Plans for Emergency Services Building Take Shape
I’m pleased to announce that SUNY Oneonta has begun the design phase of a new building on campus to house our University Police Department (UPD) and the Otsego County Law Enforcement Academy (OCLEA). Both UPD and OCLEA currently share space with our Office of Alumni Engagement in Alumni Hall.
The idea for what we’re calling the Emergency Services Building grew out of our recognition that a law enforcement agency and related training facility have different needs than most college departments. We envision a single-story building about 9,000 square feet in size, with purpose-built spaces for our police and the academy.
College and City officials met today to discuss the project. The college also has begun informing residents in the Clinton Street and Ravine Parkway neighborhoods about it.
Plans call for the facility to be constructed near the southern boundary of campus, adjacent to a commuter parking lot and uphill from the end of Clinton Street in the City of Oneonta. The college does not anticipate opening Clinton Street to vehicular traffic or creating additional parking lots in connection to this project. We estimate that the building will cost about $6 million to construct, and groundbreaking could take place as early as the summer of 2019.
SUNY Oneonta a Kiplinger's Best Value
I’m proud to report that Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine has named SUNY Oneonta to its list of the “300 Best College Values for 2018.”
SUNY Oneonta sits at No. 96 on Kiplinger's list of Best Values in Public Colleges and is ranked No. 267 among all colleges.
The rankings, released in late December, recognize four-year public schools, private universities and private liberal arts colleges across the country that deliver academic quality and affordability. To assess quality, Kiplinger’s uses a number of measurable standards, including the admissions rate, the percentage of students who return for sophomore year, the student-faculty ratio and the four-year graduation rate. Cost criteria include low tuition, abundant financial aid and low average debt at graduation.
The Kiplinger’s list echoes findings from other organizations. Best Value Schools, Forbes magazine and U.S. News & World Report all have recognized SUNY Oneonta for exceptional quality and value in similar rankings this academic year.
Please Join Me for Coffee
This semester, I’m continuing my tradition of holding open coffee hours to chat informally with faculty and staff. I invite you to stop by the Fitzelle Atrium to tell me how your semester is going and share anything that’s on your mind. I will offer a free beverage from Seasons Café to all who join the conversation.
Look for me on the following days:
Thursday, Feb. 22, from 9 to 10:30 a.m.
Friday, March 23, from 8:30 to 10 a.m.
Thursday, April 19, from 9 to 10:30 a.m.
If you can’t come to my coffee hours, I’d still like to hear from you. In particular, I’m soliciting input on this monthly newsletter. What topics have been interesting to you, and what kinds of things would you like to see in Notes from Netzer? I invite you to email me to share your thoughts.
Highlight: Music industry student Daniel Reid wins NAMM scholarship
Once again this year, we have a group of students attending the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Show in Anaheim, California, and—for the second year in a row—one of our students has landed what I’m told in music parlance is known as a “sweet gig.”
Sophomore Daniel Reid has won the NAMM Foundation’s competitive President’s Innovation Award, which covers the cost of travel and other expenses and offers special access at the NAMM convention, taking place at the Anaheim Convention Center from Jan. 25 to 28. The $600 stipend is given each year to 25 college and university music students interested in exploring career opportunities in music performance and/or music business.
Daniel is one of 27 SUNY Oneonta students traveling with Music Department Lecturer Nancy Tarr to the event. Although Daniel was the only student to receive the top award, each of the students received D’Antonio funding, and some received STEP funding to defray expenses.
Not only is The NAMM Show a wonderful place to see the latest music gear and cutting-edge technology from more than 7,000 brands, it’s also a great time to network with industry professionals, which often results in internships, and take in special events and concerts. This year, attendees will be treated to a performance by rock band OK Go.
SUNY Oneonta has offered this immersive and relevant experience for more than 25 years. For a closer look at NAMM, visit the SUNY Oneonta Snapchat account. One of our students will be documenting parts of the trip by posting there later this week.
Milne Library Renovation
Director of Libraries
Whether they’re just passing through or spending a considerable amount of time, visitors to the completely remodeled first floor of the James M. Milne Library may not recognize where they are at first.
The remodel has increased amenities and services, while also changing the feel of the first floor. Bright, open spaces, modern seating and light fixtures, and pops of teal and yellow make the area a space in which students are going to want to spend time, much like after Fitzelle was renovated. In the same way, the first floor feels fresh and new.
Most exciting to me is the enhanced number of group spaces and study rooms. Colorful alcoves with comfortable seating, soundproofing panels and glass writing boards make this an ideal space for students to work efficiently. Perhaps most importantly for today’s tech-savvy generation, every seat and desk area has direct access to an electrical outlet, so students can easily plug in their phones or laptops.
Other important amenities include the rows of desktop computers, addition of a gender-neutral bathroom and two water-filling stations.
An area I’m proud to highlight is the new office of Accessibility Resources, located to the right as you walk in toward the front desk from the main entrance, where the Reading Room was previously located. The move of Accessibility Resources from 209 Alumni to 133 Milne will mean better accommodations for students. A number of private test-taking rooms will ensure comfort, quiet and discretion for students. There is also a wall of lockers, where students can safely store their belongings while testing.
Our new Reading Room, although smaller than before, is comfortable and bright, with two desktop computers for public use, along with the regular assortment of magazines and books.
It feels great to have the first floor completed and “future-proofed,” and it’s exciting to envision what’s in store for the second floor, which is now closed off and being worked on. That renovation, which will include the integration of CADE, should be completed by Fall 2018.
I believe students and staff will benefit from this renovation, which has made it possible to locate important services in places where students already like to go and enhancing those spaces. I’m excited to see students enjoying the space after all this hard work.
Argo Tea Opening
OAS Executive Director
I am delighted to introduce our campus community to Argo Tea, a company with which I’ve been repeatedly impressed in a number of ways. With the beautiful renovation of the first floor of Milne Library and the addition of Argo Tea, it feels like a fresh start for this area of campus.
For years I have searched for a tea café concept that would work at SUNY Oneonta because I knew our student population would appreciate this type of venue. After hearing about Argo Tea, I went to New York City to meet with stakeholders. Looking at the menu and examining the core values of the company, I knew immediately that it would be a good fit for us.
The more I learn about the company, the happier I am with our decision to bring it to our campus. Argo Tea is all about promoting a healthy lifestyle while making a positive impact on communities and protecting the environment. I see a lot of similarities between their values and our own.
Founded in 2003, Argo beverages and teas are all natural and made from real ingredients that are free of artificial flavorings, colors or additives. Many of the drinks are high in antioxidants. Café foods are free of trans fats, preservatives and artificial flavors or colors, and many of the items are vegan and/or gluten-free, which I know students will appreciate.
Like SUNY Oneonta, Argo Tea is committed to sustainability by supporting the conservation of natural resources and looking for ways to lessen its impact on the environment. For example, containers and utensils in the café are made from compostable material, and shopping bags and paper cup sleeves are made from 100% recycled material.
Argo Tea is also committed to fair trade practices. Tea growers are carefully selected to ensure the support of a better life for farming families through fair prices, direct trade, community development and environmental stewardship. Families in the Himalayas are housed within convenient distance of the tea plants, and educational programs are offered for the children.
I’ve personally been fascinated learning about all the flavors and varieties of tea that are available. With 40 canisters of fresh tea to choose from, each cup is customizable. Our café will be featuring two different teas for sampling, and that’s a great way to learn what you like.
It’s one thing to say, “Our new café on campus is just the best,” but it’s much more gratifying and, I believe, fitting, for SUNY Oneonta to be able to say “Our new café is helping to keep students healthy, protect our environment and provide for communities on the other side of the world.”
Bill Pietraface Wins Prestigious Award for Service
Vice President for College Advancement
I am delighted to share that Bill Pietraface, professor emeritus Biology, and devoted member of our campus community, has received the Robert L. Payton Award for Voluntary Service from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). I can’t think of a more deserving person than Bill, who throughout his career has been a passionate ambassador for SUNY Oneonta.
The Robert L. Payton Award for Voluntary Service is given annually by CASE to an individual who “demonstrates leadership in advancement programs, furtherance of the philanthropic tradition, and public articulation of needs, goals, and issues in education.” Bill will receive this award on Feb. 26 at the CASE District II Conference in Maryland.
Since 2001, Bill has served in increasing leadership roles on the College at Oneonta Foundation Board of Directors. He has served as both president and vice president of the Foundation, and as co-chair of our successful $6 million fundraising campaign, The Fund for Science and Technology. Bill is currently the secretary of the Foundation, chairs its Finance Committee, and sits on the Foundation’s Advancement and Membership Committee.
Bill’s service to the college during his tenure as a professor and since his retirement has been exemplary. In 2008, he represented the Foundation in the Presidential Search Committee, which led to the hiring of President Nancy Kleniewski. In 2017, because of his continued leadership and the respect of his foundation board colleagues, Bill served on the Presidential Search Committee to find Dr. Kleniewski’s successor.
In addition to his varied leadership roles in the Foundation, Bill founded the GoSTEM Summer Institute at SUNY Oneonta. He’s also active with many organizations in the greater Oneonta community, including St. Mary’s Church, the Center for Continuing Adult Learning and the Greater Oneonta Historical Society.
Bill and his wife, Marge, have established two scholarships on campus, made a gift commitment to name the Pietraface Tissue Culture Laboratory—a 320-square-foot area for faculty and student research in the Physical Science Building—and have made a provision in their estate plan for the College at Oneonta Foundation. He also has become an effective solicitor of major gifts to benefit SUNY Oneonta.
I have been honored to work with Bill for the past 20 years. He inspires donors, College Advancement professionals, and other volunteers through his intelligence and generosity. He is always giving his time and financial resources to SUNY Oneonta and other organizations in the Oneonta community. Bill makes all of us better professionals and stewards of philanthropy.
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