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  Issue Number 9 • Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023  


Campus Champion

When physical education graduate Kayla Sweeney ’21 sought a graduate assistant position last September, the health education major found a great fit working with Health Educator Lauren Scagnelli '12, M '14. This spring, Kayla is in the driver’s seat as Lauren takes maternity leave. She is managing the Wellness Wednesday Series, including a week of events in February centered around body appreciation. Kayla, a women’s lacrosse player who plans a career in physical education or coaching, is the daughter of two teachers who are Cortland alums — Candace Harvey Sweeney '92, M '96 and Matthew S. Sweeney '93, M '96.

Nominate a Campus Champion

Wednesday, Jan. 25

Wellness Wednesday: Intro to Yoga, Student Life Center Mind Body Room, 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 26

Life Consequences: A Tale of Redemption, Choices and Decisions, sponsored by the Student Activities Board, Corey Union Function Room, 7 p.m.

Resource Fair: Corey Union, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Opening Reception for (re)Play: A solo exhibition by Brooklyn-based visual artist David B. Smith, Dowd Gallery, Dowd Fine Arts Center, Room 106, 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 27

International Welcome Celebration: Corey Union, 1 to 2 p.m.

Sunday, Jan. 29

Student Government Association Club Fair: Corey Union Function Room, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 1

Abraham Lincoln Demond Day: Join SGA in this celebration of the life of Abraham Lincoln Demond, Cortland's first African American to graduate from the Normal School, Corey Union Function Room, 6 to 8 p.m.

Gearing Up for Grad School Workshop: Sponsored by Career Services, for more information and to register, visit Handshake, 5 to 6 p.m.

Sip and Fro! Hosted by Curly Kinky Coily Hair, Voice Office, 7 to 8 p.m.

Celebrating 10 Years of Tobacco and Nicotine Free: Corey Union Exhibition Lounge, 2:30 p.m. reception and ceremony to follow.

Friday, Feb. 3

Dowd Gallery First Friday: The guided tour of the exhibition has been organized by Cortland Arts Connect to take place from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. The event will be both live and virtual.

Monday, Feb. 6

Money Talks Mondays - Financial Wellness: Presented by Career Services, online, learn more and register on Handshake, 4 to 5 p.m.

Celebrating a groundbreaking graduate 


SUNY Cortland will open Black History Month by formally proclaiming its inaugural Abraham Lincoln DeMond 1889 Day, honoring a groundbreaking graduate and enshrining his legacy to the university and the United States. 

DeMond, who became Cortland’s first African American alum at a time when prejudicial policies and segregation were enforced across much of the United States, will be honored on campus on Feb. 1 in what organizers intend to be an annual event.  

DeMond, born in Seneca, N.Y., attended the Cortland Normal School — the institution later to become SUNY Cortland.  He went on to become a politically active pastor, and delivered an influential address on African American rights from the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ala., the same church from which Martin Luther King Jr. helped launch the civil rights movement  

In 2019, the university’s chapter of the W.E.B. Du Bois Honor Society was named for DeMond. The idea of creating a special DeMond Day was developed and pushed into action by a current student: Tatum Pittman. 

Tatum Pittman

I wanted to remind everyone of the power this one Black man had and the influence it carried, and hopefully it will inspire more students of color or students in general,” she said. 

Pittman, a senior adolescence education: English major from Poughkeepsie, N.Y., is the director of diversity, equity and inclusion for the Student Government Association, and has been treasurer of the Student Alumni Association. She is enrolled in Cortland’s Urban Recruitment of Educators program, which prepares students committed to teaching in high-needs schools.   

The event honoring DeMond and the official start of SUNY Cortland’s Black History Month celebration begins at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 1, in the Corey Union Function Room. In future years, DeMond Day will be used to honor other African American alumni. 

Speakers will include Pittman, Ernest Logan ’73, president emeritus of the American Federation of School Administrators and Cortland College Foundation board member, who will deliver the keynote address, Lorraine Lopez-Janove, SUNY Cortland’s chief diversity and inclusion officer, and College President Erik J. Bitterbaum. The SUNY Cortland Gospel Choir will perform “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” often referred to as the “Black National Anthem.” Daniel Walker ’06, president of the SUNY Cortland Alumni Association, and a representative from State Senator Lea Webb’s office, also will attend. Webb agreed to write a proclamation honoring the day and its importance to the campus. 

Lopez-Janove attributed Pittman’s dedication and passion as the main driving force behind the success of DeMond Day. She noted that it puts an important focus on the SUNY system’s ongoing goal of racial diversity and inclusiveness. 

“It’s not something that’s just happening now, it’s something that’s been happening for a while,” Lopez-Janove said. “It highlights the commitment that SUNY has — and that African American students see Cortland as a place they can come to and accomplish their educational goals. As a yearly event, it visually shows students, staff, faculty and the community that commitment.” 

As important as memorializing DeMond’s time in Cortland will be remembering him as a talented, ambitious man whose accomplishments reached far beyond New York state. After graduation, DeMond studied theology at Howard University in Washington, D.C., and became pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. On Jan. 1, 1900, he delivered an oration, The Negro Element in American Life, that described the achievements of African Americans and called for them to given full rights as American citizens. It was published by the Alabama Printing Company and distributed to the public 

A glass case in Corey Union will display items documenting DeMond’s life, including a portrait of DeMond with his graduation year. Pittman contacted Stephen Clark, assistant professor in the Art and Art History Department, who agreed to paint the portrait. The case also will house a letter DeMond wrote that was published in the local Cortland Standard newspaper, a copy of the oration he gave at Dexter Baptist Church, some of his published works from Cortland’s Young Men’s Debate Club and the proclamation from Lea Webb marking the inaugural day.  

Pittman said that the idea for DeMond Day was inspired by a speech given by Bitterbaum last year commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. Day. 

The story President Bitterbaum gave … stayed with me because of the power it had and the pride it gave me to attend the same school as DeMond and also be working on and fighting the same fight as him,” Pittman said. “We have buildings named after old athletic directors, and old presidents, but it’s not often that we see a plaque with Abraham’s name on it, or even a statue.” 

After having the original idea, Pittman worked on the event’s details with the help of other students, faculty and staff. She said that Lopez-Janove assisted with the event’s funding and coordination while Katrina Hodge, assistant director of Multicultural Life and Diversity and Cyrenius Fitzjohn, assistant chief diversity and inclusion officer, were her adult mentors. 

Pittman credited Bitterbaum, the President’s Cabinet and Webb for additional help. She also met with the Diversity Board twice a week and her deputy, Calvin Barnett, provided his own assistance and ideas. The SUNY Cortland Alumni Association is funding the reception, has helped with marketing efforts and will present a proclamation honoring DeMond.

I hope Abraham Lincoln DeMond Day opens up a new door of recognition for the Black community on campus,” Pittman said. “I also hope it allows us to understand our history at SUNY Cortland and the importance of the fight for equality and how, like President Bitterbaum stated in his latest message to the campus, that fight must continue today in our own students.” 

Registration is not necessary but appreciated. Register online or call Alumni Engagement at 607-753-2516. 

Contact Alumni Engagement at 607-753-2516 for any questions regarding the event. 


Top left: Abraham Lincoln DeMond

Students shine light on under-covered news 


Students in SUNY Cortland’s Introduction to Media Literacy class aren’t just learning about the media, they’re learning how to dig. It is an effort that’s earned them national attention from Project Censored, a nonprofit organization committed to uncovering important stories missed by traditional news outlets.. 

Several investigative articles by the students made it onto the group’s website, with the work of two students, Vincent Santilli of Saratoga, N.Y., and Noah Orser of Carmel, N.Y., listed among the Top 25 Censored Stories of 2020-2021 and published in Project Censored's State of the Free Press 2023. 

Their story documented how the way the federal government keeps track of the deaths of offshore oil rig workers misses half of the actual fatalities.   

Professor Christina Knopf.

“Being media literate means that we are in a position to better protect ourselves from unwanted or potentially harmful media effects, and to more effectively, mindfully and strategically use the media to satisfy our individual needs,” said Christina Knopf, a professor in the Communication and Media Studies Department, who has taught the class since 2021. “It’s less of a job skill and more of a life skill.” 

Students in the class explore independent news sites until they find a story they haven’t seen before, but feel is important. They then search to see how much attention it has received by corporate news sources. If it turns out coverage is scarce, the students pursue it further. 

“I was extremely excited when I found out my story had been picked,” said Victoria Recco, a communication studies major from Broad Channel, N.Y. “Professor Knopf obviously expressed to our class that we all had a chance of being chosen but I never imagined that my story would be, so it was a very pleasant and welcome surprise.” 

Recco’s article focused on how attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is significantly under-diagnosed  or misdiagnosed in girls. It was among those highlighted on Project Censored’s website. 

Knopf’s first classroom experience with Project Censored was when she taught at SUNY Potsdam in 2008. She first used the  organization as a SUNY Cortland teaching tool in Spring 2021. In 2021-22 more than 207 student researchers from 10 college and university campuses in the U.S. submitted news stories, according to Project Censored. 

“I loved this class,” said Jessica Jean-Baptiste, a senior communications studies major from Dix Hills, N.Y., whose focus in class was on the criminalization of HIV. “I enjoyed learning about the different theories within the media and how they affected me in my daily life.” 

Knopf said that submissions to Project Censored, which has a mission statement dedicated to independent journalism and opposition to censorship, are placed on a ballot that includes hundreds of other stories. That ballot is then sent to a panel of international judges that includes journalists, academics and prominent figures like former FCC Commissioner Nicholas Johnson. The panel, along with the students and faculty involved in the stories, engage in two rounds of voting until the top 25 are chosen. 

This work with Project Censored develops skills that, according to Knopf, are only increasing in importance.  

“So-called ‘social’ media platforms are being leveraged to divide rather than network people,” Knopf said. “Advancing AI technologies are presenting more and more ‘deepfake threats’ to democracy, security, and the economy — calling into question the authenticity of information, identities and even art.” 

Knopf noted that much of a typical person’s time is channeled into technologies either less common or unavailable a generation ago, and that this digital intimacy spreads misinformation and disinformation faster than before. The internet didn’t invent lies and rumors, but it has unprecedented ability to spread them quickly and efficiently, she said. The training gained through the Project Censored assignment makes sifting through the digital landscape easier. 

“My biggest takeaway from Intro to Media Literacy was how the media frames things for their benefit,” Recco said. “This was something we dove into more with the Project Censored assignment specifically. We learned a lot about how the media hides certain things for whatever their reasoning may be, and we learned how to, as communications professionals, dig deeper to find hidden stories.” 


Capture the Moment


The SUNY Cortland women's ice hockey team held its third annual Make-A-Wish® charity game on Saturday, Jan. 21, when the Red Dragons hosted Hamilton College in a non-league game. The event supported Make-A-Wish® Central New York, whose representatives were on hand to drop the puck for a faceoff between (left) Nany Loh of Hamilton and Dany Donegan, team captain for Cortland. Read more about the fundraiser, which ends at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 26.

Photo by Darl Zehr Photography

In Other News

Students help transform hallways into sensory pathways

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Going to school and navigating to their preschool classrooms has new meaning for a select group of local children, thanks to a community service project that received a boost from SUNY Cortland’s Physical Education Department and student volunteers from two sport clubs.

Cortland’s Racker facility, which specializes in services for people with disabilities, recently added a large collection of colorful floor and wall stickers known as sensory pathways. The artwork encourages youngsters at Racker’s inclusive childcare center to practice important fundamental motor skills such as jumping, hopping, skipping and many others — during their daily school routines.

“After two-plus years of the pandemic, we’ve seen significant delays in children’s motor skills and social emotional skills ,” said Tim Davis, an associate professor of physical education at SUNY Cortland who has partnered with Racker for more than 20 years. “So the opportunity to move throughout the day is absolutely critical for child development.”

On the Saturday before finals week at SUNY Cortland, 34 members of the university’s baseball and softball sport club teams spent four hours installing the different sensory pathways created by Fit and Fun Playscapes, a small business based in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., that creates school supplies to aid physical and mental development.

The idea for the project was born this past summer, when Davis taught an inclusive activities class with a field experience at Racker. SUNY Cortland’s physical education students used vinyl rollout mats provided by Fit and Fun Playscapes for the first time.


“We put them out there and both the teachers and the kids responded incredibly well,” Davis said.

That led Brian Rozewski, director of preschool programs at Racker, to secure roughly $11,000 in grant funds for the project. Davis and Rozewski worked with Pam Gunther, the founder of Fit and Fun Playscapes, to map out more than a dozen age-appropriate sensory pathways that incorporated numbers, letters, animals and other kid-friendly graphics.

Examples included hopscotch games in the shape of flowers, a crab walk with graphics for hands and feet, marching instructions following a pattern of ants, a jumping path on wooden logs and many others.

Their installation would have taken much longer if not for the assistance of SUNY Cortland’s student volunteers. In addition to practicing and playing their respective sports, the university’s club baseball and softball teams often look for ways to build relationships off the field.

“Our teams were definitely happy to help out,” said Jared Rago, a junior physical education major from Holtsville, N.Y. “We always try to think about different things we can do outside of normal team activities. Not only were we volunteering and helping, but we were bonding as baseball and softball teams too.”

Both Rago and teammate Mike Greco were enrolled in Davis’ course built around a local effort called Project LEAPE, short for Leadership and Education in Adapted Physical Education. Victoria Kohler, president of the club softball team, is a physical education major too, so the team partnership was natural.


The Project LEAPE class encourages student participation in community programs while providing leadership opportunities for physical education majors. The impact of Project LEAPE has led to stronger community partnerships like the one at Racker. 

“This just fit every piece,” Davis said. “I was thankful we had so many students because it would’ve taken days to put all of those stickers down.”

The installation process required students to watch tutorial videos and carefully consider how the adhesive sensory pathways were laid on the ground so that their positioning made sense for the motor abilities of preschoolers. Smoothing out the stickers also required teamwork and attention to detail.

Student volunteers represented many different academic majors in addition to physical education, such as childhood/early childhood education, psychology and sport management.

“We try to get everyone thinking about how preschoolers should move,” said Davis, noting that the recommended amount of physical activity for children is 60 minutes every day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “What I tell all of my students and community partners is that our goal is to help kids be more confident in their shoes, wherever they play.

“The way we get there is by practicing and playing.”


Davis also leads SUNY Cortland’s Sensory Integration/Motor Sensory Multi-Sensory Environment (SIMS/MSE) Lab, an interactive, cross-disciplinary play space in Park Center that serves the community and highlights the importance of adapted physical education for all children. He said there are many ways to incorporate sensory-based activities like the ones that the sticker pathways promote, from stencils traced on playground surfaces to rollout mats in gymnasiums.

“It’s no secret that movement helps cognitive learning,” Davis said. “And all of the literature says the more that we move, the better off we are — especially our brains and our own social emotional regulation.”

The sensory pathways project is just the latest example of collaboration between the university and Racker. Starting in 2023, three SUNY Cortland graduate students who are certified to teach physical education will teach it at the preschool level 20 hours each week in exchange for tuition credit at both the Cortland and Ithaca Racker centers.

“It’s just a strong connection between Cortland as a campus and a community partner,” Davis said. “Having that connection makes all the difference in the world.”

SUNY Cortland earns high marks for online programs

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SUNY Cortland has been named one of the top online universities in New York state for 2023, according to a recent ranking based on cost, student success and reputation. 

The university ranked No. 14 in New York on the list, published by, a higher education resource guide. With 190 four-year institutions, New York has more colleges and universities than any state in the nation, according to the National Center for Education Statistics data. 

Cortland also scored highest among medium-size comprehensive universities in the SUNY system and better than three of its four large university centers. 

Institutions were rated using a scoring system across several categories. Scores compared each school based on tuition cost, admissions and graduation rates as well as resources for online students. 

“This is a credit to our faculty and staff for working hard to develop online options that match the quality of the in-person Cortland experience,” said Jose Feliciano ’98, M.S.Ed. ’01, the university’s director of admissions and enrollment planning. “For many years, SUNY Cortland has been recognized for providing a world-class education and a high level of campus life. We want students to know that Cortland is a university that can help them grow, whether it’s in a classroom, on campus or online.” 

SUNY Cortland offers seven online programs at the master’s level, with nearly half of the university’s graduate students — 336 out of approximately 700 total — pursuing a degree offered online. SUNY Cortland also provides a discounted tuition rate for fully online out-of-state graduate students.  

Cortland’s current online graduate programs include: 

Additional online graduate programs are expected to be added in the future. 

The university also offers many single online courses on various schedules during traditional winter and summer breaks, welcoming Cortland students and those attending other institutions. Nearly 250 courses are taught fully online during winter and summer sessions at the graduate and undergraduate levels.  

Across the U.S., 50% of master’s degrees earned in 2020 were among students enrolled in an online program, according to a 2022 report from Ruffalo Noel-Levitz. Additionally, the number of undergraduates enrolled in partially online study increased by more than 970,000 between 2012 and 2019, even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Students interested in taking an online course during SUNY Cortland’s winter or summer sessions can learn more through the university’s Extended Learning Office. Registration for the university’s upcoming Winter Session closes Tuesday, Dec. 20, for Session I and Tuesday, Jan. 3, for Session II. 

Prospective graduate students can learn more about online programs through the Graduate Admissions Office. 

Friendly competitors invited to Rough Raquette

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Rough and ready winter Red Dragons are going to love participating in Rough Raquette, a new one mile or 5K walk or run at Raquette Lake on Saturday, Feb. 18.

This event, hosted by the William H. Parks Family Center for Environmental and Outdoor Education Outdoor Education Centers, will provide a social and recreational opportunity for alumni to banish the winter blahs while raising money for historical preservation of the former Camp Pine Knot, more recently named the W.H. Parks Family Outdoor Center, Camp Huntington.

“The race is open to anyone,” said organizer Rhonda Pitoniak '01 M'16, director of outdoor education with the Parks Family Outdoor Center. “We are aiming to create awareness of our historic preservation needs with alumni and the greater Raquette Lake community.”

Camp Pine Knot is the first Great Camp of the Adirondacks and was originally built by William West Durant beginning in the mid-1870s. According to Pitoniak, the original log and bark-sided structures have held up well, but need constant upkeep and preservation to ensure they are here for future generations.

The inaugural Rough Raquette race takes place on Saturday, Feb 18.

The Rough Raquette will be part of the annual Raquette Lake Winter Carnival. Pitoniak hopes it will become a carnival tradition, like the Ladies Frying Pan Toss or Ice Golf.

“Raquette Lake got its name from the French word for snowshoe,” Pitoniak said. “Knowing that the weather cannot be predicted and winter everchanging, the name Rough Raquette seemed appropriate.”

The event will take place at 9 a.m. starting approximately a quarter mile from the village shoreline on a completely flat course on frozen lake. The short and longer snowshoe races will take place concurrently and share the same course for the first half mile. The competitive pack will head toward South Bay before looping back to town. This is an out and back race. Be sure to allow time to get to the starting area after your arrival. Everyone must wear snowshoes unless there is no snow. Loaner snowshoes will not be available.

Additional Rough Raquette details:

  • Prior registration/entry fee/waiver: Online race registration will be accepted. Registration on the day of the event will need to be cash or check only as no electronic devices will be available. In lieu of a registration fee, participants are asked to make a suggested donation of $30 for the 5K and $20 for the one-mile snowshoe. All money raised will benefit the Camp Huntington Historic Building Preservation Fund. All donations are final with no refunds or deferrals. Registration includes signing a liability waiver.
  • Packet pick up: begins at 8 a.m. on the ice in front of Raquette Lake Supply in the Village of Raquette Lake.
  • Race facilities: This event will be completely outside on the lake with a campfire near the starting line and portable toilets nearby on shore. Be prepared with warm clothing and dry clothes for after the race. Keep in mind winds on the lake can be strong at times. Suggested clothing includes warm layers, gloves, hat, long tights or waterproof breathable pants.
  • Gear: It is your responsibility to make sure that you have suitable traction devices that are safe for you to walk or run on. Snowshoes can be any style — metal, plastic or wood. Recommended traction devices includes Kahtoola MicroSpikes or NanoSpikes. Participants also can make their own pair of screw shoes.
  • Parking: Free parking is available in the village, but space is limited. Carpooling is encouraged.
  • Weather: In the unlikely event of no snow, we can still participate on the ice. A decision will be made 15 minutes before the race if snowshoes will be worn based on race day conditions. In the event of unsafe ice or windchill temperatures below minus 10 degrees Fahrenheit, the race will not take place. A decision will be made by noon on the day prior to the race.
  • Posted race results: The results listing will be available on our web site on Monday, Feb. 20.

For more information about Rough Raquette, contact Rhonda Pitoniak '01 M '16 at 607-753-5485.

The event overlaps with SUNY Cortland’s Alumni Winter Camp, which is happening at Camp Huntington from Feb. 18 to 23.

“The timing fits perfectly with alumni winter camp and the Raquette Lake Winter Carnival on the same weekend,” Pitoniak said. “It would be great for folks to come for the race and stay for the carnival.”

The winter carnival youth activities start at 11 a.m. and include plenty of games. The carnival will feature a Ladies Frying Pan Toss at noon, Ice Golf at 2 p.m. and bonfire all day. A fireworks display will begin at dusk on Saturday night. On Sunday at noon, it’s the Timed Cross-cut and chainsaw competition. Competitors welcome! For more information on the Winter Carnival, call 518-624-3077.

State of the University Address tackles challenges

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SUNY Cortland President Erik J. Bitterbaum spends an hour every day walking the elevated track in the Student Life Center, talking with students and learning about their challenges. He shared that daily experience with faculty and staff during his State of the University Address Thursday, Jan. 19, while encouraging them to develop strong and meaningful connections with students.

The students’ concerns reflect the issues of mental health, career preparation and student retention, which pose significant challenges for higher education institutions, including SUNY Cortland, he said. A renewed bond and understanding between students and the university’s employees can help students better navigate their time on campus and find success in their lives after graduation.

“Unusual levels of student disconnection have been observed,” Bitterbaum said. “Nationally, faculty are reporting record numbers of students checked out, stressed out and unsure of their future. They’re disengaged.”

Bitterbaum cited an informal 2022 study by The Chronicle of Higher Education found faculty members across the country reporting increasing levels of disengagement among college students, who skip class, avoid participating in discussions and have trouble recalling what they’ve learned.

The causes of this lack of engagement in certain students come from a variety of sources, many of which are related to the pandemic, including struggles with online or hybrid learning, deaths in the family and financial insecurity.

The Healthy Minds Network, which has surveyed more than 500,000 students at 450 colleges and universities for 15 years, reports that rates of depression and anxiety have risen 19% and 17%, respectively, between 2013 and 2022.

Bitterbaum asked faculty and staff to consider adopting new strategies to support students both in their academics and in their lives outside of class. Some ways to assist students with their mental health may include reaching out more frequently, spending more time on community-building exercises and group discussions, replacing high-stakes tests and papers with smaller and more frequent assignments and maintaining flexible deadlines and giving students input on creating assignments of interest to them.

“I’m not saying you have to do these things, but I think it’s really worthy of a conversation,” Bitterbaum said.

In addition to the university’s Counseling and Wellness Services, faculty and staff may point students toward Togetherall, a free, 24/7 online support community that includes professional and peer-driven resources.

Students who have shared their concerns directly with Bitterbaum ask mainly for simple gestures of support from faculty.

“These are very sincere students and this is what they’re sharing,” Bitterbaum said. “Could you give students a voice in your class? Show students that you care? Check-in emails to ask if students are OK?

“I know this is a lot of work, but empathy goes a long way with this generation.”

Career Services was highlighted in the address as a crucial tool for students looking for employment after graduation. Prospective parents are increasingly asking about the office’s effectiveness in preparing students for the job market.

Data from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) show that students who use at least one service from the office receive additional job offers and this increases for each additional service students use.

Bitterbaum recommended faculty and staff point students, even first-year students, to Career Services as part of creating more confident and goal-oriented students.

On a brighter note, Bitterbaum noted a robust number of applications to the university for the 2023-24 academic year. Through mid-November, SUNY Cortland had received 11,400 applications, an increase of 125.8% from the previous year. Cortland has received more applications than any other SUNY comprehensive university to date.

“We’re very lucky, Bitterbaum said. “We have the right majors, we’re in the right part of the state and we do a marvelous job of communicating who we are.”

Other noteworthy developments across campus include:

  • All In: Building on Success, the university’s comprehensive campaign, recently concluded by raising more than $30 million.
  • Installation of new and modern signage was completed across campus during the fall semester.
  • Renovations to the Miller Building are nearing an end. The final steps of the design phase for the C wing of Van Hoesen Hall are in progress and work is set to begin in late May. Upcoming projects will include renovations to Corey Union and the A and B wings of Van Hoesen.
  • SUNY Cortland is officially a university, with formal recognition coming from SUNY System Administration on Jan. 1, 2023.
  • John B. King Jr. was named SUNY chancellor on Jan. 15. King was previously education commissioner for New York state and was the U.S. Secretary of Education from 2016 to 2017.
  • Cortland now offers seven fully online graduate degree programs: history; literacy education; sport management; physical education leadership; second language education in TESOL, a master’s in therapeutic recreation and a certificate program in therapeutic recreation.
  • Students are doing important experiential learning abroad. Associate Professor Kenneth Cohen traveled to Hawaii with a group of students to study ecotourism last year. The baseball team was in the Dominican Republic this past week, doing youth clinics and service learning.

The president’s State of the University Address was followed by a discussion on the university’s strengths and opportunities to inform strategic planning presented by the Institutional Planning and Assessment Committee.

A recording of the State of the University Address will be posted online at a later date.

Student EMS organization gets new home 

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The SUNY Cortland Emergency Medical Services (SCEMS) student group has moved to a new base of operations, taking up residence at 29 Broadway Ave. between North Campus and South Campus. The house was previously used as surge space during campus construction. 

The old area used by SCEMS in Van Hoesen Hall is to be renovated as part of updates for its use in teaching labs for education courses. 

According to Kaleb Frierson, senior biology major from Moravia, N.Y., and president of SCEMS, emergency response times across campus should be more equal, thanks to the central location of the new building. The new space also is larger, providing more room to grow membership and for the group’s programs. 

Our organization is made up of a diverse and friendly student body who enjoy interacting with each other,” Frierson said. “Having our own home strengthens the comradery. Also, as we take on initiatives like community CPR education, Stop the Bleed, collaboration with other student organizations and increasing our recruitment, the space will afford us more room to do so.” 

Additionally, the new location across the street from the University Police Department allows for an easier working relationship between the two public safety agencies. 

Despite the improved location, Frierson says that SCEMS is taking precautions to ensure the move doesn’t affect their response time to daytime emergences in classrooms or living areas farther from the new building. They are equipping its members living on campus with “take-home” medical equipment, which allows them to supply immediate aid while other members of SCEMS bring additional equipment or vehicles. 

The SCEMS group is staffed by student volunteers 24 hours a day, seven days a week while classes are in session. They provide emergency medical services and educational outreach to the SUNY Cortland community and the surrounding area, coordinating at times with SUNY Cortland’s University Police Department, the City of Cortland Fire Department and TLC Medical Transportation Services. 

Following the campus closure caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Frierson estimates the EMS dwindled to about 10 to 15 active members. Now, he says, there more than 50 with more volunteers expected to add to that number. 

We pride ourselves on being an organization rooted in diversity, acceptance, teamwork,” Frierson said. “We hold ourselves to the standard of excellence and encourage any student of any background with any major to consider joining our team.” 

SUNY Cortland EMS can be reached at 607-753-4112 or by email at 

Those interested in becoming a member of SCEMS can fill out an application. 

Brooklyn artist explores landscape concepts with fiber

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SUNY Cortland’s Dowd Gallery is inviting people to come out of their pandemic-induced isolation and remember how to play.

“(re)Play,” a solo show by Brooklyn-based artist David B. Smith, launches the gallery’s spring semester exhibitions with a series of recent and re-interpreted fabric-based sculptures, objects, collages, installations and interactive environments.

The exhibition opened Monday, Jan. 23, and will run through Friday, Feb. 24. Visitors will experience playfully constructed fiber environments resembling other-worldly bodies and landscapes that border on abstraction. Smith pushes traditional arts-and-crafts mediums like textiles, photography, embroidery, tufting and painting to new territories.

An opening reception and exhibition tour will be held in the gallery from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 26. The gallery is in the Dowd Fine Arts Center on the corner of Prospect Terrace and Graham Avenue in Cortland. 

The exhibition is free and open to the public, as are the opening reception and all exhibition-related events. These include a virtual artist’s talk, a gallery walk-through, an artist’s workshop, a documentary screening and additional live and virtual presentations that contribute new perspectives on the exhibit.

Smith noted how, during the pandemic, people were separated from communal spaces and lost connection to each other, to their somatic experience and the practice of interaction and improvisation.

“By re-introducing my earlier interactive installations, visitors are encouraged to come out of their shells and rediscover their joy and curiosity,” he said. “And through presenting my intricate collages, soft sculptures and photographic weavings, I want to share my vulnerability and creativity by offering a visual, communal meeting place for others to explore theirs.”

Smith’s 2021 work, “Being,” contains photo-based archival dye print on velvet. In the above left image, Smith’s 2017-23 piece, “The Space Between,” is made of recycled artist-made billboards, foam, staples and nylon string.

Besides the ideas of play, the exhibition offers a meeting place between disciplines such as textile art, psychology, biology and gender studies. Objects on display make space for visitors to explore not only the art but themselves, their actions and intentions.

“The process of my work is central to its meaning,” Smith said. “I begin by having emotionally resonant images from digital collective memory woven into a fabric, which I then use to create work composed of beings and phenomena from imagined other worlds.”

Visitors can physically interact with certain pieces: for example, sliding colorful translucent textile collages along taut wires to alter the architecture, light and aesthetic tone of the space.

“By using these objects to create ephemeral environments, I invite the viewer to build a dialogue around fictional habitats as a way to re-imagine our relation to identity, gender, biology, ecology, psychological health, problem-solving, memory and the joy of improvisation and play,” Smith said.

Smith’s process of re-interpreting narratives and offering what’s possible aims to invite viewers into this layered and unique process, potentially sparking them to consider their own creative practices, whether they be art or in any other discipline.

Accompanying “(re)Play” in the adjacent Hallway Gallery is a display of works from Smith’s earlier exhibitions, “Forms of Potential.”

Smith's 2021 piece, “Codemap,” features embroidery, collage and beads on computer-woven tapestry.

The Dowd Gallery website and social media contain detailed information about additional programs to the opening reception and contain online link invitations to “(re)Play” virtual events. Visit the Facebook, Instagram and the Dowd Gallery website. Live events are in the gallery unless noted otherwise.

“(re)Play events will include:

  • First Friday: Friday, Feb. 3. A guided tour of the exhibition has been organized by Cortland Arts Connect to take place from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. The event will be both live and virtual.
  • Virtual artists’ talk: Audiences can ask questions about the artist’s creative practice and inspiration for “(re)Play” during a virtual event on Webex at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 31.
  • Documentary screening: “Threaded,” a compilation of shorts, will be presented at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 7.
  • Gallery Talk: Erin Morris, a SUNY Cortland associate professor in sport management, will explore the intersections of fine art and sport through the lens of gender inequality, in “Between Sport and Art: Gender Biases at Play,” at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 8. Morris will examine how socially assigned gender roles are reinforced within sports and art and how we can possibly break down some of those walls.
  • Gallery walkthrough: Smith will give a guided tour from 2 to 2:45 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 13.
  • Artist’s Workshop: Smith will offer a “Communal Weaving” session from 3 to 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 15, in the Dowd Center Fiber Studio, Room 101. Participants may bring an item of clothing or leftover fabric to be cut into strips and woven into the communal sculpture framework built by Smith. The work will utilize fibers, textiles, collage, mixed media, sculpture and improvisational weaving, resulting in an interactive part of the “(re)Play” exhibition where participants are co-creators.
  • Virtual Gallery Talk: Katarzyna Zimna, associate professor of art at the Lodz University of Technology, Poland, will give a virtual discussion in Teams on “Artist, the Player” at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 21. This talk explores the popular notion of play in the art world, its theoretical context, as well as its particular manifestations that can be traced in the history of art.
  • Documentary Screening: The 2019 film directed by Halina Dyrschka, “Beyond the Visible: Hilma af Klint,” will be screened at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 23.

Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday with extended hours until 7 p.m. on Thursdays, and by appointment. Visit the Dowd Gallery website for details about exhibiting artists, other programs, safety protocols and online booking. For more information or to inquire about an appointment, tour or additional images, contact Gallery Director Jaroslava Prihodova at 607-753-4216.

“(re)Play” is supported by the Art and Art History Department, Art Exhibition Association and a Campus Artist and Lecture Series grant.

Spring ‘Wellness’ series begins Jan. 25

Wellness story.jpg 01/24/2023

SUNY Cortland is hosting the Spring 2023 “Wellness Wednesday Series” featuring speakers, demonstrations, podcasts and other programs intended to encourage campus members to learn more about health and wellness.

Programs continue through the spring semester with topics including yoga, men and relationships, healthy practices and activities, managing stress and social and mental health.

Sponsored by the Health Promotion Office, the series will take place on Wednesdays. The events are free and open to the public.

On Jan. 25, “Intro to Yoga” will be held from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. in the Student Life Center Mind Body Room. Andrea Giuliano will lead this hatha yoga class that is good for beginners and advanced yoga practitioners. This class combines physical postures, breathwork and mindfulness to create a complete system of exercise for the mind, body and soul. Comfortable clothing is recommended and in-person attendance is first come, first served to the first 40 participants who show up for class. In-person class will have yoga mats provided.

SUNY Cortland will be “Celebrating 10 Years of Tobacco and Nicotine Free” on Feb. 1. A reception and ceremony will begin at 2:30 p.m. in Corey Union Exhibition Lounge, presented by the Tobacco and Nicotine Advisory Committee and sponsored by The President’s Office. An RSVP is requested.

On Feb. 8, a podcast titled “Men and Relationships” will be launched on Soundcloud. The podcast features three male students who share their thoughts about relationships.

Michael Turner, director of The Writing Center, and Christina Knopf, professor of communications and media studies, will lead a discussion on Feb. 15 titled “Techniques to Cope with Public Speaking Anxiety” from 5 to 5:30 p.m. in Corey Union Exhibition Lounge. Public speaking regularly tops the lists of people's most common fears - but it’s also a skill valued by employers. If negative thoughts, troubled emotions, or unpleasant physical sensations make public speaking difficult for you, this session will help you identify and understand the cause and form of your apprehension and give you tools to help you manage it.

On Feb. 22, “Perfectly Imperfect: Eating, Exercise and Body Image” will be presented by national speaker Jenni Schaefer. From 7 to 8 p.m. in Corey Union Exhibition Lounge, Schaefer will discuss finding balance with eating and exercise as well as learning how to love your body. She will talk about transforming the perfectionism that keeps many people stuck in unhealthy relationships with food and their bodies. Discover, like Schafer did when she overcame an eating disorder, that ending calorie counting and body loathing will open your life up to so much more — to truly living.

Hazing is the topic on March 1. “Not Us, Not This Time: A New Approach to Hazing Prevention” will be held from 7:30 to 8:30 in Corey Union Function Room. Presented by Sara Lowery from CampuSpeak, attendees will learn how to create bonds without the use of hazing practices, think of innovative ways to create a sense of belonging, and create an experience(s) where group members are strengthened and empowered.

On March 8, Health Promotion and Prevention Education will be in the Student Life Center lobby from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., giving away free items and reviewing tips on how to have a “Safe Spring Break.”

“Eat Right, Bite by Bite” is the topic for March 22, with information tables in the Student Life Center lobby between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Carolyn Allen, CAS dietitian, and Kayla Sweeney ’22, graduate assistant in the Health Promotion Office, will be on hand to share strategies on how small changes to diet can have a cumulative effect on health over time.

On March 29, learn why exercise isn’t just important for your physical wellness but your mental wellness and more. Sweeney will be on hand to discuss “Exercise Your Mind and Body” from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Student Life Center lobby.

On April 5, the It’s On Us Action Team will present “Behind the Post” from 5 to 5:30 p.m. in the Corey Union Exhibition Lounge. Social media can skew our view of the relationships around us and in some cases, influence our decisions to stay in unhealthy ones. A short video from the One Love Foundation and a discussion will help explain the signs of an unhealthy relationship and the role social media can play.

The Counseling Center staff will be on hand to present “Benefits of Gratitude” from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on April 12 in the Student Life Center lobby. Gratitude is the expression of appreciation and recognition for what you have and there are benefits to being grateful.

Play some “Cannabis Trivia” with Marissa Whitaker, prevention educator, on April 19 from 4:30 to 5 p.m. in Corey Union Exhibition Lounge. Prizes will be awarded and it’s a great chance to test your knowledge and maybe learn something new.

Those needing special accommodations to fully participate can contact

Women’s ice hockey hosts Make-A-Wish fundraiser through Jan. 26

Women hockey fundraiser.jpg 01/24/2023

The SUNY Cortland women's ice hockey team held its third annual Make-A-Wish® charity game on Saturday, Jan. 21, when the Red Dragons hosted Hamilton College at 2 p.m. in a non-league game. The event supported Make-A-Wish® Central New York.
Fans can continue to show the community their support for the charity in a number of ways, including:
• Bidding on limited edition Make-A-Wish®/Red Dragon charity game-worn jerseys, with all proceeds going directly to the Make-A-Wish® Central New York Chapter  (Jersey Auction Web Page). The auction will run from Jan. 17 through 5 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 26.
• Becoming a donor - When you donate to Make-A-Wish® you're giving children renewed strength to fight their illnesses, bringing families closer together and uniting entire communities. You can change lives!  (Donate Here)
The Red Dragons hope to reach their goal of raising $2,000 this season. Thanks to passionate supporters, Make-A-Wish® shines a light of hope for children fighting critical illnesses when they need it most. Fundraisers like this one allow for life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses during their darkest days. Individual donors, corporate sponsors, fundraising advocates and volunteers help to transforms lives, one wish at a time.
Questions about the auction can be directed to Cortland assistant coach by email to

Jersey Auction Web Page

To make a donation to support this cause, visit this website.

Cortland Auxiliary Services grant applications due Feb. 17

SUNY Cortland Auxiliary Services (CAS) is now accepting Program Grant applications for the 2023-24 academic year.

Applications are submitted online and must be sent by midnight on Friday, Feb. 17. Applicants are asked to read the grant guidelines carefully before submitting an application.

Each year the CAS Board of Directors allocates funds to support grants for a wide range of purposes and projects that enhance the life of the SUNY Cortland community.

Although CAS is willing to consider a wide range of ideas, it seeks to avoid duplicating other funding sources or funding projects more properly supported by state funds. Therefore, applicants should first seek funding from primary funding sources.

CAS grant funds may not be used for salaries, honoraria, travel normally funded by the university’s budget, or scholarships for SUNY Cortland faculty, staff or students. Funds may not be used to purchase computers, related hardware or software. All purchases will be processed in accordance with CAS’s financial and related GAAP policies. In general, Program Grant funds may not be used exclusively for food for SUNY Cortland students, faculty or staff. Funding for food may be considered if the food is deemed integral to the success of the program or event. All food shall be provided by CAS. Other grant guidelines are described in the application package and online.

For more information or assistance, email Judy Standish or call her at 607-753-4325.

CALS lecture grant applications due Jan. 31

Campus Artist and Lecture Series (CALS) Lecture Grant Applications are now available for the 2022-23 academic year.

Applications are available online and are eligible for a maximum of $350 and are open to any club, program or department.

These lecture grants will not cover performances of any kind.

Applications must be received by Tuesday, Jan. 31 to be considered for February, March, April and/or May 2023 lecture programs.

Applications received after Jan. 31 may not be eligible for any spring semester funds remaining.

For more information and to download this application, visit the CALS website, email Sandra Wohlleber or call 607-753-5769.

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Faculty/Staff Activities

Jacqueline Augustine and Kevin Dames

Jacqueline Augustine and Kevin Dames, Kinesiology Department, recently co-authored the manuscript “Efficacy of an Audio-Based Biofeedback Intervention to Modify Running Gait in Female Runners” which was published in November in the Journal of Sports Rehabilitation. 

Tyler Bradway

Tyler Bradway, English Department, presented two papers in January at the Modern Language Association conference held in San Francisco, Calif. Bradway gave a paper on his experience of publishing research in PMLA, the flagship journal in literary studies, and he gave a second paper on queer characters in contemporary LGBTQ literature for a panel focused on queer and trans theories of narrative. 

Lauren deLaubell, Dan Harms, Jenifer Sigafoes Phelan and Hilary Wong

Lauren deLaubell, Dan Harms, Jenifer Sigafoes Phelan and Hilary Wong, Memorial Library, recently had their book chapter titled “Librarians Sitting Down with Students: Varied Approaches to Co-Teaching Reading Skills for Developmental Writers” published in the ACRL book Teaching Critical Reading Skills: Strategies for Academic Librarians.

Craig Foster

Craig Foster, Psychology Department, had his article about his Psychology of Pseudoscience class published Jan. 24 in The Conversation. Titled “Lots of people believe in Bigfoot and other pseudoscience claims – this course examines why,” it ran as part of the publication’s Uncommon Courses section. SUNY Cortland published “Psychology class considers pseudoscience” in the Dec. 7 issue of The Bulletin.

Thomas Hischak

Thomas Hischak, professor of theatre emeritus, had two of his books released in January. The Abbott Touch: Pal Joey, Damn Yankees, and the Theatre of George Abbott have been published by Methuan Drama (London). The fourth edition of the textbook Theatre as Human Action: An Introduction to Theatre Arts has been released by Rowman & Littlefield. The new edition was co-authored by Mark A. Robinson.

Tracy Hudson

Tracy Hudson, Physical Education Department, and the students in her Edu 470 class took part in a panel discussion at the 2022 International Alliance of Invitational Education World Conference via Zoom with university students from Hong Kong. The session title was “Creating a Culture of Care by Taking an I-CORT Stance: A Promising Theory of Practice for New Teachers Entering the Field.”

Christina Knopf

Christina Knopf, Communication and Media Studies Department, made several presentations in November. She was a guest of The Ohio State University’s Mershon Center for National Security and Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum for the Comics, Security, and the American Mission conference on Nov. 4, where she presented research called “Veteran-Created War Comics and the Workaday War.” On Nov. 10, she was an invited participant in an international panel hosted by “Military at Microsoft” about humor in the military, part of Microsoft’s National Veterans Awareness Week events. On Nov. 19, she presented in two panel discussions at the annual National Communication Association conference, held in New Orleans, La.

Rhiannon Maton

Rhiannon Maton, Foundations and Social Advocacy Department, had her article, co-authored with four undergraduate and graduate students, published in the Journal of Children’s Literature. The students include Breeana Dexter M ’19, Nicolette McKeon ’21, Emily Urias-Velasquez ’22 and Breanna Washington ’19, M ’21. The article, “Far Apart, Close in Heart: Exploring Representations of Familial Incarceration in Children’s Picturebooks,” examines how children’s picture books depict breaking the law, communication with loved ones incarcerated, racial identities and the socioemotional support systems available to children. 

Mechthild Nagel

Mechthild Nagel, Philosophy and Africana studies departments, had her book titled Ludic Ubuntu Ethics: Decolonizing Justice published with Routledge’s series in Justice Studies in Penal Abolition and Transformative Justice.

Garrett Otto and Kevin Dames

Garrett Otto, Mathematics Department, and Kevin Dames, Kinesiology Department, co-authored a paper with Sutton Richmond, University of Florida, that was recently published in Journal of Biomechanics. The study, “Characterization of trial duration in traditional and emerging postural control measures,” establishes minimum trial durations necessary to acquire reliable force platform-derived outcomes. Recommendations from this project can improve consistency in collecting balance data for future studies and enhance confidence in clinical assessments of sensorimotor function.

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In Memoriam

Harry E. Bellardini Jr. ’56, M ’64, Alumni Board emeritus, Alumni House trustee, outstanding volunteer and College Community Appreciation Award recipient died on Jan. 20, 2023.

Anna Boserup Rush Zado ’57, M ’76, SUNY Cortland’s women’s soccer head coach from 1978-80 and physical education instructor at Cortland for nearly 30 years, passed away on Dec. 26, 2022, at age 87. 

Greg McCartney, who worked in maintenance for nearly 20 years and retired in 2022, died on Jan. 12, 2023.

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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