Bulletin News

University celebrates non-traditional students


Approximately 300 non-traditional students are enrolled at SUNY Cortland. Although their backgrounds often are wildly different, they all have interesting stories to tell.

Allison McDaniel has experienced personal and family upheaval, all while being a parent and working towards earning a bachelor’s degree in inclusive education.

Although Nakeesta Langton is a parent of three, the involvement she has on campus while pursuing a career in early childhood and childhood education is astonishing. From being inducted into honor societies to serving as a Student Government Association representative for the Non-Traditional Student Organization, Langston strives for excellence.

They are SUNY Cortland’s non-traditional students. The university defines non-traditional students as those undergraduate students who are 24 years of age or older or, regardless of age, may have dependent children, working, military experience or a break in education after high school (at some point).

“Usually, this week is celebrated in the fall semester,” explained Cheryl Smith ’04, coordinator of student outreach and non-traditional student support. “But we decided to postpone the celebration until this spring semester in hopes of being able to have more in-person events.”

The university will acknowledge them during Non-Traditional Students Week beginning Monday, April 12. Each day, special activities will take place virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And each day through Friday, April 16, an inspiring non-traditional student will be introduced to the campus community.

Stories about  outstanding non-traditional students will be shared during the week.

The week features a host of activities both virtually and on campus. They include:

  • Monday, April 12: “Cookies for Non-Trads.” Stop by the Non-Traditional Students Lounge, Cornish Hall, Room 1221, between noon to 2 p.m. to pick up your free cookie-to-go.
  • Tuesday, April 13: “Non-Trads Treat: Wrap Sandwiches.’” Stop by the Non-Traditional Student Lounge, Cornish Hall, Room 1221, between 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for boxed, wrapped sandwiches lunch-to-go. Pre-orders were already taken for this event. There will be a few extra available.
  • Tuesday, April 13: Alpha Sigma Lambda Honor Society Induction Ceremony at 7 p.m. via The prestige honor society is for non-traditional students and features inductees with GPAs from 3.6 to 4.0.
  • Wednesday, April 14: “Beloved Community Narratives Project Panel 3.” Nakeesta Langton, a non-traditional student, is a participant in the project and will be a part of this panel via Webex, from 4 to 5 p.m.; also that day,
  • Health Promotion’s Podcast, “How to Juggle School, Life, Work and Sanity,” will feature Health Promotion educator Lauren Scagnelli, Marissa Whitaker, substance abuse prevention/education associate, Nakeesta Langton, and Smith.
  • Thursday, April 15: “You Know You’re a Non-Trad When…”  Cortland’s non-traditional students as well as non-traditional student alumni and faculty/staff who were adult students themselves while earning their degrees are encouraged respond the discussion board.
  • Friday, April 16: “Cooking Video: Preparing a Fast and Easy Meal When Time is Limited.” Billy Hentenaar, senior exercise science major, will share the recipe and prepare a quick and easy meal for our adult students’ busy lives. A link to participate in the event will be announced later.

Also in celebration of SUNY Cortland’s non-traditional students, nominations were being accepted for the “Celebrate-a-Non-Trad” campaign. The campaign aims to recognize non-traditional students who often balance college with other commitments such as family, jobs, and long commutes. The goal is to meet the unique needs of students over 24, and those with dependent children. SUNY Cortland will present nominated non-traditional students with a certificate and campus recognition.

Nominations should include the student’s name, contact information, relationship to the student and comments about the non-traditional student. Comments will be listed on the certificate, unless otherwise noted. To nominate a fellow student, fill out the nomination form.

For more information about Non-Traditional Students Week events, contact Non-Traditional Student Support at 607-753-4726.

Prepared by Communications Office writing intern Jenna Donofrio