Category Archives: News

SCCC launches ‘Suffolk Gets Green’ challenge

Photo courtesy of Suffolk County Community College’s homepage.

As the days go by, the need to fill one’s day with activities and hobbies increases exponentially. To address this Suffolk County Community College recognizes this want, and has presented its student and faculty with opportunities to provide enough incentive to pass the time.

One such incentive started on April 22, otherwise known as Earth Day.

By participating in environmentally friendly activities sponsored by Suffolk, one can remain actively aware of their environmental impact as well as assist others to create a safer, cleaner community.

At Suffolk, students and faculty are encouraged to “get green” by participating in the “one less challenge,” a challenge which pushes for people to use one less plastic item from their everyday lives.

The challenge, aptly named Suffolk Gets Green, while active during the month of April, does not need to end simply because it is no longer April. Indeed, students and faculty – especially those in need of an activity to pass the time – can take up an actively green lifestyle at any time.

“I think it’s nice for Suffolk to keep this up on their webpage, even after the allotted date has passed because it’s a nice message: going green,” said Jessica Dennis, an environmental science student says.

Dennis, who is currently not working and remains at home for most of the day continued, “I like the idea of being able to fill up my day with little activities; it helps the time pass and keeps my anxieties at bay.”

Above all else, Suffolk commends those participating to do so with creativity. In fact, anyone who wishes to be recognized for their efforts can do so by sending in their pictures which document their environmental efforts to will then share the image on their college social media channels.

Additionally, for anyone who is uncertain of how to start their green lifestyle, Suffolk provides a few ways to reduce. They start with, “brew a pot/cup of coffee instead of using a coffee pod; use a glass or reusable water bottle instead of a plastic bottle,” and close with, “wear your glasses instead of contacts for a day or two.”

Although, these are not the only ways to be green.

Milton Moore, a sociology major who has, “an avid love for all things green,” said that people can take it one step further.

“Shop from small, local businesses to improve the local economy; use tooth tablets instead of toothpaste; buy in bulk, with your own glasses and containers to avoid plastic packaging and eat less meat.”

Moore said that the agricultural industry is “one of the highest contributing factors” to greenhouse gases, so when one “reduces the incentive to buy, and encourages others to do so as well, the agricultural industry, cattle included, may have their numbers reduced, and their environmental impact changed. At least, I hope.”

Regardless of how to “get green,” being green is important as maintaining a healthy and stable environment to live in is a worthy, and exceedingly necessary cause.

Susan Hayword, a 21-year-old chemistry student adivsed, “We only have one Earth, so it’s important to take care of it.”

Near the end to a semester of struggle, SCCC’s fall semester plans uncertain

As a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic, as of March 19, New York state switched schooling to be completely online. Teachers, professors, and students alike at SCCC have been forced to become accustomed to a new approach to studying, working completely at home for every class.

The move to remote learning has been a challenge to some students, who, while not having to commute to school, either have had a hard time adapting to the new way of learning or miss the interpersonal relationships.

“One thing that’s been pretty difficult is trying to stay motivated and on top of all my assignments amidst all the chaos and uncertainty.” said business major Ruth Blasczak, 22. “The professors seem to be doing their best and I’m very thankful for their efforts, but at some point it’s hard to expect too much since we’re all struggling one way or another.”

Due to the sudden switch online, some instructors, such as Spanish professor Jeanne Castano, canceled midterms and finals and instead created new assignments.

“The reason I did not give a midterm or final online is that I did not think it was necessary,” Castano said in an email. “The Chapter tests online are all open book. Most students do well on it.  They review it and look it up in book for answers which is educational and more realistic in real life.  Both exams (midterm and Final) were in class tests. However, now, they would be exactly like the on-line chapter tests which I thought were repetitive. I added the Paragraphs on certain topics because I thought the Mindtap lacked good written exercises.”

Out-of-class assignments, such as homework, were already online, so the switch was much smoother for the course to handle.

Some classes that met a specific timeframe on a certain day(s) of the week before the switch are still meeting up online through Blackboard Collaborate Ultra or Zoom at the same times as before the switch to remote learning. Some professors still offer office hours.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, whether or not the fall 2020 classes will be all online is uncertain, but both summer sessions will be all online.

Regarding the fall, “We are in regular calls with SUNY and are awaiting the guidance of Governor Cuomo and our Chancellor,” vice president of accedemic affairs Paul Beaudin said via email. “At this time, we simply do not know whether instruction will be remote, online, or face-to-face in classrooms with some form of social distancing. It could well be, too, that it is a combination of all of them.  What do we know, then?  We know that in a time of uncertainty faculty and students are seeking some level of reassurance.  We know that we miss seeing our students and colleagues very much, so please stay in touch with us.  We know that the health and safety of every student and employee of the College is paramount at this time.”

SCCC congratulates the class of 2020 with ‘celebration boxes’

Suffolk County Community College is making sure students are recognized despite the cancellation of the commencement ceremony 

Graduating students of Suffolk County Community College will not be having graduation ceremonies this spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic  

And while SCCC will not be conducting a virtual ceremony like some other colleges, it does plan to distribute a “SUNY Suffolk celebration box” to graduating students, acccording to email from the school. The box will include, “a congratulatory letter, the Suffolk County Community College alumni pin and decal, as well as a commemorative gift.”

“It’s an appreciated gesture, especially with all the stress we went through this semester,” said 21-year-old computer science major, Elijuwon Mitchell, of Mastic.  

“That’s really cool,” said Gio Hernandez, 21, of Shirley, who is studying architect technology. “Something’s better than nothing, so it’s nice that after years of work students can get something from the school as an award since they’re not getting the experience of walking across the stage.” 

Liberal Arts major Thomas Piña, 19, of Centereach, was overjoyed. “I think it’s great! During this time especially, it’s nice that my hard work is getting recognized and now I’m able to look forward to something else.”  

According to the school’s email, SCCC is in the process of creating an online frame for students to use and interact with on social media. They are also producing a video along with a collection of photos that can be viewed on a site for the 2020 graduation once completed. This website will also feature a scrolling list of the graduates’ names.   

“I think Suffolk did a very good job at communicating with students during this unusual time,” added Piña.  

The current crisis has taken a toll on many individuals and their families around the world. While most students understand that not having a commencement ceremony is for the safety of others and not the most severe repercussion given the conditions, graduating is a milestone that deserves to be celebrated with or without a ceremony.  

“Ultimately, I never imagined that my journey at SCCC would end like this,” Piña says, “but it goes to show that anything can happen life.” 

Security cameras: Public Safety’s Eyes in the Sky

Keeping people safe on campus is the No. 1 priority for public safety officials at Suffolk County Community College. One way they do this is with the help of more than 100 security cameras throughout the Ammerman campus.

Some of the visible cameras are upside down dome-shaped, and their main purpose is to record evidence to finalize incident reports. The footage isn’t being actively watched but is there to serve as proof, according to public safety director Baycan Fideli.

“The cameras are used to record the specific area so we can go back and see what happened during or after an incident,” Fideli said. 

At SCCC during normal circumstances, thousands of students come in and out with no way to prove that someone is a student unless approached by public safety and school ID is requested. Some students said they feel the need to increase the number of cameras visible to help fight against threats to their safety.

Security cameras are fundamental to any building; in a rare instance where something happens, there is video footage to prove it.

Matt Ventorola, who is in his third semester at Suffolk, believes “there should be more cameras and more security at the school to help prevent perpetrators from harming others.” 

But Christian Lent, a liberal arts major, said he feels “completely safe with how the campus is. Nothing really goes on. But if something goes wrong, public safety is there to do their job.” He added that he doesn’t think the school should increase the number of cameras on campus because “it’s a waste of money.”

Fideli said there is a plan to increase cameras if there is money available. 

Currently, there are no security cameras in parking lots. Fideli said this because of the cost associated with such projects. “It would cost thousands of dollars to trench on to the ground, which is a must if Suffolk Community College wants to implement cameras in the parking lot.”

He added: “If we rebuilt the parking lot and were able to trench underground, then we will add them …  anytime we have money available and are doing renovations then we will add cameras. Does it make a place safer? I don’t think so.”

 (Photo taken by Mike Gaisser)

Students claim Amazon is a better bet than the campus bookstore

Many students use the campus bookstore, but some say they would much prefer to spending their money getting their textbooks online with sites like Amazon rather than waiting on long lines in the basement of the Babylon Student Center.

“I wait on the long, brutal line, go up to the cashier and tell them what I want,” said Sarah Hiner, a 21-year-old second-year RTV major from Selden. “The most difficult part is figuring out which books you can rent and which ones you can buy. The experience going there is unsatisfying and the definition of time-consuming.”

Hiner said she bought books from Amazon because it was easier and the prices were lower than at Suffolk’s bookstore.

Justin McCall, a 21-year-old liberal arts major from Patchogue, had a similar take.

“Well, I’ve had two experiences with ordering books either online, picking up, or ordering in person and picking up,” he said, “Both of those experiences have not been pleasant whatsoever. When you order online and pick up in person, they require the receipt, the email confirming the order and your ID. This process just makes the lines long and very time consuming.”

In a poll posted on the Suffolk Sentinel’s Twitter account that asked, “Do you prefer purchasing books at Suffolk’s Ammerman bookstore or on Amazon?,” out of 26 votes, 77% said they preferred Amazon over 23% who preferred the bookstore.

McCall said he had no issues purchasing textbooks off of Amazon because he had no patience to wait in the long lines at the bookstore.

“Sometimes at the SCCC bookstore, you would have to go back multiple times for different books that were ordered, whereas with Amazon everything gets shipped right to your door, which is very convenient.”

McCall said he’s found “the same exact books on Amazon for the discounted price or even half the prices they are charging at Suffolk.”

The bookstore declined to provide statistics on sales over time to get a picture of how it has stacked up against online competitors over time. A representative said the information was confidential.

Photo: An overlook on the Suffolk’s Ammerman Bookstore, downstairs in the Babylon Student Center (Suffolk Sentinel/Jacqueline Santorelli)

SCCC rejects a pass/fail system

Suffolk County Community College decided on April 29 to reject a pass/fail system that could have replaced letter grades, with officials saying such a move would negatively affect students’ transferring to four-year schools.

The decision followed an online petition set up by SCCC students asking for clarity on the college’s position of transitioning to the new grading system, while also pushing for it to be put in place, after SUNY system sent out guidance to SCCC on how to adopt the new grading system if they chose to do so.

Executive Dean Wesley Lundburg and the administration believe the decision is most beneficial for all students.

Due to the shift of in-person learning to online, many colleges, such as Farmingdale State College and Binghamton University, initiated an optional pass/fail grading system. The pass/fail system gives the student either a pass or fail grade in place of a letter grade. 

“Once we became more educated on the topic, we began advocating for it with all three campuses SGA’s and our student Trustee,” said Ammerman campus Student Government Association President Erin Winn.

Lundburg gave multiple reasons why this system does less for students than it would benefit them. The main reason mentioned was the difficulty of transferring credits if the school were to switch over to a pass/fail system.

“Many of the institutions going to P/F are 4-year universities whose students are unlikely to transfer to other colleges,” said Lundburg.

Being a two-year community college, most students apply here to attain an associate’s degree and then transfer to a four-year university. The pass/fail system states that any grade above a D would constitute a pass, yet most four-year universities do not accept grades below a C. 

Daniel Linker, president of the Ammerman Faculty Senate, added, “You could not transfer classes in your major, and many other classes, like writing classes, would not transfer at all if pass/fail.”

Along with the uncertainty of transferral, “Financial aid, health insurance, GI bill, student visas and other things could all be affected,” Linker said.

SCCC administration has advised professors to be more lenient during these times, as students are dealing with the transition of online school, as well as out-of-school issues. 

More support is offered during this time as many are adjusting to online learning.

“Tutoring and other online support for specific classes have been increased to support students, as have student services such as academic counseling,” Lundburg said.

Linker emphasized that he believed this was the best decision for SCCC students and their futures.

“Nothing like this has ever happened and there are so many moving parts and complications… It’s morally hard to enact a policy that you know will hurt the students, even if it looks good to them at the time.”

Ammerman SGA’s incoming president Sophia Antonelle brings a ‘spark-plug personality’ to a role supporters say she was meant for

Sophia Antonelle has been destined to make a difference from an early age. 

“I was raised in a relatively conservative household where children should only speak when spoken to; women are meant to maintain the home, respecting elders come before all else, and toxic masculinity was king,” she said. “It was a tough upbringing considering I was constantly rebelling against these ideals and trying to find a balance between keeping the peace and educating my family at the same time. 

“However, it was this environment that encouraged me to define my morals and piqued my interest in becoming an activist.” 

The 18-year-old history major will be bringing that mindset to the table when she takes over as the Student Government Association president on June 1. The current senator was elected to a one-year term on April 18.

“I realize for my short stature I am a bit of a strong-willed character, but my main focus as SGA president will be working with the executive board to find the same kind of balance as within my household.”

Fulfilling any role on the SGA board, which serves to advocate for all student rights, responsibilities and freedoms, as well as the general welfare of Suffolk County Community College students, can be a tall task. However, Antonelle said she views the challenge as an opportunity to make a positive impact on her peers and the college.

“I’ve always been a firm believer that everything can always be better,” she said. “Conditions on campus can always be better, and students’ time at Suffolk can always be better. It was in the middle of my first semester when I realized that I wanted to have a direct hand in that improvement.”

Having a role that serves as a direct hand in improving the college is a role that current student trustee of the Suffolk County Community College Board of Trustees, Kaitlyn Gambina, believes Antonelle was meant for.

“Sophia Antonelle is one of our most active members of Student Government,” Gambina said. “She loves helping and meeting new students and is perfect for her new role. I can’t wait to see all of the things she’s going to accomplish and to watch her grow as a leader.”

Antonelle, who currently lives in Holtsville and will be starting her sophomore year in the fall, has several priorities in mind.

“My main responsibility as SGA president, in my eyes anyway, is being the front runner for representing the students at Ammerman campus,” Antonelle said. “ While I also must complete a certain amount of office hours, host the weekly meetings, break ties during voting, as well as a few other tasks, my focal obligation is ensuring that all feel properly respected and represented on campus.”

Antonelle’s former history professor David Hannigan also believes she is perfectly suited for the role. 

“She is the type of spark-plug personality that is perfect for the role of leading the student body,” Hannigan said. “She brings an energy and enthusiasm to every task she is set, and in her approach to life at Suffolk, inside and outside the classroom, has always seemed to me to be an exemplar of what can be achieved in this institution.”

Current SGA President Erin Winn, expressed confidence in Anotelle’s ability.

“Sophia Antonelle is the perfect candidate for President and I am thrilled to pass this role off to her. When Sophia joined SGA as a senator in the fall I knew we would be able to rely on her commitment for many events and initiatives we were planning,” Winn said. “She is always so helpful and willing to support our organization in any way she can. She is an amazing student activist and is constantly standing up for what is right and wants to make positive changes. Sophia is an intelligent, passionate, and hardworking individual who will do whatever she can in her power to best represent the student body. I know having her as the next SGA President will greatly impact our campus and I am so excited to see what she does during her time in office.”

If there’s anything she would like students she will be representing to know about her, it’s that, “I love learning,” Antonelle said. “I am always asking one too many questions and challenging myself. These past semesters I have been looking up to the current president, Erin Winn. While we do have different styles of leadership, I hope to simultaneously cultivate the initiatives started under her presidency as well as work with my elected board to build on our own.”