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  Issue Number 5 • Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2023  


Campus Champion

After Samantha Frisch transferred from the University of Arizona, SUNY Cortland gained a campus champion. The inclusive childhood education major embraced new opportunities, established friendships and pursued her talents as a student leader. In the two years Samantha has been a student at SUNY Cortland she has been Student Alumni Association president, Alumni Board of Directors student representative, a National Society of Leadership and Success member, Hillel treasurer, a member of Tau Sigma, the national honor society for transfer students, and a former Transfer Network Team member. In appreciation of Samantha and all our transfer students, the university offers them several events during National Transfer and Non-Traditional Student Week being celebrated through Friday, Oct. 27. 

Nominate a Campus Champion

Tuesday, Oct. 24

Non-traditional and Transfer Students Week: Pizza and Wings, Non-Traditional Student Lounge, second floor of Cornish Hall. Noon to 1:30 p.m.

Non-traditional and Transfer Students Week: Transfer Tuesday Advising Prep, Advisement and Transition Conference Room, Memorial Library, Room A-111, 3 to 4 p.m.

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

Wednesday, Oct. 25

Domestic Violence Awareness Month Purple Shirt Day: Students, faculty and staff will be encouraged to wear purple shirts and stickers that state “ask me why I am wearing purple.”

Sandwich Seminar: Study Abroad - Strategies for Wellbeing, presented by Kenneth Cohen, Recreation, Parks and Leisure Studies Department, Old Main Colloquium, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

Non-traditional and Transfer Students Week: Study Abroad 101 Transfer Edition, Old Main Colloquium, 3 to 5 p.m.

Non-traditional and Transfer Students Week: Transfer Fall Festival, Corey Union Exhibition Lounge, 4 to 6 p.m.

Wellness Wednesday: It’s Real: College Students and Mental Health, Corey Union Exhibition Lounge, 6 to 7 p.m.

Non-traditional and Transfer Students Week: Planetarium Show, Bowers Planetarium, 6:30 p.m. Advanced sign-up required.

Student Book Club Discussion: Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer, the campus Common Read, Corey Union, Room 209, 7 p.m. 

Take Back the Night March: Speakers followed by a march to stand against sexual violence. Corey Union steps, 7 p.m.

Thursday. Oct. 26

Non-traditional and Transfer Students Week: Take a Student for Donuts, Newmark Pavilion, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Red Cross Blood Drive: Call 1-800-RED-CROSS or visit to schedule an appointment, Corey Union Exhibition Lounge, noon to 5 p.m.

Sandwich Seminar: Sharing Gender Diversity Picturebooks, Old Main Colloquium, noon to 1 p.m.

Non-Traditional Students Organization Meeting: Online via Webex, 6:30 p.m.

SUNY Cortland Pride: Sexpertise with Dr. Jena Curtis – Corey Union Voice Office, 7 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 27

Flu Clinic: Walk-ins are welcome, offering the flu vaccine, Corey Union Exhibition Lounge, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Register online

SUNY Cortland Hockey #stopsuicide Charity Game: Alumni Arena, Resource Fair at 6 p.m., puck drop at 7 p.m.

Cortland Nites: Haunted House trip, Syracuse, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 28

Level Up! Cortland BIPOC Male Career Design Conference: Corey Union Exhibition Lounge, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

SUNY Cortland Pride: Homecoming Dance, dinner provided, RSVP on Cortland Connect, open to faculty, staff, students, alumni. Corey Union Function Room, 5 to 8 p.m.

Sunday, Oct. 29

SUNY Cortland Pride Drag Brunch, sponsored by Student Activities Board, Corey Union Function Room, 11 a.m.

Monday, Oct. 30

Teachers workshop on mandated reporting: The Ethics of Mandated Reporting Workshop, geared for preservice teachers, online at 7 p.m.

Tuesday, Oct. 31

Graduate School Fair: Corey Union Function Room, 1 to 4 p.m.

Wednesday, Nov. 1

Sandwich Seminar: Discussing NSSE and FSSE Results, presented by Stuart Daman and Dilmini Alahakoon, Institutional Research and Analysis, Old Main Colloquium, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

Wellness Wednesday: Relationship Jenga, to understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships, Neubig Hall lobby, 1 to 3 p.m.

Get Resume Ready: Online, register on Handshake, 5 to 6 p.m.

Thursday, Nov. 2

Sandwich Seminar: ChatGPT in EFL Writing, presented by Colum Yip, Modern Languages Department, Old Main Colloquium, noon to 1 p.m.

Theatre Performance: Love, Billy, a co-production between the Performing Arts Department and Cortland Repertory Theatre, Dowd Fine Arts Center Lab Theatre, 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, Nov. 2 and Friday, Nov. 3

73rd Cortland Recreation Conference: Conference registration is open. Register for details. Read more

Friday, Nov. 3

Theatre Performance: Love, Billy, a co-production between the Performing Arts Department and Cortland Repertory Theatre, Dowd Fine Arts Center Lab Theatre, 7:30 p.m.

Cortland Nites: $3 Movie Night: Crown City Cinema, 8:30 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 4

13th Annual Student Conference on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Social Justice: Registration required, read more.

Theatre Performance: Love, Billy, a co-production between the Performing Arts Department and Cortland Repertory Theatre, Dowd Fine Arts Center Lab Theatre, two performances, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Campus Artist and Lecture Series: Konrad Paszkudki Trio, Old Main Brown Auditorium, 7 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 5

Education Club Teacher's Book Drive: Teachers are invited to come and get free books to add to their classroom libraries and can donate books from their classroom library that they no longer use or need, Corey Union Exhibition Lounge, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

Theatre Performance: Love, Billy, a co-production between the Performing Arts Department and Cortland Repertory Theatre, Dowd Fine Arts Center Lab Theatre, 2 p.m.

Monday, Nov. 6

Black Immigrant Literacies: A Dinner Time Dialogue with Dr. Patriann Smith, online via Zoom, 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Nov. 7

Election Day

Distinguished Voices in Literature: Raul Palma, author of the short story collection In This World of Ultraviolet Light and the novel A Haunting in Hialeah Gardens, Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge, 3 p.m.

Mexican celebration brings a lighter side to the Other Side


The terrifying ghosts, zombies, vampires and other once-dead creatures of Halloween dominate American culture each year on Oct. 31.  

But SUNY Cortland’s Modern Languages Department wants you to know there’s another — happier — way to remember the dearly departed.  

Next week, anyone on campus can embrace a lighter side to the Other Side as part of the department’s Day of the Dead celebration. 

Lecturer Patricia Martinez de la Vega Mansilla restarted a tradition at SUNY Cortland last year of creating traditional altars, or ofrendas, for the holiday after it had been interrupted by the COVID pandemic.  

One of the ofrendas available for viewing in the Modern Languages Department at Old Main. Students, staff and faculty can see them throughout the week of Oct. 29

 “We want the students to get a better understanding of the celebration that we have and realize that, while of course death is something that makes us sad, it’s also a celebration of the cycle of life and an opportunity to honor our departed,” she said. “It’s a way of never forgetting them.” 

The Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, is an annual tradition on Nov. 1 and 2 that began in Mexico and acts as a joyful family reunion for the living and deceased alike. Parades and parties give a chance to overcome the grief of death by letting participants have some laughter about the hereafter and revel in the inevitable. 

As part of the holiday, families decorate cemeteries and build ofrendas at home that help spirits find their way. These ofrendas traditionally include photos, candles, flowers, food and decorations. Marigolds' orange and yellow petals represent the sun and light, while Sugar skulls add a candy kicker to the festivities.  

After last year’s successful restart, Martinez de la Vega Mansilla and Dana Smith, the Modern Languages Department's administrative assistant, decided to expand the project to three ofrendas instead of one. They all include traditional Dia de los Muertos symbols of water, fire, earth and wind. Portions of them will, for the second time, also have images of extinct animal species and their habitats to raise ecological awareness.  

The Day of the Dead is a holiday that brings joy to an often grief-stricken experience.

Students, staff and faculty are all invited to view them throughout the week of Oct. 29. The three altars can be found in Old Main in the Modern Languages Department’s main office, Room 227 and Room 225. 

Martinez de la Vega Mansilla said that the ofrendas help students with their Spanish language proficiency, and that the project also adds to their cultural education and understanding. 

“Languages are not just the reading, writing, speaking and listening abilities,” she said. “It’s understanding the culture behind every language. So as part of our cultural understanding of Spanish, and specifically Mexico, we celebrate the Day of the Dead.” 

The enthusiasm from campus — both for the ofrendas and the chance to join in Dia de los Muertos — has been wonderful to see, Martinez de la Vega Mansilla said. 

“I have an international student who is Mexican, and she was thrilled to see it. We also invite people to bring pictures of their loved ones. I placed my parents’ picture with Don Quixote de la Mancha, the book that was my dad’s favorite, and that my mom and I have a history with, too. And other faculty members and students are putting pictures to honor their relatives.” 

Recreation conference focuses on inclusion


Ambika Rajyagor, a co-founder of Disabled & Outdoors, an independent organization run by Black, Indigenous and other people of color for the diverse community of people with disabilities, will deliver the prestigious Metcalf Endowment Lecture at the 73rd annual SUNY Cortland Recreation Conference.

The conference, set for Thursday, Nov. 2, and Friday, Nov. 3, on campus, is the nation’s oldest continuous collegiate-sponsored recreation education conference.

Rajyagor, a writer, activist and digital creator who works for disabled rights and outdoor conservation, will discuss “Advocating diversity, equity and inclusion in the outdoors: creating space for every body,” from 1:20 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 3, in Corey Union Function Room. The keynote lecture is free and open to the public.

Conference registration is open. The full conference registration costs $60 for students and $125 for professionals; one day registration is $40 for students and $80 for professionals; and to attend only the internship fair costs $25.

For additional information and to register online for the conference, visit or call 607-753-4972 or email

“This year, we do not have a conference theme, but we have a goal, ‘to educate, inspire and celebrate inclusion and diversity among recreation professionals, students and organizations,’ said conference chair and event organizer Alexis Stiles of McGraw, N.Y., a senior majoring in recreation management with a minor in outdoor education and interpretation.

“The conference is an amazing opportunity to build community and recognize all the important elements within the field of recreation,” Stiles said.   

The two-day event will feature numerous presentations in the field of recreation, parks and leisure studies. Check the conference website for updates on the sessions and schedule.

A student in the Recreation, Parks and Leisure Studies Department, left, spars playfully with a client of the J.M. Murray Center. In the top image, students and center members form a dance line.

The Recreation Conference annually hosts 300 to 400 students and professionals in the fields of recreation, parks, and leisure studies from all over New York state, the greater New England area and beyond.

Presented by the university’s Recreation, Parks and Leisure Studies Department and students in the Special Events Planning class led by Jason Page ’08, M ’12, assistant professor of recreation, parks and leisure studies, the conference receives additional support for the Metcalf Keynote Address from the Metcalf Endowment Fund.

This year’s alumni presenters will include SUNY Cortland Alumni Volunteer Award recipient John Silsby ’69, M.S.Ed. ’70, Jack Fass ’77, Erin Norris ’98, Esq., Patrick Mercer M ’03, Jessica Kreuger Middleton ’06, Jacqueline Dyke M ’08, Jason Page ’08, M ’12, assistant professor of recreation, parks and leisure studies, Caralie Fennessey ’15, Esther VanGorder M ’15, Nicholas DeLissio ’20, Rebecca Gonzalez ’21,  Gwynivere McGee ’21 and Catherine Troiano ’21. 

Ambika Rajyagor

Inspired by a younger sister Devika, who is disabled and uses a wheelchair, and by her own experiences with autoimmune disorder and atypical brain function, southern California resident Rajyagor has dedicated her life to raising awareness, fostering inclusivity and empowering others to challenge norms for equality.

Ambika Rajyagor

In 2018, Rajyagor launched the Disabled & Outdoors Instagram site @DisablednOutdoors, which led her to co-found a small, independent, BIPOC-run account amplifying disabled voices, and providing resources about accessible spots for the disabled community around the country.

“Disabled & Outdoors is about creating outdoor access for all,” she said. “Through this platform, our goal is to showcase the incredible members of our community and fight for more inclusivity in both the outdoor community and industry.”

Three years ago, at age 24 she partnered with AllTrails, a health and fitness app that provides detailed, hand-curated trail maps and reviews and crowdsourced photos of millions of hikers, backpackers, mountain bikers and trail runners. Her work as a co-founder of Disabled & Outdoors, celebrating accessibility in the outdoors and promoting disabled representation, was featured in September 2020 in the ForbesWomen newsletter. Outside of her academic writing, since 2017 she has released her writing online through digital platforms including her personal blog.

Rajyagor also works as a photographer, social media consultant and a model for lifestyle, fitness and outdoor apparel. Since 2020, Rajyagor has also offered consulting services as a brand marketing manager through her Blue Sky Color of Imagination.

Her three-year-old platform, Ganges Gal®, has grown to include self-care and wellness tips, pop culture guides, outdoor and adventure blogs and her own personal storytelling. Through that platform, she also operates the online community service platform, “Do Good Things Club,” which has raised more than $3,000 for charities including St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Cancer Research at City of Hope, Adopt-a-Family and various special needs classroom events.

Capture the Moment


Goalkeeper Jordan Ott defends the Cortland net with a leaping effort in a 1-1 tie versus Brockport on Oct. 14. The nationally ranked Red Dragons, who clinched the top seed in the upcoming State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) playoffs, earned the draw despite being down a player over the final 72 minutes, 14 seconds. Cortland hosts a conference semifinal game on Wednesday, Nov. 1. The Red Dragons also have secured the number-one seeds for the SUNYAC tournaments in field hockey and women’s soccer and the volleyball team currently holds first place with an unbeaten conference record. Darl Zehr Photography

In Other News

Afghanistan pullout survivors to speak

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Sameer and K. Harris — not their real names — lived in Afghanistan before and after the departure of the U.S. forces in 2021.

On Wednesday, Nov. 1, at SUNY Cortland, the couple will tell their story of life before and after the extremist politics of the Taliban once again took hold of the country. The Harrises, whose real names are being withheld to protect them and their family against possible retribution, also will describe their difficult journey from the country of their birth to their new home in New York state.

“The Power of Extremism in Afghanistan,” which begins at 4:30 p.m. in Moffett Center, Room 115, continues the 2023-24 Rozanne M. Brooks Lecture Series on the theme of “The Culture of Power.”

A reception to welcome the speakers will precede the talk at 4 p.m. in the adjacent Brooks Museum.

Seating will be limited, so attendees are advised to arrive early. The Brooks Lectures are free and open to the public.

The interdisciplinary “Culture of Power” remaining talks will touch on topics ranging how the drive for supremacy shapes religious movements, impacts the dynamics of filmmaking and pushes people to excel in physical feats.

Next spring, the series will continue with the following Wednesday presentations:

Empowerment Through Sport and Fitness — Empowerment can be defined as the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights. Amanda Tepfer, an assistant professor in SUNY Cortland’s Physical Education Department, will discuss physical activity through the lens of inclusive physical education and sport. According to her, physical activity can engage participants to not only respond to physical challenges but also engage in problem-solving behaviors that contribute to success in everyday life situations. Feb. 21, 2024.

Tibetan Buddhism, China and the Politics of Tension — Allen Carlson, an associate professor in Cornell University’s Government Department who has focused his scholarship on international relations, will discuss Tibet and its relationship with China, particularly regarding the tradition of reincarnation in Tibetan Buddhism and the politics around the selection process of lamas and rinpoches. Carlson will draw special attention to the emerging divide between the Tibetans and Beijing over the lineage of the Dalai Lama. Carlson currently serves as director of Cornell’s China and Asia Pacific Studies program and advisor of its East Asia Program. March 20, 2024.

Framing Truth: Exploring Power Dynamics in Documentary Filmmaking — Samuel Avery, an associate professor in SUNY Cortland’s Communication and Media Studies Department and coordinator of Cortland’s annual Blackbird Film Festival, will address the behind-the-scenes power struggles that occur during the creation of documentary films and nonfiction docu-series. The genre often attempts to present reality in its unfiltered form, allowing viewers a transparent look into the authentic truth of a subject’s life. However, beneath the surface of candid storytelling lies a complex web of power dynamics that significantly influence the production, presentation and interpretation of these narratives. The power imbalance between the individual being documented and the one directing the camera can affect the level of trust, consent and agency given to the subject. Many other complex, ethical issues may affect the delicate balance between storytelling and exploitation. April 10, 2024.

Brooks Lecture attendees will be treated to excellent presentations on important topics that affect how we live our lives and how we understand the world around us, according to series organizer and Brooks Museum director Sharon Steadman, a SUNY distinguished professor and chair of SUNY Cortland’s Sociology/Anthropology Department.

The Brooks Series honors the late Distinguished Teaching Professor of sociology and anthropology emerita at SUNY Cortland, Rozanne M. Brooks, whose donated special collection of ethnographic objects to the Sociology/Anthropology Department established the Brooks Museum in 2001.

The 2023-24 Brooks Lecture Series is co-sponsored by the Cortland College Foundation and Cortland Auxiliary. For more information, contact Steadman at 607-753-2308.

Image by Jorono from Pixabay

Ithaca pastor to keynote diversity conference

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Rev. Terrance A. King, a former special education teacher and current pastor and doctoral student focused on the role of Black male educators and inclusive education, will deliver the keynote speech during the 2023 SUNY Cortland 13th annual Student Diversity Conference on Saturday, Nov. 4, in Corey Union.

Lea Webb, a member of the New York State Senate for the 52nd district, will give welcoming remarks to open the conference, which is expected to attract more than 200 attendees from 10 educational institutions across the state. The Student Diversity Conference will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Corey Union.

The annual student-led event allows participants to examine problems and concepts across a wide range of disciplines. Diversity-related topics — explored through the prism of the presenter — may include race/ethnicity, class, gender, culture, sexuality or orientation, disabilities/abilities, religion or age.

The day’s activities seek to promote open-mindedness, celebrate diversity and promote awareness of divergent views on the university campus and within its communities. In addition to King’s speech, there will be three educational sessions with multiple offerings and cultural performances.

Jade Entien, a musical theatre major from Bronx, N.Y., and the current vice president of SUNY Cortland’s PRIDE club, will give the annual student speech at 9:50 a.m. in the Corey Union Function Room. Entien values equal opportunities for all people regardless of their identities and for people to be able to live their lives without fear of death because of who they are.

Jade Entien

Anyone can attend the conference. There is no registration cost for the SUNY Cortland community. The registration cost for non-SUNY Cortland students is $25 and for non-SUNY Cortland faculty/staff, alumni and community members is $30. 

The deadline to register to attend the conference is Tuesday, Oct. 24.

Those who wish to attend should visit the campus community registration website, a second site for groups or individuals who aren’t affiliated with SUNY Cortland, or the virtual registration site, which will only feature the welcome address and keynote speech.

For more information, contact

Terrance A. King

King, 37, the pastor of Ithaca’s historic St. James A.M.E. Zion Church, will present “We Shall Overcome: White Privilege and Spirit Murder in Higher Education,” at 1:30 p.m. in Corey Union Function Room.

Currently a doctoral student at Syracuse University who also works as an educational consultant, King was born in South Bronx and raised in Mount Vernon, N.Y. He  is the oldest of three brothers and the first person in his family to graduate from college.

In 2003, he began his collegiate career at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, receiving a bachelor’s degree in sociology with a criminal justice minor in 2008. In 2013, King moved back to Bronx, N.Y., to earn a master’s degree in education with dual certification in general and special education from Metropolitan College of New York. While in Bronx, he worked as a special education teacher and continued his service and participation in Church at Caldwell A.M.E. Zion Church. He gave his trial sermon in 2013.

In July 2020, King received his first pastoral appointment with the historic St. James A.M.E. Zion Church congregation in Ithaca, N.Y., and a month later began his doctoral studies in special education on a Syracuse University scholarship. King worked as a special education instructor at Clary Middle School in Syracuse.

Book Club to unwind 'Braiding Sweetgrass'

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SUNY Cortland’s Student Book Club will have something substantial to digest on Wednesday, Oct. 25, when they meet to discuss the university’s year-long “common read” title, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants.

Students from the SUNY Cortland chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the international honor society for students of English, will begin analyzing the first section of the 2013 nonfiction work by Robin Wall Kimmerer at 7 p.m. in Corey Union, Room 209.


Kimmerer is an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, a SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor of Environmental Biology at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, N.Y., and a MacArthur Fellow.

The Oct. 25 event is the first in a monthly series by the Student Book Club, where each session will focus on a different subset of chapters in the book. An electronic copy of Braiding Sweetgrass is available for free through the university’s Memorial Library. Login to MyRedDragon and select the Library tab to search the title.

Braiding Sweetgrass is a collection of thought-provoking essays that invites readers to explore their relationships with the environment on both personal and systemic levels.

“Kimmerer brings together Indigenous wisdom and practices in Western botany to emphasize and embrace our reciprocity with the natural world,” said Abigail Droge, a CICC organizer an assistant professor of British literature and culture in the English Department.

“The book takes a new approach to food, showing us that the plants and animals that feed us are not just a source of bodily nourishment, but also our family and our teachers,” Droge said. “Part of the joy of reading  Braiding Sweetgrass  in Cortland is that many of the interwoven narratives that make up the book take place locally in our Central New York landscape.”

The talk continues the university’s annual, yearlong academic series of lectures, discussions, film screenings and art exhibitions framed this year on the theme of “Food.” Organized by the university’s Cultural and Intellectual Climate Committee (CICC), an all-campus group of faculty and staff appointed by the provost, events in the series are free and open to the public.

As part of the “Food” series, the CICC also will partner with local organizations such as the Cortland Food Project to explore the many facets of food on the campus and in the community. 

To submit an event, volunteer to support this year’s activities and programming, or for more information, visit the “Food” website at or contact organizer Benjamin Wilson, associate professor and chair of the Economics Department, at 607-753-2436.

Dowd Gallery to exhibit international collage works

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From celebrity portraits made from recycled trash to ransom notes crafted with cut-out magazine letters, the art of collage — assembling different individual items to create a new whole with its own unique identity — has long been a part of modern culture.

Artists Maximo Tuja, who also goes by the name Max-o-matic, and Dominick Lombardi, have curated a visual exploration of more than 70 contemporary pieces of this increasingly present art form that will be exhibited in SUNY Cortland’s Dowd Gallery starting on Monday, Oct. 30.

Titled “Altered Logistics: Contemporary Collage and Appropriation Art,” the exhibition will be on view through Friday, Dec. 8, featuring multi-national artists from creative techniques including sculpture, mixed media and digital collage.

An opening reception and exhibition tour will be held in the gallery from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 2. Refreshments will be served. The event will host some of the local artists participating in the exhibition. An artist’s walkthrough will start at 5 p.m.

The exhibition is free and open to the public, as are the opening reception and all exhibition-related events.

Lombardi is a New York resident, artist, author and curator whose solo work comprised Dowd Gallery’s 2019 “High + Low: A Forty-five Year Retrospective” exhibition. For this latest project, he collaborated with Tuja, a Barcelona-based artist and image maker.  

“Altered Logistics” explores how the technique of collage has been used in visual art and how it has evolved to become common in the narrative reality of contemporary society.

American artist Jeanne Tremel's 2021 piece, “Surfer Girl,” is made of hand-sewn fabrics, beach-combing finds/landfill items, found objects, bead and sequin embellishments, and driftwood.

“As I understand it, collage is already much more than an artistic technique,” Tuja states in Lombardo’s recent essay “Art of Collage,” published at

“In our present society, collage has long been embraced as a means of engaging with reality,” Tuja continues. “From memes and social media feeds to music production, fashion and even our own identities — which often comprise a blend of diverse elements drawn from various contexts — the collage mindset subtly permeates our lives.”

Visit the Dowd Gallery website and social media for detailed information about yet-to-be-scheduled programs and events linked to “Altered Logistics.” They will include:

  • Panel discussion. The event will focus on “Contemporary Collage.”
  • Online discussion. Participants will meet on Webex to share their thoughts on the way collage has evolved in creative method.
  • Contemporary collage workshop.

The gallery is in the Dowd Fine Arts Center on the corner of Prospect Terrace and Graham Avenue in Cortland. 

Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday with extended hours for programming until 7 p.m. on Thursdays. Visit the Dowd Gallery website for details about exhibiting artists, upcoming events or gallery availability. For more information, contact gallery assistant to the director Scott Oldfield ’06 at 607-753-4216.

“Altered Logistics” is supported by the Art and Art History Department.

TOP IMAGE: Canadian artist Kevin Mutch’s 2023 digital collage color print is titled “The Artist’s Brain Paints a Picture.”

Moviemaker returns to mentor students

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Cris Andrei ’78 has traveled the world in a four-decade career as a producer for film and television.  

Last week, Andrei brought that wealth of experience and knowledge back to his alma mater as a SUNY Cortland executive-in-residence.

"Returning to Cortland reminded me of the reason I came here as a student so many years ago — the immense generosity of the welcoming it offers, the openness and ease of dialogue, the aptness to listen and connect, the quality and dedication to teaching," Andrei said. "Such a wonderful and personal place to grow."

During his campus visit on Oct.19 and 20 he talked with students about some of what he’s learned from his time in the entertainment industry, presenting on topics including media literacy, film analysis and advertising. Out of the classroom, he met with student media groups in less formal talks. 

 “Production, in my opinion, starts with a script, a budget and the director,” Andrei said. “Then you have to create the building blocks for making the film, put in all its elements and then hopefully you can create a little bit of alchemy so that what you put back together is a bit better than the sum of all parts.” 

For Andrei, that magic ranges from international films such as “Victory,” starring Willem Dafoe and Sam Neill, to IMAX movies, documentaries and television shows. 

Producer Cris Andrei '78.

“Cris has a wealth of information to share with our students on topics ranging from the creation of branded entertainment for social media to living and working abroad,” said Paul van de Veur, chair of the Communication and Media Studies Department. “My hope is that his visit will inspire our students expand their horizons and explore all the possibilities that are available to them.”

Exploring possibilities isn’t new to Andrei. He graduated from SUNY Cortland as a physics major. 

He said it was the conversations and friendships he found with Cortland’s David Toor, professor emeritus of English, and the late Robert Hammond, professor emeritus of French cinema and literature, that shaped his later life. The chance to come back and pass on that work experience to a new generation of students was an opportunity he had often thought about.

“I think what I really look forward to is developing a connection with the students and being able to hear them and see them excited about what they're doing. … My main aim is to give them the feeling that they are part of the motion picture community, which is something that Bob Hammond did very well in his classes.” 

Feeling connected with something was important to Andrei, who arrived in the U.S. with his family from Romania in 1972. He said he found Cortland was the perfect place to develop.

“It was a very formative period. I was a young immigrant who had come to the United States less than two years before attending the college. And the most important thing about learning at Cortland was to make choices.”

The biggest of those choices: What to do with his life.

“I came from a family, and especially from my background in Romania, where unless you were born into a certain family, or you were politically well embedded into that world you would never get in. So I never considered it before,” Andrei said. “And then I had a conversation with Dave Toor and he asked a pivotal question, ‘What do you do when you don't have anything to do?’ And the answer was, I watch movies.” 

Pursuing his passion, Andrei moved to New York City after graduation. There, he worked at a job in scientific publishing to pay for production and editing classes at The New School of Social Research. He took those courses for no credit to save money. 

Then, with echoes of Hammond’s influence, Andrei moved to France in 1981. He contacted the country’s national film school, where he worked for free on student film projects. After returning to the U.S., he found work on independent films and then as a production assistant for TV commercials.

As he gained more traction in the industry, he became a founding member of Indonesian production company Katena Films. Andrei said it was a chance to get into a developing entertainment market shortly after the country lifted a 10-year ban on commercial television.

“We set up shop with local partners and we were there for seven years,” Andrei said. “Toward the end, when Asia was flying high in terms of the economy, we ended up providing production services for some major films.” 

Andrei would also co-found a sister company called Era FilmAsia, specializing in servicing large foreign-based projects. Through that company the production of the movie “Victory” came to Indonesia. 

He went on to be a producer in the U.S. and abroad for movies, TV shows, IMAX films and documentaries, eventually becoming executive producer at media company Alkemy X. Most recently, he’s been working freelance in post-production on a wide range of projects. 

“What struck me about Cris was his willingness to take on new experiences and challenges,” van de Veur said. “Leaving the U.S. to work in media or build a business abroad is something that few of our students have thought about. Likewise, Cris has shown a willingness to adapt to so many aspects of the industry, an essential ingredient for someone entering a field that is continually evolving.”

According to Andrei, his love of the industry and of telling a visual narrative keeps him motivated. 

 "I’m somebody who really loves working in teams, and making film is the ultimate team sport. I do like the fact that it takes a number of people to come together and bring the elements to create a film. Everybody is responsible for something. It's almost a little bit like a perfect society in which everybody has something to contribute.”

Charity game/jersey auction Oct. 27 supporting suicide prevention

Charity game hockey.jpeg 10/24/2023

The SUNY Cortland men's ice hockey team will be holding a #stopsuicide charity game and resource fair on Friday, Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. in support of the Central New York chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).

The Resource Fair will be held on Oct. 27 at 6 p.m. in the Park Center Hall of Champions area on the second floor (gallery area outside of the gymnasium entrance).

Cortland will host Lebanon Valley that evening at Alumni Arena, and fans can show the community that they're voices for suicide prevention in a number of ways, including:

* Bidding on limited edition AFSP/Red Dragon charity game-worn jerseys, with all proceeds going directly to the AFSP  (Jersey Auction Web Page). The auction runs from Oct. 23 through 4 p.m. on Nov. 2.
* Becoming a sponsor - there are multiple levels of support available for individuals and organizations to fund the event (Sponsorship Page)
* Participating and encouraging others to attend the Resource Fair. The theme is #StopSuicide, which is part of the AFSP's social media campaign to increase awareness of effective ways to reduce the likelihood of loss by suicide
* Providing raffle or door prize items for the game-day auction
* Making a cash donation
* Purchasing tickets and attending the game on October 27!!

Funds raised allow the AFSP to fund research, create educational programs, advocate for public policy, and support survivors of suicide loss. The Red Dragons have raised more than $30,000 for the AFSP in three years.

Any questions about the auction can be directed to Cortland head coach Joe Cardarelli at or 607-753-4990.

Jersey Auction Web Page

If you want to make a donation to support this cause, please visit this website.

SUNY Cortland plans week to celebrate non-trads and transfers

library_web.jpg 10/18/2023

Perseverance. Sacrifice. Life experience.

These are just some of the traits that non-traditional and transfer students bring to SUNY Cortland. The university will celebrate both groups Monday, Oct. 23, to Friday, Oct. 27, with special events and campus community member features.

Dual non-traditional transfer students highlighted below include:

  • Calvin “Clay” Barnett, an adolescence education: English major from Harlem, N.Y.
  • Emily Fedrizzi, a criminology major from Genoa, N.Y.
  • Melinda “Mindy” Gardner, a therapeutic recreation major from Cortland, N.Y.
  • Michelle LaMorte, a graphic design and digital media major from Dryden, N.Y.

Additional faculty and staff spotlights call out advice from SUNY Cortland employees who transferred during their own college experience. 

SUNY Cortland currently enrolls approximately 200 non-traditional students, a population that the university defines as undergraduate students who are 24 or older or, regardless of their age, have dependent children, work full-time, have military experience or have made a break in education at some point after high school.

“These students are so often role models for their fellow undergraduates as they balance additional responsibilities outside the classroom, like families and jobs,” said Marinda Souva, associate director for transition programs and the advisor for the university’s Non-Traditional Student Organization. “I always enjoy learning from their experiences and perspectives.”

This fall, about 480 transfer students started their SUNY Cortland journey, with more than 200 expected to join this spring.

“Transfer students are a priority at Cortland,” said Greg Diller ’07, coordinator of transition programs. “Making the decision to start over at a new school can be daunting. We strive to create a strong support system for these students and help guide them through their transition.”

The week will feature stories about successful non-traditional and transfer students, highlights on faculty and staff who experienced the transfer process, opportunities to recognize non-traditional and transfer students as well as workshops and other activities.

Schedule of events

  • Scholarship 101

    Monday, Oct. 23
    2 to 3 p.m.
    Old Main, Room B-17A

    Learn about the many scholarship opportunities available for non-traditional and transfer students and how to make your application stand out.
  • Pizza and Wings

    Tuesday, Oct. 24
    Noon to 1:30 p.m.
    Non-Traditional Student Lounge (second floor of Cornish Hall)

    Grab lunch, chat with other non-traditional students and learn about resources offered through Clear Path for Veterans. This event is sponsored by a grant from Cortland Auxiliary Services.

  • Transfer Tuesday Advising Prep

    Tuesday, Oct. 24
    3 to 4 p.m.
    Memorial Library, Room A-111 (Advisement and Transition Conference Room)

    Learn how to prepare for spring advising and registration.

  • Study Abroad 101: Transfer Edition

    Wednesday, Oct. 25
    3 to 5 p.m.
    Old Main Colloquium

    Learn more about study abroad opportunities that may appeal especially to transfer students.

  • Transfer Fall Festival

    Wednesday, Oct. 25
    4 to 6 p.m.
    Corey Union Exhibition Lounge

    Enjoy fall crafting fun for transfers and non-traditional students. This event is sponsored by Tau Sigma Honor Society, a national honor society specifically for transfer students.

  • Planetarium Show **

    Wednesday, Oct. 25
    6:30 p.m.
    Bowers Hall Planetarium

    Non-traditional students and their families can enjoy a break from studying and watch the stars.

  • Take a Transfer Student for Donuts

    Oct. 26
    11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
    Newmark Pavilion

    Donuts and cider will be available for transfer and non-traditional students who are recognized by SUNY Cortland faculty and staff members.

  • Non-Traditional Students Organization Meeting

    Thursday, Oct. 26
    6:30 p.m.

  • Door Decorating Contest Winners Announced

    Friday, Oct. 27

    Tau Sigma Honor Society will award prizes to offices across who decorate their door following this year’s theme for National Transfer Student Week, “Full Steam Ahead.”

** Sign-up required prior to event.

Faculty and staff transfer spotlights

Matthew Madden
Associate Professor, Physical Education Department


Transfer path: San Joaquin Delta Community College to California State University, Chico

Advice: “Get involved in some form of student activities beyond your coursework — student government, Greek life, academic clubs or club sports or intramurals.” 

Krista Natale ’11
Technology Support Specialist in The Help Center 


Transfer path: Tompkins Cortland Community College to SUNY Cortland 

Advice: “Don’t be afraid to ask questions, even if it is in class or just in general. It is the best way to advocate for yourself. By doing so, you will make connections along the way that will be lifelong resources even after college.”

Justin Neretich ’17
Assistant Director for Operations, Residence Life and Housing Office


Transfer path: SUNY Purchase to SUNY Cortland

Advice: “I separated from my first institution knowing it wasn’t the right fit for me and had a better understanding of what I was looking for in my college experience by the time I transferred. Go find what you were looking for all along but were hesitant to do!”

Non-traditional transfer student spotlights

Calvin “Clay” Barnett

Adolescence Education: English

Harlem, N.Y.


When he’s feeling stressed or anxious, Clay Barnett reminds himself that he’s already persevered to earn an associate degree. He’s committed to going even further.

“For a long time, I didn’t think I would amount to anything,” said Barnett, a non-traditional student who struggled to complete high school in New York City before he eventually enrolled at SUNY Sullivan in his late 20s. “Earning that degree gave me a sense of belonging.”

Now 31 years old, Barnett tries to motivate younger classmates and help them see that they belong at SUNY Cortland. He’s the director of diversity, equity and inclusion for the university’s Student Government Association as well as a resident assistant and a scholar in Cortland’s Urban Recruitment of Educators (C.U.R.E.) program. This February, he will lead activities for Abraham Lincoln DeMond 1889 Day, celebrating the university’s first Black graduate.

“Community is really important to me,” said Barnett, explaining that he has transformed since his high school days more than a decade ago.

He juggled jobs in the food service industry in New York City and Springfield, Mass., for several years, eventually working up to a manager’s role. But Barnett said he remembers feeling unsatisfied most days and wanting more for his life.

Multiple times, he fell just short on an entry test to SUNY Sullivan, a community college in Loch Sheldrake, N.Y., roughly two hours from Cortland. But after he eventually passed the exam, Barnett said a switch flipped and he committed to earning a college degree.

“I remember crying on the bus (to SUNY Sullivan),” he said. “I knew that my life was going to change forever.”

He succeeded at SUNY Sullivan and came to Cortland because of an Open House bus trip from New York City led by Khalia Banks ’13, a senior admissions advisor. Barnett found inspiration in Banks and her husband, Eric Banks ’13, M ’16, who he saw as an example of successful young alumni living and working near New York City.

In a similar way, Barnett aspires to teach after graduating and eventually become the dean of students at a high school who helps struggling students see their potential.

“I came to Cortland and I started to thrive,” he said. “I want to do that for other people.”

Emily Fedrizzi


Genoa, N.Y.


Emily Fedrizzi said she tends to look up to fellow non-traditional students in her classes because they’re often the ones setting a good example. A criminology major and 26-year-old veteran of the U.S. Air Force, Fedrizzi is proof herself. 

“I think that non-traditional students add fieldwork and life experiences,” she said. “They’re very wise.”

Fedrizzi’s own military service reflects her personal commitment to education and her identity as a non-traditional student. After graduating from Southern Cayuga High School in 2015, she enrolled at Cayuga Community College and saw the benefits of enlisting in the U.S. Air Force.

“I wanted to further my education and that was a way to do it,” said Fedrizzi, who was stationed in Ramstein Air Base in Germany and served for four years from 2017 to 2021. “I loved it.”

In the Air Force, Fedrizzi was a member of Security Forces, which meant she was part of the military police working on flight lines to guard fighter jets and bomber planes. She traveled to 13 different countries, and the experience gave her practical experience tied to her academic interests.

Ultimately, the reputation of SUNY Cortland’s criminology major led Fedrizzi to enroll at the university in 2022. While many institutions may offer criminal justice, she explained the appeal of a criminology program.

“You’re thinking about what factors are playing into the criminal justice system, so it goes a little bit deeper here,” said Fedrizzi, a Dean’s List student who will graduate in May.

On campus, she serves as the vice president of SUNY Cortland’s Student Veterans and Military Club and recently joined the university’s new Fishing Club. After graduating, Fedrizzi plans to pursue a master’s in criminology through her G.I. Bill benefits and eventually hopes to earn a Ph.D. in the discipline.

She credits the university’s support for non-traditional students, especially from faculty members.

“Professors are not only knowledgeable but they’re willing to help if you need it,” she said. “They’re very empathetic, which isn’t the case everywhere.”

Melinda “Mindy” Gardner

Therapeutic Recreation

Cortland, N.Y.


For her entire professional life, Mindy Gardner has worked to improve the lives of children and teenagers. She came to SUNY Cortland to earn a degree that will officially underscore the value of the hands-on experience she brings to the community.

Gardner balances her studies with working a full-time job and raising a young family of four — two commitments that some of the most dedicated non-traditional students juggle. A local Cortland resident, Gardner has built a meaningful career spanning 13-plus years at YWCA Cortland, first as a preschool teacher for eight years and now as a mentor director overseeing youth programming.

“I love my job and I want to elevate it to the next level,” said Gardner, 38, a therapeutic recreation major who also serves as president of the university’s Non-Traditional Student Organization. “Having SUNY Cortland in our backyard has allowed me to do that, using a lot of the things that I’ve learned in my current position.”

Gardner explained that she chose therapeutic recreation as a major because she wants to expand the possibilities for children, in the same way that others in the discipline work with the elderly or people with disabilities. Her current role at the YWCA includes hands-on group mentoring as well as lunch therapy in schools.

“I think working with youth is where I’m at my best,” Gardner said.

Originally from Poughkeepsie, N.Y., she began her studies after high school at Duchess Community College, but paused them after moving to the Binghamton area to care for her grandmother. Gardner and her husband settled in Cortland in 2010, and she eventually resumed coursework through a tuition exchange program between the YWCA and Tompkins Cortland Community College.

When Gardner found out she was close to earning an associate degree in human services, she decided to keep going for a bachelor’s that could provide career advancement. Despite having two young boys at home — now 7 and 4 years old — Gardner jumped in and now takes three classes each semester.

In addition to their life experience, Gardner mentioned non-traditional students bring an important element of collaboration to the classroom.

“When today’s students graduate from college, they’re going to be thrown into a workforce where they have to work with different people of different ages — not just their professor, not just their boss, but their co-workers,” she said. “And they might even be the supervisor of someone who’s older.

“So that aspect of learning how to collaborate and work with different age groups right off the bat can be a huge asset.”

Michelle LaMorte

Graphic Design and Digital Media

Dryden, N.Y.


It’s easy to wonder when Michelle LaMorte finds time to sleep.

The mother of three takes a full-time schedule as a graphic design and digital media major. She serves as a teaching assistant in a multimedia course. She works at Tompkins Cortland Community College both as a professional tutor and lab manager. And she contributes her artistic talent to the Ithaca Times as a part-time photographer.

“I do a lot of different things,” said LaMorte, 43, who lives in Dryden.

That much has been true since long before she started her studies at SUNY Cortland. LaMorte grew up in Dryden and attended Tompkins Cortland Community College and SUNY Delhi in the late 1990s, at a time when course planning and degree progress wasn’t easily accessible online.

That led her to enlist in the U.S. Navy in 2000 and serve two years as an aviation support equipment technician, before starting a family. Over the next two decades, LaMorte and her husband would reside in both New York and North Carolina, raising three daughters — now ages 21, 18 and 12.

Her studies stayed on hold while she worked and cared for her family. But LaMorte’s husband faced several serious health complications that eventually forced her to reconsider her long-term career goals.

“I had already been thinking that I really wanted to go back to school,” LaMorte said. “I didn’t like working in factories, and I needed something more sustainable.”

In 2019, she resumed her studies at Tompkins Cortland Community College and earned her associate degree in 2021. Many nearby jobs in the graphic design field required a four-year degree or similar experience, so SUNY Cortland made sense.

“I wanted to be an example too,” said LaMorte, whose second daughter recently began her studies at Elmira College.

She is on track to earn her bachelor’s degree in May and has considered pursuing a master’s degree down the road. LaMorte said she has appreciated her Cortland experience because she feels like she belongs on campus, even if many of her classmates are younger in age.

“I think non-traditional students have life experience that they can lend to traditional-age students,” LaMorte said. “They’ve seen things and experienced things that they can share with others.”

Classified staff to be recognized for years of service

The 2023 Annual Service Awards Ceremony recognizing classified staff will be held on Friday, Dec. 1 in Corey Union Function Room.

The following employees are slated to receive awards. To note a correction or addition to the list, contact Marie Nelson in the Human Resources Office by email or phone at 607-753-2302.  


25 years

Jennifer Baker, Student Health Services

Darwin Bartholomew, Custodial Services

Colleen Trinkle, Custodial Services

20 years

David Coakley, University Police

Judy Daniels, Custodial Services

Anne McLorn, Art and Art History Department

Tracey Messinger, Research Foundation

Steven Rolfe, University Police

15 years

Scott Chierchio, Maintenance

Patty Fisk, Custodial Services

Lisa Hand, Registrar’s Office

Corrina Harvey, History Department

Marie Nelson, Human Resources Office

Julie Randall, Athletics Department

Sheryl Robertson, Custodial Services

Lawrence Smith, Custodial Services

Haley Zurell, School of Professional Studies


10 years

Kathleen Abbatoy, Custodial Services

Steven Brown, Maintenance

Bennett Gallow, Maintenance

Wilma Kile, Custodial Services

Kevin Pratt, Grounds

Nichole Schwartz, Library

Barbara Smith, Custodial Services

Michael Theobald, Research Foundation

Scott Thornton, Transportation

Robert Wright, Custodial Services

Teachers workshop on mandated reporting planned

The Ethics of Mandated Reporting Workshop, geared for preservice teachers, will be held online at 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 30.

This workshop will ask participants to think critically about the impact of child welfare and child protective services on children and families. Attendees will learn strategies from practitioners and family advocates about culturally competent approaches, supporting parents and what is in the best interest of the children. Special attention will be paid to positive role modeling by teachers.  

The workshop is free. Register by Friday, Oct. 27, using this online form. A confirmation and Webex invitation will be sent to registrants on Monday, Oct. 30. 

Keynote speakers will be Tiffany McFadden, adjunct professor at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College and the Logistical Lead for the New York City March for Justice and Zoe Russell, policy counsel with the Bronx Defenders.

Questions about registering for this event can be directed to Katie Silvestri, Literacy Department.  

The workshop is hosted by Sophia’s Garden Institute and Black Lives Matter at School Committee. Co-sponsors include Education Club, Social Justice Committee, Childhood/Early Childhood Education Department and the Center for Ethics, Peace and Social Justice. 

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Faculty/Staff Activities

Teagan Bradway

Teagan Bradway, English Department, was awarded the Hunt-Simes Visiting Junior Chair Fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Advanced Research Centre at the University of Sydney to teach in the Institute in Sexuality Studies in 2024.

Jessica Carrick-Hagenbarth, Avanti Mukherjee and Eric Edlund

Jessica Carrick-Hagenbarth and Avanti Mukherjee of the Economics Department and Eric Edlund of the Physics Department had an article titled “Analysis of Hybrid Epidemiological‑Economic Models of COVID‑19 Mitigation Policies” published in the Eastern Economics Journal.

Kevin Dames

Kevin Dames, Kinesiology Department, and Sutton Richmond, University of Florida, had an article published in Human Movement Science. The paper, “Good times, bad times? An evaluation of event detection strategies in time to boundary postural assessments” experimentally determined the effects of four algorithmic procedures for determining points of greatest postural instability during quiet standing. Their findings provide a replicable, objective means of eliminating unrealistic events in the continuous time series, which will increase clinical applicability of time to boundary for future work.

Kate McCormick

Kate McCormick, Childhood/Early Childhood Education Department, co-authored an article published in Art Education titled, “Examining Three Populations of Preservice Teachers: SEL and Art Integration in Elementary Classrooms.”

Nance S. Wilson

Nance S. Wilson, Literacy Department, received the Literacy Practice Research Journal’s Knowledge Award on Oct. 13 for an article she co-authored titled “Literacy Faculty Perspectives During COVID: What did we learn?”

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In Memoriam

Alice Greene, former secretary in the Art and Art History Department, passed away on Oct. 13, 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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