Category Archives: Opinion

SCCC needs a sports recreational club

There are many different clubs and activities at SCCC that students can get involved in on campus. They range from the Disney Club to the Astronomy Club to the Hogwarts at Suffolk Club.

With the weather getting warmer and even for the beginning of the school year in the fall, I believe that we should try and form a sports recreational club, in which students who are not on sports teams at school  can play a pick-up game of any sport, such as flag football, baseball, basketball and volleyball during common hour.

I feel that if students could create this club students can have an opportunity during common hour so that they can be outside and be playing a sport that they enjoy.

Creating a recreational sports club here on campus could benefit multiple students who want an opportunity to play a competitive sport for their enjoyment.

Thomas Bell, 20, a liberal arts major, says that creating this club would give students that used to play sports an athletic outlet to help them stay in shape.

Bell also believes that students can use the club to use it as a stress reliever by doing something they love and taking them off the classroom mindset.

John Ricciardelli, 24, a liberal arts major, says that he believes if the club is created, it gives the opportunity to someone who is a non-student athlete the opportunity to play on a recreational sports team for fun.

Ricciardelli also wants the club to be created because students should be able to play sports for fun. Ricciardelli feels it’s a great way to make friends and have a great experience.

This club should be created because it gives the students an interactive club along with one that revolves outdoor events. It gives the enjoyment to a bunch of kids with the same interest in sports to just have a good time.

For SGA’s elections to have more involvement, it needs greater authority

The college holds the Student Government Association’s elections each spring semester. This year, they happened from April 8 to April 13 — five days during which students could vote online, in the college’s website homepage for their favorite representatives running for office for the 2018-2019 school year.

However, the recent elections didn’t do as well as last year’s. This time, 197 students from the Ammerman campus voted. Compared to 2017, when there were 405 hits, the number is significantly low. But why?

One of the main reasons was the number of candidates running for the vacant positions, said Laura Garcia, the current president of SGA. In 2017, two candidates ran for president and two for vice president.

As a result, “there was more promotion, debate and campaigning,” she said.

This year, only one person ran for president. Besides that, no one ran for vice president, secretary or treasurer.

Another reason can be the lack of awareness about what SGA actually does. Most people might infer that this organization has a lot of power in the decision-making processes that happen on campus. However, this is not the case for the student governance bodies at Suffolk County Community College.

SGA’s mission is to advocate for students’ rights, responsibilities and freedoms. It serves as a channel between faculty members, students and administration. However, no one holds a seat on the SCCC board of trustees, nor does SGA have a say in how student activity fees are spent, as do many student government organizations, including all four-year SUNY colleges and universities. SGA’s job is to communicate any issue to the student trustee, Jerome Bost.

Bost is the sole student representative on the college’s 10-member board. He represents all the students from the three campuses, exposing their concerns and being that voice in the decision-making process.

SGA spends a good portion of its annual budget mainly in giveaways, as minor contributions to the wellness of the student body.

“We want more ability to be able to oversee certain things, which is what we’re pushing forward now,” said Garcia. SGA is very limited in what they actually do on campus, so they try to help other organizations in events, as a way of promoting the services that the campus offers.

I think that this factor also plays an important role in how much students around the campus are informed, not only in the elections, but in the overall SGA’s role. The majority of the students don’t show much interest in what happens with this organization. Many others might do, but lacking the knowledge and information.

The Student Government Association in the Ammerman campus needs more promotion, better ways to get to students, who are intended to be the ones benefited from SGA’s work. If students are more involved, then more would be interested in being part of it, as well as voting for people to represent them. However, it is important to take away some of the limitations that restrict them to do more for the college community in general.

Attending the SCCC commencement ceremony is important

Suffolk is a commuter school, so students often come and go quickly, leaving many events held by the school with low attendance. 

There is an event, however, that many students skip that they should not: commencement. 

Many students will just brush off their graduation from SCCC because, well, it’s just Suffolk. But it’s not just Suffolk.

Graduating from Suffolk is an accomplishment that should be recognized and celebrated. While an associate’s degree for many is is a toward the eventual goal of bachelor’s, master’s or even doctoral degrees, for many others the associate’s degree they earn at Suffolk helps them get into the field their choice. 

For people like myself, Suffolk was a jumping off point. Out of high school, I never would have been accepted to the colleges that I had the option of choosing for next fall. My grades simply weren’t up to par, and my work ethic was nowhere near what it needed to be to be successful in a college classroom.

And I know that I am not alone in that situation. Many students who come to Suffolk are able to go to schools they never thought they’d be able to attend after their time at Suffolk. That’s the biggest reason I believe that attending SCCC commencement is so important.

Don’t brush off graduation from Suffolk on May 24 in the Field House of the Health, Sports and Education Center on the Michael J. Grant Campus in Brentwood. Put on the funny hat, sit in the crowd and hear your name, listen to your name be called for accomplishing something great. 


Club attendance down? Professors could help by offering extra credit

Colleges have long been some of the best places to explore new opportunities. When class time is over, students can do almost whatever they please as long as they are back on campus in time for their next class.

So, partly because of this, schools and universities have developed clubs for students.

There are even clubs that have been developed by students, making it all the more intriguing for other students to join. Clubs such as the anime club, the video game club and other clubs provide opportunities for students to further get involved with the college.

Especially at a commuter school, students tend to come to school, attend their classes, then leave. In order to increase participation in clubs, professors could implement a system in which students could receive extra credit for joining clubs.

Here is how it could potentially work: Professors could reward students for joining a club with extra credit. Professors could decide themselves how much extra credit could be distributed depending on factors such as class size, scheduling, etc.

Students would be required to provide proof of not only attendance, but also somehow prove that they are actively participating in the club.

In doing so, students would not only have an incentive to join one or more clubs, but would also gain valuable experience.

With the implementation of an extra-credit system, students would be further encouraged to join clubs, only now with a little more to gain in the process.

If professors were to provide an incentive program to students for joining clubs, they would have a method of boosting their grade, and also gain some helpful experience with some extra-curricular activities.

If I ask you to stop vaping, it’s because I don’t want you to relive my nightmare

Photo courtesy of Vaping360/Flickr

The first reported death in the U.S. from an e-cigarette explosion was of my older brother, Thomas, in 2015. So it’s no wonder why the proliferation of vaping on campus makes me uncomfortable—so uncomfortable that I have walked up to people and asked them to stop. And now I’m writing about it here in hopes that a tragedy can lead people to understand the dangers involved and avoid similar incidents.

Thre first wrongful death lawsuit in the CourtHouse News database over an alleged e-cig explosion was filed last month. The complaint alleges that a vaporizer device launched shrapnel into 30-year-old Thomas Gangi’s head while he was in his Bohmemia, N.Y. home, in Nov. 2015.

Gangi died in the fire, his estate says — CourtHouse News

I am sure most people that attend the Ammerman campus have walked through a big cloud of vape smoke, sometimes where there’s a sign that says no smoking is allowed on campus. But it’s not the smoke that concerns me the most. Vaporizers exploding are on the rise, along with their popularity among younger people and those looking for a way to quit smoking cigarettes.

I will not deny that when vaporizers first became readily available to the public, they piqued my interest because it was thought to be a healthier alternative to cigarette smoking and had many wonderful alluring flavors. I think that if more people knew how common the hazards of vaporizers exploding are they would maybe rethink their usage.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, between January 2009 and Dec. 31, 2016, there were 195 incidents reported from e-cigs exploding causing fire and injury; 121 of them exploded while in use or on one’s person. The explosions are due to the lithium-ion battery that is used to power the e-cig, according to the USFA.


Screenshot taken from

The USFA also reported that in this time frame there had been no deaths linked to the explosion of e-cigs, but there is new information attesting to my brother’s death. The USFA report does not list his death because at the time when the reports were published, the final determination for his cause of death had not been finalized.

Lithium-ion batteries were also the cause of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phone explosions.

I had never in a million years thought that something so insignificant could kill someone, but my reality is a lesson for everyone. The sight of vaporizers makes me relive a nightmare that I hope no one else ever has to. I am hoping that, in light of my story, people will be more inclined to adhere to rules and be more courteous to others.

SCCC needs more healthy options to prevent the ‘Freshman 15’

The healthy food section at the Babylon Student Center food court. Photo by Paula Schultz. (April 11, 2018)

The “Freshman 15.” It’s a dreaded phrase that refers to students’ weight gain as they adjust to life in college.

Actually, according to the National Eating Disorder Association, the average college freshman gains about 2.5 to 3.5 pounds during their first year of college.

When students start college, they get exposed to much greater freedom and stress than they did as children and adolescents. The large selection of cheap junk food and lack of exercise can result in an unhealthy lifestyle and weight gain.

At SCCC, the encouragement of student wellness is rather small. All students are required to take two credits worth of physical education, but students are on their own after that.

Some students understand the importance of a healthy lifestyle by having gym memberships and bringing food from home. Most students, however, find it challenging to fit healthy habits into their busy lives.

There are some opportunities for students to get moving on campus, but they interfere with many students’ schedules.

Zumba and dance classes are offered to students every Wednesday at 11 a.m., but that is during Common Hour and may interfere with students’ club commitments. There is also a weight room open to students at the Brookhaven Gymnasium, but the hours are very inconsistent.

Maintaining a healthy diet is another important factor that many college students tend to brush aside. Fast food is convenient for the average student who does not have the time to make their own meals. The cafeteria is where most students end up in between classes. The lack of healthy – and delicious – options further increase the issue.

The cafeteria at SCCC offers a plethora of food options including Chinese food, pizza, and a Moe’s Southwest Grill. The great number of food options is favored amongst students, but what about the healthy options?

The so-called “nutritious” food area in the cafeteria lies in a refrigerated section in the middle of the food court. Some food options include salads, wraps, sushi and fruit. Unlike the other stations in the food court, the healthy area rarely gets updated with new and interesting food options. It’s always the same Caesar salads and spicy tuna rolls that lack in the flavor department.

Because SCCC is not taking student wellness as seriously as they should, students may forget just how important it is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It is not all about looking your best, but, rather, feeling your best.

With academic and life stress being in the way, having a healthy lifestyle may not seem like another important part of life. When in fact, the healthy choices you make now will determine your health in the future.

In order to have a greater emphasis on student health, I think SCCC needs to make some changes in order to resonate with students. Providing a bigger, creative and more updated selection of healthy food options may interest students to make better food choices in school and outside of it.

As far as exercise is concerned, requiring students to take a physical education course every semester may be a challenge because of other graduation requirements. However, SCCC should invest in building another weight room on campus for students who want to work out on their own time.

Want to keep students on campus? Make better use of Veterans Plaza

One of the biggest factors that separates Suffolk County Community College from other private and state schools is that students don’t live on campus. Without a dorming option, students tend to just go home in between classes instead of staying on campus during their free time. The reason for this is because when a student decides to stay on campus, there are limited things they can do.

For the most part, the only things to do in between classes is homework, study in the library, or go to the cafeteria. It seems like you just come to school, go to class and go home. Fun, right?

Last semester following one of my classes, I was headed to my car to go home. I had a couple hours in between classes and didn’t want to sit around doing nothing on campus, so I figured my best choice was to go home to relax for a bit.

Related: Nothing to do in between classes? Think again.

As I was walking to my car, I passed through the quad where I spotted two kids throwing a Frisbee around. Immediately I referenced all of those classic ’80s college movies in my head where kids are throwing Frisbees and footballs on campus and I couldn’t help but walk over to them. I introduced myself and next thing I knew, there was about eight of us playing a game of ultimate Frisbee. This fun experience wouldn’t have happened if I went home and was better than anything I would’ve done by myself anyway.

The downside to this awesome experience was that the only reason we were able to play Frisbee was because that kid brought one. The school doesn’t provide any type of equipment for past time activities. If the school provided students with sports equipment or other ways to have activities outside every day, going to community college might not seem as dreadful for some students anymore.

If the school was to put Frisbees, footballs, soccer balls and other sports equipment outside, students would be drawn to this instead of going home during their breaks. Not only is staying active an important part of a college student’s overall health, it’s a great way for students to bond with friends and meet new people. A great way to attract students would be to play music outside. The new Suffolk Radio program could set up a booth every common hour and play the radio while students mingle. 

As a student, walking into the plaza and seeing other students playing sports and interacting with each other sounds a lot more appealing than just an open area where people sit and smoke cigarettes, which is the case right now.

Suffolk County Community College should consider providing students with sports equipment, music, and other ways to have group activities that would allow them to meet, connect, and be active during their free time.

SCCC’s meal plan should be optional

Suffolk County Community College bills $100 to its full-time students (those who take 12 credits or more) for its meal plan. The money is placed on a student’s I.D. card for use at the cafeteria or any vending machine on campus.

For three semesters, I made full use of the school’s meal plan. But for the current semester, I was unable to use it because I started out taking fewer than nine credits on campus.

Many people like it, a cashier in the Ammerman cashier’s office told me. But others see it as an expense they shouldn’t have to pay.

I prefer to save money and avoid using up all my financial aid rather than taking out an extra loan just to pay for a meal plan I don’t want.

The meal plan policy should be changed to be optional.

Students already have the ability to avoid the meal plan bill and remain full time, but it’s tricky. It comes down to taking online classes over traditional on-campus classes.

To get the meal plan, you have to be a full-time student and also “take nine credits minimum on a campus,” said the Ammerman cashier’s office general manager.

Before the start of a semester, if a student doesn’t take nine credits on a campus, they won’t be billed for the meal plan. If the student favors traditional classes, they can later transfer out of the online classes, successfully avoiding paying the $100. The one problem I found with this method is getting a schedule in line with your personal life.

It is true that “many people like” the meal plan, but then why not give the option at the start of the semester? Then you can truly tell who likes it.

Suffolk fails to make necessary advances to prevent mass shootings

Students at SCCC should be frightened. Not by exams, meal plans, or general college-induced stress, but by something much more severe. After recent high school shootings throughout the nation, including the one in Parkland, Florida, where 17 were killed, the fear of an active shooter has never been greater. It does not help with SCCC’s minimal effort to prevent such an occurrence.

SCCC is an open campus, which indicates that anyone, student or not, can set foot on campus without prior warning or security check-in. All of the buildings on the Ammerman Campus are kept unlocked as well, without central security through electronic locks. The school’s public safety officers are not armed and primarily hold the responsibility of calling the police in such an occurrence. In other words, public safety’s active shooter prevention protocol is not enough.

Shortly after the Parkland shooting, the president of SCCC, Shaun McKay, sent out an email on Feb. 26 to the student body addressing the issue.

“We have secured full staffing for our Public Safety force, we have purchased additional equipment, and we have provided strong leadership for our officers inclusive of adding an Assistant Director of Patrol Operations and leadership at the Captain level on each campus,” the email stated.

Regarding whether professors should carry firearms, McKay said, “personally, I do not see any reason to arm teachers — or professors– within an institution for higher learning.”

The public safety page of the SCCC website contains the basic run, hide, fight policy as its lone protocol in taking action for an active shooter. The policy advises students to call 911, and also provides instructions on what to do when police arrive.

In response to one of the most deadly mass shootings in American history, all SCCC did was supply additional unarmed security guards and strong leadership. Former police officer John Cerato says that just is not enough for a school that is open and withholds that many students.

“The amount of security they have at Suffolk is making me rethink sending my kids there,” Cerato says. “As a former cop, my job was to defend people and seeing that an entire institution can feel comfortable with the process they have right now is really disheartening.”

According to Newsday, school districts across Long Island have been progressively making additional security efforts after the Sandy Hook shooting in December 2012. Schools have been spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on things like highly trained security guards, security cameras, building monitoring services, and visitor restriction technologies.

SCCC has not taken the same steps as other schools across Long Island to protect staff and students in the event of a mass shooting. They have fallen behind on necessary technological advances and security efforts to avoid another heartbreaking story. As the upper executives pass it off as if they are taking the necessary steps, the school remains woefully unprepared.

The new Starbucks: It isn’t worth the hype

The new Starbucks in the Babylon Student Center almost always has long lines between classes. Photo by Kaitlin Crowley.

Class has ended, and the average student might find themselves tired and lacking the energy needed to make it through their next one. There are about 15 minutes to spare, so why not run to the new Starbucks on campus in the Babylon Student Center to grab some coffee to wake up? Great idea!

Upon entering the building, there’s only one problem: the horrendous line that travels from the registers, all the way out the door of the Starbucks and into the hallway. There’s always that slim possibility it’ll move quickly, but it rarely ever does. Say it’s a good day, and the line finally gets to the front about 10 minutes later.

The worker at the register takes the time to punch in the order, asks for a name and then collects the money. This takes about a minute, sometimes even more depending on how familiar the worker is with the computer system.

Another couple of minutes goes by before the barista is finally finished with the order, leaving only minutes to spare to get to class. After speed walking across campus, barely making it in time, the first sip of the drink leads to disappointment.

Starbucks is overrated. Its snacks and food choices aren’t bad, but nothing to rave about. The drinks have interesting names, which I personally find hard to remember, making ordering difficult. When it’s the rare occasion I do find myself grabbing something quick from Starbucks, I pretty much always regret it.

The drinks are also a little pricey. According to menu prices, a regular, large (Venti) plain coffee at Starbucks runs for about $2.45 without any additional add-ins. Its competitor, Dunkin’ Donuts, sells an extra-large regular, plain coffee, for about $2.29. Not only would you be spending a little more money by going to Starbucks, but you would also be getting less coffee than people who choose Dunkin’ Donuts.

If someone has the time to stand on line and the money to spend, then they’re free to do as they please. But if you ask me, I’d rather stay far away from Starbucks.