of Touch’ in ‘To Autumn,’” presented by Karla Alwes, English Department, Old Main, Room 220, Colloquium, 4 p.m. 

Wellness Wednesday: Managing Public Speaking Anxiety, Corey Union Exhibition Lounge, 5 to 6 p.m.

Women’s History Month Film: “Athlete A,” film screening, sponsored by the Gender Policies and Initiatives Council, Corey Union Function Room, 7 p.m.

Thursday, March 31

Women’s History Month Sandwich Seminar: “Racialization of women of color on campus: Centering student voices,” Old Main Colloquium, noon to 1 p.m.

Dowd Gallery Talk: Toward the Contemporary: Boom: Mad Money, Mega Dealers, and the Rise of Contemporary Art, online via Webex, 5 p.m.

Doing Business: Virtual Networking Event: Online via Zoom, 6 to 7 p.m.

Friday, April 1

Dowd Gallery First Friday: Organized by the Cortland Arts Connect, virtual and in-person event, Dowd Gallery, Dowd Fine Arts Center and Facebook, Dowd Gallery website, 5:30 to 8 p.m.

Cortland Nites: Roller Skating, Corey Union Function Room, 8 p.m.

SUNY Cortland Cupboard Filled Fridge Friday: The campus food pantry will have the fridge filled on April 1, Interfaith Center at 7 Calvert St., 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Saturday, April 2

6th Annual SUNY Cortland Literacy Department Conference: Literacy as a Change Agent for Equitable Education, online via Zoom, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Kente Celebration: Corey Union Function Room, 4 p.m. Check-In starts at 3:15 p.m.

Monday, April 4

Union Matters Membership Meeting Luncheon: Corey Union Exhibition Lounge, noon to 1 p.m.

Life After Cortland: Are You Career ReadyOnline via Handshake, 4 to 5 p.m. 

Dinner-Time Dialogue: Disability Justice for All of Us - Perspectives Impacting Intersectional Experiences within the LGBTQAIP+, BIPOC, Neurodiversity and Disability Communities, Sperry Center, Room 105 and online, 6 to 7:30 p.m. Registration required for online attendance.

Tuesday, April 5

Dowd Gallery Documentary Screening: Crumb, 1994, Dowd Gallery, Dowd Fine Arts Center, 5 p.m.

Women History Month talk explores healing through nature


SUNY Cortland student Sherron Brown was an adult when she first hiked Buttermilk Falls State Park in Ithaca, N.Y., and Taughannock Falls State Park near Trumansburg, N.Y. Those experiences drastically improved her physical, mental and emotional health.

Now, she wants to do the same for others.

Brown, a non-traditional student and Cortland resident, will offer a sandwich seminar talk “Black Women in the Woods: Finding Solace in Nature,” on Thursday, March 24.

Her presentation, at noon in the Old Main Colloquium, will explore Brown’s personal journey in the outdoors and suggest ways that nature can empower Black women and help them build community.

“Being in the woods feeds my soul,” Brown said.

The talk continues SUNY Cortland’s Women History Month events and considers a topic that Brown has been researching for a capstone project to complete a minor in women’s, gender and sexuality studies.

“I care about the health and well-being of my Black sisters because they have their own unique challenges,” said Brown, a communication studies major. “I want to remind them that nature is another avenue for healing and re-centering.”

Black women’s hiking groups and non-profits have gained visibility in recent years because they serve a larger purpose. Health challenges such as diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease disproportionately affect Black women, according to research cited in a 2020 NPR health article. Yet according to a National Park Service survey, only 6% of park visitors are Black.  

Brown wants to bring more women outdoors because she has experienced the transformative power of nature firsthand. She was born in Jamaica, the Caribbean island nation, and grew up in Uniondale, a Long Island suburb, with limited exposure to large parks outside of occasional family trips to Manhattan’s Central Park or Brooklyn’s Prospect Park.

She moved to Ithaca in 2000 and went on her first long hike when a friend invited her to join a small hiking meet-up. A group of approximately 10 people met on Sunday mornings and hiked common destinations in the Finger Lakes region.

Brown recalled that one of her earliest hikes at Buttermilk Falls was both physically taxing and motivating.

“That first hike wasn’t easy, but when I did more of the Sunday morning hikes, I got healthier and better able to walk the trails,” Brown said. “We started at about 9 a.m., and by noon I had an amazing sense of accomplishment.”

Brown moved to Cortland in 2017 and began exploring Lime Hollow Nature Center, especially its Lehigh Valley Trail. She considers the trail to be an ideal spot for beginners because it is flat and well-maintained.

“It’s just a very relaxing place,” she said.

In 2020, during the very early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, Brown looked to make a career change from an administrative support role so she enrolled full-time at Tompkins Cortland Community College.

“With everything shutting down, I figured I would use the time to go school because there was no FOMO (fear of missing out),” she said.

Brown earned an associate’s degree in human services and she is on track to graduate from SUNY Cortland in May — less than two and a half years later.

The outdoors served as a coping mechanism throughout the pandemic and offered a vision for her future. Brown said she wants to pair her formal training in human services and communications to lead workshops, talks and trainings for others.

“I feel like people are going to need to unpack some things, especially as a result of the pandemic,” she said. “I would love to give them a forum to talk. I want to be a facilitator for those conversations.”

In addition to hiking and journaling in the woods, Brown credited her partner, Kuukua Yomekpe, with improving her emotional health during the pandemic. They were engaged last summer during a hiking trip to Colorado.

Brown said she hopes to build a community — both on campus and in the city of Cortland — that is willing to explore the outdoors together in an effort to improve the physical, mental and emotional health of Black women.

“When I’m in the woods, I feel connected and centered,” Brown said. “I want to offer other Black women the opportunity to experience the restorative qualities of a hike.

“I have a saying when I begin my walk: ‘Into the woods I must go, to heal my spirit and feed my soul.’”

Disabled rights legal advocate to speak


Attorney and activist Lydia X. Z. Brown, a Chinese American with a non-conforming gender, knows what it’s like to experience discrimination because of race, ethnicity and sexual expression.

Brown, who was honored by the Obama  Administration as a White House Champion of Change, also understands the additional difficulty of facing those bias challenges with a disability.

The author, activist, speaker, community organizer and member of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Disability Rights was diagnosed with autism when they were 8 years old.

“For many — but certainly not all — autistic people, we can’t make heads or tails of either the widespread assumption that everyone fits neatly into categories of men and women or the nonsensical characteristics expected or assumed of womanhood and manhood,” Brown wrote on their blog.

“Recent research has shown that autistic people are more likely to identify as transgender or genderqueer than non-autistic people.”

Brown, who lectures at two Washington, D.C., institutions, Georgetown University and American University, will discuss how differences such as race, ethnicity and sexual expression, when combined with disability, too often exposes individuals to even greater discrimination, on Monday, April 4, at SUNY Cortland.

They will present “Disability Justice for All of Us: perspectives impacting intersectional experiences within the LGBTQAIP+, BIPOC, neurodiversity and disability communities.”

The Dinner-Time Dialogue will take place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in Sperry Center, Room 105 and online. The hybrid virtual and in-person event is free and open to the public.

Registration is required to attend online. Accessible live captions and American Sign Language interpreting will be provided. Contact for questions about accessibility and/or to request accommodations.

“Disability justice is essential as an aspect of the university’s commitment to initiatives that focus on diversity, equity and inclusion,” said organizer Sue Sprague, director of disability resources at SUNY Cortland.

“In order for every person with a disability to have a sense of belonging on campus, it is necessary to look at longstanding systemic barriers and bias that we hold,” Sprague said. “This presentation invites all of us to examine how disability as a lived experience and an identity based in a history of oppression has impacted our efforts to have an accountable, consistent and just campus.”

Brown will present their researched ideas and share lived experiences of disability and its intersection with their other identities. They will assist the campus community to consider these questions:

  • “What disability bias do I have?”
  • “How do we eliminate disability discrimination and stigma in environments that we share on our campus?”
  • “What does being an ally to someone with a disability mean?”
  • “What can we do for students with a disability with multiple identities?”

Brown focuses on addressing violence targeting disabled people living at the intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality, faith, language and nation.

“Autistic trans people of color face high risk of criminalization, police violence and incarceration,” Brown wrote. “We deserve movements that recognize and affirm experiences that cannot be easily separated into trans or autistic issues only, especially given the commonalities of the oppression we face.”

They chair the American Bar Association’s Civil Rights and Social Justice Section’s Disability Rights Committee and represent the association’s Disability Justice Committee to the National Lawyers Guild’s National Executive Committee.

Brown serves as policy counsel for disability rights and algorithmic fairness for the Privacy and Data Project at the Center for Democracy and Technology as well as director of policy, advocacy and external affairs for the Autistic Women and Nonbinary Network.

They earned a law degree from Northeastern University School of Law and have a bachelor’s degree in Arabic from Georgetown University. Since graduating, they have founded the Fund for Community Reparations for Autistic People of Color’s Interdependence, Survival and Empowerment, and served on many advisory boards including the Alliance for Citizen Directed Supports.

Brown regularly provides consulting, training and workshops to nonprofit organizations, services agencies, colleges and universities and other programs and companies interested in access and inclusion.

For more information on the discussion topic, visit Brown’s blog sites at or or their Georgetown University faculty profile Lydia X.Z. Brown.

For more information about disability resources, contact the university’s Disability Resources Office at 607-753-2967.

Additional support at SUNY Cortland includes the Anti-Racism Task Force for Education, Institutional Equity and Inclusion Office, Multicultural Life and Diversity Office, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression Committee; Foundations and Social Advocacy Department; the President’s Fund; Strategic Initiative; the Campus Artist and Lecture Series; Students for Access and Ability at College; Asian American Pacific Islander, PRIDE, and Minds Over Everything clubs; and the Student Government Association.

Capture the Moment


A ceremonial ribbon cutting ceremony was held in the Moffett Center Forum on Thursday, March 10. The $25 million project transformed 72,000 square feet of new interior classroom, office, laboratory and lounge space. More information on the ceremony is available in this issue.

In Other News

Moffett Center transformation highlighted

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Nearly 70 years ago, Moffett Center opened as the center of physical education, health and recreation on the SUNY Cortland campus.

On Thursday, in a space that for decades was filled with the squeak of sneakers on old hardwood, the university celebrated the transformation of the historic, brick structure into as a modern center for academic learning of a very different nature.

“It’s really fun now as alumni come back. They walk in here and are absolutely stunned,” said President Erik J. Bitterbaum, standing in a cathedral-like forum flooded with natural light and busy students. “It has really become a very important space for us.

“Not only is it part of our past, but also of our future. It’s really quite extraordinary.”

Bitterbaum was jointed by Associate Vice President for Facilities Management Zach Newswanger and Student Government Association President Taylor Hunter in ceremoniously cutting a red ribbon to officially recognize the completion of the renovation’s second, and final, phase.

The $25 million project transformed the old gymnasium into the Moffett Center Forum, a 3,400-square-foot open area topped by wide skylights and filled with study alcoves and comfortable furniture where students and faculty can meet. Sawubona, a coffee shop that serves premium African coffee and specialty sandwiches, has become a student favorite.

“I want to thank you for creating a space like this for students,” Hunter said during the ceremony. “A space where they can grab a snack and have a great social networking experience.”

A second-level mezzanine offers assess to a variety of reimagined classrooms and offices for academic specialties that include political science, economics, anthropology, sociology, health, criminology, Africana studies and more.

In all, the project created 72,000 square feet of new interior classroom, office, laboratory and lounge space. There’s a quiet study area, a collaborative classroom and a new home for SUNY Cortland’s Institute for Civic Engagement.

The building’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning system was upgraded and expanded, windows were replaced and natural lighting improvements like the forum skylight and glass windows at the top of classroom walls. As a result, the building’s energy use intensity has decreased by 40%, Newswanger said.

The transformation has been a long time coming. Phase I of the Moffett Center update was completed in 2009. It renovated 20,000 square feet of main level space encompassing the pool area and back wall facing Sperry Center into modern classrooms, offices, the Rozanne M. Brooks Museum and a lounge area for the Sociology/Anthropology Department.

A second phase was designed by Holt Architects of Ithaca, N.Y. in 2011, but the economic recession ground progress on the renovation to a halt. New York state only released funds to carry out the remaining updating in 2019. Construction was done during the pandemic, and the building reopened a year and a half ago. COVID-19 concerns, however, delayed major campus events, including Thursday’s ribbon cutting.

“This is an extraordinary accomplishment for SUNY Cortland,” Newswanger said. “Not only because of the time span, but, more specifically, we were able to complete the project on time in the midst of a pandemic.

“Thanks to the contributions of the many teams affiliated with this project, SUNY Cortland has a building with this amazing Georgian façade, couple with a new, modern interior that will support and foster growth for our students, faculty and staff.”

Nia Vega is selected as a Newman Civic Fellow

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SUNY Cortland junior Nia Vega has been a campus leader in many different equity and social justice initiatives on campus and an effective advocate for the victims and survivors of sexual assault.

For her dedication to the welfare of others, Vega recently was named among only 171 college students in the country to earn a prestigious 2022-23 Newman Civic Fellowship.

Campus Compact, a national coalition of more than 1,000 colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education, coordinates the yearlong fellowship program, which provides training and resources to future leaders.

As a Newman Civic Fellow, Vega will be guided by more senior Campus Compact coalition members as she expands her skills in leadership and community involvement. The students selected for the program demonstrate a commitment to finding solutions for challenges facing communities locally, nationally and internationally.

“Nia is an outstanding student and an incredible member of our campus community,” said her academic advisor, Elizabeth Bittel, assistant professor of sociology/anthropology. “She will excel in this role.”

Vega, who grew up in the East Harlem section of New York City and benefited from SUNY Cortland’s Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), would like nothing better than to see the students she helps today become tomorrow’s movers and shakers.

At Cortland she mentors new students taking part in the EOP program over the summer During the school year she works with Cortland high school seniors to put them on track for college. While when she’s back home on break, Vega is employed by her former high school as a Bridge to College Coach.

At SUNY Cortland, her social justice endeavors have ranged from organizing informative discussions and assemblies to supporting peaceful demonstrations.

Vega, who has concentrated in criminology with a minor in computer applications, serves as president of the SUNY Cortland organization Students Active For Ending Rape (S.A.F.E.R.), which hosts a Take Back The Night event each semester and conducts programs aimed at ending sexual and domestic violence. S.A.F.E.R. also works to recruit new students to become the next generation of campus leadership.

“At the root of my praxis, I begin by connecting with folks across the gender identity spectrum to address violence,” Vega said. “This includes economic, racial and gender/sexual-based violence. I achieve this through highlighting current event issues that educate club members and others in the community.”

“I assure all concerns and opinions are considered to recognize everyone’s perspective,” she said. “Therefore, all voices can be heard in my pursuit of spreading awareness.”

Vega currently is co-president of Men Of Value and Excellence (M.O.V.E.), working with men of color on campus to foster a culture of wellness and leadership.

“We actually advocate for all men on campus, because their voices are not heard,” Vega said, noting that not many clubs just for men exist at Cortland. According to her, the in-person shutdown during the pandemic had almost extinguished the 12-year-old organization, which depended on lots of in-person interaction.

“A lot of people never heard of us,” she said. Vega recently organized a hybrid in-person and virtual version of M.O.V.E.’s annual Men of Color Leadership Summit. The annual event attracts speakers and collegiate attendees from a wide geographic region to strengthen men’s self-affirmation and positive empowerment.

Vega blends her social advocacy work with her academics, conducting social justice research with two sociology professors, Bittel and Kent Johnson. She and three other research interns are conducting in-person interviews with students of color that will comprise a sociological study about race and racism at SUNY Cortland. Her research will help educators understand perceptions of race and racism on the campus and in the greater Cortland community. Vega and her classmates will present their findings in a poster session on Friday, April 29, during Transformations, a university-wide academic open house.

Applying for the fellowship focused her aspirations on a career in mental health counseling.

“It made me realize a lot of what I want to do moving forward after college, how I want to approach things on creating my future,” Vega said.

“I am looking forward to being able to mentor people who are part of this fellowship,” she said of her upcoming year as a Newman Civic Fellow. “I am only expanding my experience with mentoring because I have been doing that for a few years now.”

SUNY Cortland students have captured more than their share of this award, despite the fact that many higher educational institutions never see a single student join the Newman Civic Fellow ranks. Recent past SUNY Cortland student honorees, are listed below:

  • Patricia Winston, scheduled to graduate in May 2022, 2021-22
  • Shaneya Simmelkjaer ’21, 2020-21
  • Ryann Hudson ’20, 2019-20
  • Alexandra Cicero ’19, 2017-18
  • Nicole LaFrenier ’15, 2014-15 

Keats scholar to discuss poem on memory

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Karla Alwes, an emerita SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor of English at SUNY Cortland and John Keats scholar, will lecture on how well the Romantic era poet expressed the concept of “memory” on Wednesday, March 30.

She will present “John Keats and the ‘Memory of Touch’ in ‘To Autumn’” at 4 p.m. in the Old Main Colloquium (room 220).

The lecture, which is free and open to the public, continues the Cultural and Intellectual Climate Committee’s year-long exploration on the topic of “memory.” The event is sponsored by the English Department.

Karla Alwes

The poems and letters of Keats, who died in 1821 at age 25, remain among the most popular and analyzed in English literature, in particular “Ode to a Nightingale,” “Ode on a Grecian Urn,” “Sleep and Poetry” and the sonnet “On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer.”

Alwes is the author of Imagination Transformed: The Evolution of the Female Character in Keats’s Poetry (1993, Southern Illinois UP). Her many articles include “‘The Fall’ and ‘To Autumn’: The Final Relationship Between John Keats and Poetry,” in the journal Nineteenth-Century Literature (UCLA Press); and “The Alienation of Family in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein,” in the anthology Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, and Their Sisters (University Press of America).

She had this to say about her upcoming talk:

“Memory is contained within the poem through the poet’s recognition of the past, as he muses about the ‘songs of spring,’ which are the famous odes to the Grecian Urn and the Nightingale that precede his writing of the ode to autumn, the final major relationship between Keats and poetry, in which all is ‘over-brimming’ and the ‘warm days will never cease,’” Alwes said.

“The doubts and uncertainties of the odes that came before are now the plenitude that come from the touch of memory.”    

Her presentation also marks the inaugural Robert Rhodes Memorial Lecture, a series that will recognize long-serving members of the SUNY Cortland faculty as they retire.

Alwes joined the SUNY Cortland English Department in 1988, rising in rank to professor and serving as department chair from 2003 until 2009. The university in 2001 bestowed on her one of its highest honors, the Rozanne Brooks Dedicated Teacher Award. In 1995, the State University of New York Board of Trustees honored Alwes with a SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. In 2008, SUNY promoted Alwes to the rank of Distinguished Teaching professor. 

Robert Rhodes '53

Robert Rhodes ’53, a professor of Anglo-Irish literature, served on the SUNY Cortland English Department faculty from 1958 to June 1988. After he retired, Rhodes continued his close relationship with the English Department and the university for the balance of his life and served as an unofficial historian of the university. He died in 2016. The Robert Rhodes Scholarship was established in his name through the Cortland College Foundation.

For more information, contact Howard Lindh.

Photo by Giammarco on Unsplash  

Voting begins for SUNY’s Mascot Madness

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Red Dragon nation, Blaze needs your vote. And he needs it now.

Mascot Madness is back. Once again, the 64-campus SUNY system is hosting a competition to determine its most popular college mascot.

Online voting in the first round of the tournament-style mascot battle, set up in brackets like those used in the NCAA basketball championships, began today. SUNY Cortland’s Red Dragon is up against SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s Walter Wildcat.

Students, faculty, staff, family, friends and strangers on the street are encouraged to vote for Blaze on the official website. First-round voting ends at 4 p.m. Friday, March 25.

Cortland voters are encouraged to cast ballots early and often, although they are limited to one vote per day. In order for your vote to count, you simply have to verify it via an active email address. In addition, bonus votes will be available via Ttwitter this round. Follow @SUNY and ‘like’ the tweet that mentions SUNY Cortland’s first-round match-up.

If everybody’s favorite flame-throwing, game-winning Red Dragon tames SUNY Poly’s wildcat in the initial round, Blaze will advance through the following schedule:

  • Round 2 — March 28-30
  • Round 3 — April 1-5
  • Semifinals — April 7-11
  • Finals — April 12-14

If you’d like to learn more about Blaze and his competitors, SUNY Administration has posted a series of mascot Q&As. The responses of SUNY Cortland’s Red Dragon are below:

  1. Who are you and who do you represent? I am Blaze, the mighty Red Dragon, and I represent the intellectual, physical and emotional strength and determination of students at the State University of New York at Cortland. Oh, and mythological fire-breathing lizards. I represent them too.
  2. What’s your favorite place on campus? Naturally, it’s the Student Life Center, which is EVERYBODY’s favorite place on campus. What’s not to love about 147,177 square feet of fitness, food, friends and fun under one environmentally friendly roof? Whether it’s climbing the rock wall, swimming laps or meditating in the ultra-cool mind/body room, there’s always something to do.
  3. What’s your favorite place or thing to do off campus? I enjoy snorkeling off the coast of Australia, working with children in India, and exploring ancient ruins in Egypt or England. Luckily, I’m able to do all that and more through SUNY Cortland’s study abroad programs, which offer 30 destinations on six continents.
  4. What’s your favorite movie/tv show/special that you streamed last year? My favorite streaming event was Cortaca Jug 2021, when the Cortland football team overcame a two-touchdown deficit and blocked a potential game-winning kick to beat Ithaca College, 28-27. I bookmarked the highlight reel, and it just keeps getting better! Looking forward to our 2022 re-match in Yankee Stadium.
  5. What’s your favorite comfort food to get through a cold winter? That’s easy, chicken tender wraps. No wait, make that mac and cheese bites. Or maybe sushi? Y’know what? Just give me some Dining Dollars and drop me off at Hilltop.
  6. With SUNY offering convenient new learning options through microcredentials, what’s a new skill or competency you’d like to develop? In keeping with my magical origins, I’d like to become a certified quidditch coach. I might also enroll in “Harry Potter: Morality and Human Nature,” an actual SUNY Cortland philosophy course exploring themes that develop throughout the popular series of fantasy novels.
  7. Where would you like to retire when your mascot days are over? I’d like to get away from it all and relax in the wilderness at William H. Parks Family Center for Environmental and Outdoor Education at Raquette Lake. This remote, 400-acre historic property has provided generations of SUNY Cortland students a deeply meaningful outdoor experience. With me around, there’d never be a problem igniting a campfire!
  8. How would you celebrate a SUNY Mascot Madness championship? A round of high fives and then on to the next challenge. With 25 national titles and more than 100 individual national champions, did I mention that Red Dragons are really competitive?

Students uncover hidden news stories

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If you’re like most people, you probably aren’t aware that the way the federal government tracks the deaths of offshore oil rig workers misses half of the actual fatalities.

You probably haven’t heard that ADHD goes undiagnosed in girls more than twice as much as in boys, or read that a major western tobacco company floods the cigarette market of conflict-torn African countries, fueling smuggling operations that fund ethnic clashes and civil wars.

But none of this is news to SUNY Cortland students who took Associate Professor Christina Knopf’s media literacy class last semester.

In fact, five stories researched and analyzed by six students have been published on the website of Project Censored, a national, nonprofit media watchdog group that’s been drawing attention to important, but underplayed news stories since 1976.

“We got really good feedback from the people who run the project about the quality of SUNY Cortland’s submissions,” said Knopf, who used the process to give students a better idea how consumerism and other factors help determine what information is considered newsworthy by media outlets.

All five SUNY Cortland stories will be considered for Project Censored’s annual list of the top 25 “most censored” stories of the year. Review of submissions for the 2021-22 list begins later this spring.

The stories and students currently posted include:

Knopf’s course seeks to show students how to be more critical and discerning in how they look at news, advertising, photography and other forms of media. She selected nine student assignments to submit, including the five that were accepted.

SUNY Cortland stickmen conquer snowdrifts

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SUNY Cortland varsity lacrosse team members Justin Wainwright and Anthony Marcuccilli expertly wielded their sticks on Jan. 18.

But the business end of their equipment that frigid morning was shovels not lacrosse baskets, the better to dig out residents of Cortland and Homer, N.Y., who found their driveways and walkways buried following a major blizzard.

Varsity lacrosse head coach Steven Beville had asked his staff and the entire team to find 10 hours during the winter break to help others in their communities. It’s an annual SUNY Cortland lacrosse tradition. For the past seven or eight years, LAX members have played piano at assisted living centers, ladled lunch in soup kitchen serving lines and mentored at-risk youth at places like the Cortland Youth Bureau.

Justin Wainwright

Wainwright from Homer and Marcuccilli from Geneva, N.Y., pounced on the unexpected community service opportunity that fell from the skies. At 9 a.m. the day after the snowstorm, they went knocking from door to door offering assistance at homes that hadn’t been plowed or shoveled.

“It was 14 inches deep and with drifting,” said Marcuccilli, a senior dual major in sport management and business economics.

“Some houses had a foot and a half or two feet. We are both kind of used to that small community aspect of helping out. We know that, whether it’s in our hometown growing up or our college town, they give us a lot of support growing up and as athletes.”

One of those snowbound Cortland residents was Cheryl Ellsworth Barredo M ’81.

“What a delight it was to meet them that morning,” Barredo said. “They were young men who came to the door in the middle of snow squalls early in the morning. I didn’t expect to hear a ring at my door in the middle of the pandemic. Howling wind, snow squalls, blizzards, and here were these two young men offering to shovel my snow for free.”

Anthony Marcuccilli

Barredo was suspicious at first.

“I said, ‘Just give me a minute and I’ll put on my mask and coat and come out on the porch. As soon as they started talking and mentioned SUNY Cortland, I thought ‘OK,’ and said ‘Sure,’ and I said, ‘You guys are crazy.’”

“We got to work as she had a good-sized driveway,” said Wainwright, a senior business economics major.

“She mentioned how her son-in-law was not able to even get out there that day in time to plow her out so she could pick her daughter up at lunchtime.”

The young men finished in about 20 minutes. Barredo returned to the porch and offered to pay them. They declined and departed to knock on a few more doors.

Marcuccilli, left, and Wainwright

“I’m retired as a teacher and it was a delight to talk to two students from SUNY Cortland who were selfless and wanting to help shovel driveways for people,” Barredo said. “They so inspired me that when I got home later that day, as soon as I had time, I emailed coach Beville and (SUNY Cortland President) Erik Bitterbaum.”

She further honored the two players with a gift pledge of $1,000 to help the lacrosse program.

“It was an inspiration and it was in recognition of Justin and Anthony and their actions that inspired me to make that next step,” Barredo said.

The lacrosse players weren’t the only Red Dragons helping the community that day. With her driveway cleared, Barredo was able to complete her routine of shuttling her daughter, Maria Barredo, SUNY Cortland advancement operations associate, on her lunch hour from her workplace at Brockway Hall on campus to another community location where Maria Barredo assists with the ongoing care of spayed and neutered cats in a rescue project.

Barredo recalled how, 20 years ago as a Christian Brothers Academy teacher, she had modeled community service for her own students through can and bottle collections to benefit animal rescue.

Each member of the men's varsity lacrosse team gave 10 hours of community service during winter break.

“This raises their self-esteem, their confidence,” Barredo said about these teachable moments. “They feel good about helping someone else. I’m sure Justin and Anthony felt that way about helping people shovel out their driveways.”

Beville models his lacrosse program’s civic engagement endeavors after the best initiatives he sees across the three athletic divisions and the country.

“That’s our inspiration,” said Beville, noting the team participates in some volunteer activities, such as the annual CROP Hunger Walk fundraiser, as a unit. “We’re all together, it’s the whole team, it’s all of us. We’ve all bought into it and we’re excited about it.”

“I really applaud coach Beville for instilling that passion of community service in his team players,” Barredo said. “It really gives a good foundation and lifelong lesson to anyone who engages in community service. I don’t know how many other drives they shoveled but I really think anyone they came into contact with would be left with a very positive impression. For me it was a real source of Red Dragon pride.”

Cortland is a bike-friendly university

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A spring blooms in Upstate New York, students, faculty and staff are pulling bicycles out of winter storage to enjoy the warming weather, get some exercise and travel around town without using fossil fuels.

And there are few university campuses in the nation as welcoming to bicycles as SUNY Cortland.

Earlier this month, Cortland was one of 33 colleges and universities across the country to be recognized as a Bicycle Friendly University by the League of American Bicyclists and Bicycle Friendly America.

The announcement was a renewal of SUNY Cortland’s bronze status with the organizations, first awarded in 2017. There are only 222 Bicycle Friendly Universities in the U.S., and  Cortland is one of only two SUNY University Colleges, including SUNY Brockport, to receive the designation.

“This is important to us,” President Erik J. Bitterbaum said. “Bicycles represent our commitment to healthy living, physical fitness and environmental sustainability, all of which are core SUNY Cortland values.”

The Cortland Bike Project, managed by Outdoor Pursuits, provides free bike rentals to students on a weekly basis. Bikes may also be rented for an entire semester for $55, which includes a lock, helmet, bell and front and rear lights.

Additionally, Outdoor Pursuits offers mountain bike rentals for trail riding. Bike shop staff will also assist with the repair of personal bicycles for students, faculty and staff and Student Life Center members.

SUNY Cortland’s Sustainability Office considers faculty, staff and students commuting to campus by bike, or moving around campus on a bike, as a significant part of reducing the university’s greenhouse gas emissions. Other strategies include additional use of electric vehicles, buses that run on biodiesel and propane and a commitment to using 100 % renewable electricity in campus buildings.

The Bicycle Friendly University program evaluates colleges and universities efforts to promote bicycling in five key areas: engineering, encouragement, education, equity and evaluation and planning. Bronze-level universities have displayed an above-average number of campus community members and tend to be particularly strong in at least one of these five categories.

Cortland Transit seeking campus feedback

Bus 360240.png 03/22/2022

Cortland Transit is looking for feedback from the campus community on the look and name of its transportation system that serves SUNY Cortland and the surrounding area.

A brief, six-question survey may be completed online. Responses are anonymous.

In February, Cortland Transit created a new route that makes stops on campus, in local neighborhoods and at key locations along Route 281 and Tompkins St. Monthly bus passes are available through the Campus Store.

Taking Cortland Transit to campus helps SUNY Cortland meet its sustainability goals, alleviates parking congestion and offers students, faculty and staff options in commuting.

Designated stops on this route include:

  • Cortland County Office Building (60 Central Ave.)
  • Corner of Maple Ave. and Woodruff St.
  • Corner of Lincoln Ave. and North Main St.
  • Corey Union bus stop
  • Route 281 bus stop
  • Grand Union Plaza
  • Burger King
  • West Campus Apartments

Route 2 will stop as requested at:

  • Moffett Center bus stop
  • Park Center bus stop
  • Kentucky Fried Chicken
  • 281 Bowl
  • Tompkins St. eastbound from Route 13/Route 281 to Main St.

Details, maps and fares on the Cortland Transit route are available online.

The campus bus system will continue to operate normally. Riders may view maps, routes and schedules online.

Reminders on COVID-19 safety

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Dear campus community,

Welcome back from break! I hope you were able to enjoy the week and recharge for the second half of the semester.

I did want to share a few reminders about COVID-19 safety and what we can do to help keep one another healthy over the next few weeks. The university is following guidance from the CDC and the Cortland County Health Department, which means our current policies may change if we see a rise in cases.

Please note:

  • Surveillance testing for students will be expanded after break. If you received an email request to test yesterday, please register for an appointment using myRedDragon. Please continue to regularly check your email for testing requests through the remainder of the semester.
  • Face coverings are optional. Be kind and respectful toward others in our community.
  • SUNY’s booster verification mandate for students remains in place. Students should submit their information through myRedDragon as soon as possible. Instructions, provided to you by email before break, are available online.
  • Students with medical or religious exemptions and faculty and staff who have not provided proof of vaccination to Human Resources must continue to wear face coverings and test weekly.

If you do feel any COVID-19 symptoms, please take a test and stay home if you are ill. This is the most critical step we can take to protect the health of our community.

Thank you for all your continued efforts. The last few weeks of every academic year are always an exciting and rewarding period on our campus. Let’s enjoy this time together safely.

All the best,

Erik J. Bitterbaum


All students must submit booster information through myRedDragon

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Dear students,
SUNY has mandated that all students must be boosted against COVID-19 as soon as they are eligible. Your compliance with this allows us to continue making face masks optional on campus.
Many of you have already received your booster and I want to thank you for doing your part to keep yourself and SUNY Cortland safe through the pandemic.
The university needs to receive proof of your booster status. Please upload your information as soon as possible.
To submit your information:
  • Click on the vaccination/booster portal found under the "COVID-19 Vaccination & Booster for Students" section of the COVID tab in myRedDragon.
  • If necessary, verify your vaccination information through the SUNY vaccination verification application. When you are done, or if you have previously done this, select "update record."
  • Then, take a photo of your booster information on your COVID-19 vaccination record card and upload it through the "upload vaccination/exemption record/booster information section." If your booster information is located on the back of the card, please include an image of the rear of the card.
  • Students may choose instead to upload a screenshot of their digital Excelsior Pass. However, this image must include information on the "vaccination details" section of the pass, which notes the vaccine date, type, location and lot number. Information on how to register for the Excelsior Pass is available online.
You will receive an email from SUNY once a manual review of your upload has been completed.
Students who have previously submitted booster information must follow these steps so the university has a copy of your vaccination documentation.
If you are not yet eligible for a booster but will be soon, please use New York's vaccine finder portal to schedule an appointment and upload your information as soon as possible. Wegmans Pharmacy will hold a clinic in Corey Union Exhibition Lounge beginning at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, March 9. Register for that clinic using Wegmans' online portal.
Students who have received a medical or religious exemption do not need to submit any documentation but they must continue to participate in weekly surveillance testing and wear face coverings in indoor spaces on campus.
The university's three pillars of defense against COVID-19 have been vaccinations and boosters, surveillance testing and face coverings. Making face coverings optional for boosted individuals is a positive step forward for SUNY Cortland and it makes our booster documentation process that much more important.
All the best,
Erik J. Bitterbaum
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Faculty/Staff Activities

Genevieve Birren

Genevieve Birren, Sport Management Department, authored an article that was published in the fall issue of the Marquette Sports Law Review. The article is titled “The Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act: The United States’ Response to the Russian Doping Scandal.” 

Tyler Bradway

Tyler Bradway, English Department, was interviewed on March 15 about his research on queer kinship narratives on Queer Lit, a podcast hosted by Lena Mattheis from the University of Surrey, UK. The episode is available online.

Eileen Gilroy and Ryan Davis

Eileen Gilroy, Communication Disorders and Sciences Department, and Ryan Davis, Kinesiology Department, hosted the first in a series of interprofessional education discussions between their graduate students. As future healthcare providers, athletic training and communication sciences and disorders students detailed their programs with each other and brainstormed ideas on how the professions could work together to advance patient care. The students learned there are more similarities between the two programs, rather than differences.

Szilvia Kadas

Szilvia Kadas, Art and Art History Department, presented with project collaborators Mitchell Christensen and Judy Livingston “Cross-Institutional Collaboration: Design Studio Initiative Across Campuses” at the 110th Annual College Art Association of America Conference on Feb. 17 in Chicago.

Caroline Kaltefleiter

Caroline Kaltefleiter, Communication and Media Studies Department, received a 2022 Transformative Justice Scholar-Activist of the Year Award from the national grassroots fully-volunteer organization Save the Kids. The organization is dedicated to alternatives to, and the end of the incarceration of all youth and the school-to-prison pipeline. Her work on creative youth media outreach projects and mutual aid actions over the last decade was highlighted.   

Patricia Roiger

Patricia Roiger, Childhood/Early Childhood Education Department, was featured in a Cortland Standard article titled “History Lesson a ‘Hoot.’” Roiger regularly contributes to the program called ”Time Travel,” created by the Cortland County Historical Society and the Cortland Free Library to teach children about history.

Melinda Shimizu

Melinda Shimizu, Geography Department, had an article titled “Design a Children’s Map—Competition Edition!” published in March in The Geography Teacher.

Submit your faculty/staff activity

The Bulletin is produced by the Communications Office at SUNY Cortland and is published every other Tuesday during the academic year. Read more about The Bulletin. To submit items, email your information to

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