In this day and age most college students are big texters. What comes along with that are the emojis and they are small digital images or icons used to express an idea or emotion. They liven up text conversations and make them more entertaining.
Some teachers, in an attempt to be more relatable and seem cool to their students, use these emojis in emails and messages to their students. The reaction from students is mixed.
In a Twitter poll, “Is it weird if one of your teachers attempts to use emojis in their messages?,” the results were dead even: 10 voters thought is was OK, while another 10 didn’t.
Kevin Kamping, a 20-year-old liberal arts major, thinks it’s OK. “I don’t find it weird if a teacher wants to throw in an emoji here and there. It makes the teacher more relatable and shows a lighter side to them.” Teachers are always trying to relate to younger students, using emojis is just another tactic, he said.
While some students don’t have a problem with the emoji use from a teacher, others feel differently.
Lucas Moreno, a 20-year-old liberal arts major, said, “I hate the fact that my teachers try to use emojis. It feels like they are trying too hard to relate to students that it gets annoying seeing them try over and over. It just seems forced. Just be yourself.”
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.”
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.”
This is an ongoing post about how the coronavirus pandemic is impacting Suffolk County Community College.
May 15, 2020
On their calendar of events webpage, Suffolk County Community College has instructed that, “If the College cancels classes due to weather or other emergency, faculty are responsible for ensuring that missed instructional time is recouped, in compliance with applicable academic standards and College policies. Holding a make-up class is an option but not required.
Beginning May 20, at midnight and continuing until May 22, 2020 at 11:30 p.m., Suffolk is hosting the opportunity for any and all students in need of making up their classes and work, the chance to do so.
Working simultaneously with the May 22 make-up dates is an additional installment of Suffolk’s virtual career advising, which begins at 10 a.m. and continues until 2 p.m. So, any students wishing to make-up their work and attend a Zoom conference to air their concerns can do so within the same time frame.
May 15, 2020
For those seeking online instruction and guidance for their future career goals, Suffolk is hosting a Zoom conference from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today, May 15.
Students will have a chance to meet with a career advisor over Zoom to ask any related questions or discuss any uncertainties pertaining to career opportunities.
Suffolk hosts these Zoom conferences every Friday at the same time for any students wishing to participate – the next session will be held May 22, during the same time period, with the same ID and password for the meeting.
The Zoom conference ID is 993 9595 8486 and the password is 101010.
May 11, 2020
Suffolk County Community College, Sharks Stay In(volved), has reached out to students via email to continue connecting while everyone is at home.
For those who want to make their own masks at home, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and the first 200 people will receive free materials.
For the more artistic people, you can submit your recreated artwork made from random household objects to the previous email and the first three places will receive a cash prize.
If you’ve been binge watching Netflix, you can join on May 13 at 7 p.m. to watch Insidious. Email email@example.com thirty minutes before the event to receive the link.
Have a talent? Email your audition video by May 15 to be part SCCC’s live talent show on May 22 at 7 p.m. The video must be no longer than seven minutes and emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
During the time of social distancing, Suffolk County Community College has started to roll out various virtual programs for students to participate in.
An online fashion show will be held May 4-15, but without models. With the top three contestants winning up to $100. You can find more info here.
Suffolk is also holding an art competition to unleash students’ inner artists. The goal is to recreate works of art form with anything you have at home. The art will be judged on innovation, likeness and creativity. With the top three contestants winning up to $100. You can find more info here.
For more programs and contests, check out our Instagram pages:
Suffolk is holding a virtual Job Search Success presentation on May 13, 2020. This will help students learn more about the process of finding a job.
In order to join this meeting, you must use the meeting ID 967 0327 3473, and the password 1hfk5d.
May 7, 2020
A recent email sent out by the college explains any procedures students must do regarding their grades. It recommends students contact their professors immediately if they are unsure about anything regarding class.
They also list options for students who are suffering from poor grades. Receive an INC grade. Receiving an INC grade will allow more time for students to complete their coursework and still receive a letter grade. A coaching support system will be implemented to help students complete their work. Choosing to take an INC grade benefits in two ways, it keeps the credits you registered for and the same tuition you paid for and if the INC grade is for a prerequisite for a fall course, you will be allowed to the fall course on your schedule,
Another option is a course withdrawal which can be done up to May 19. Some things to take note if you do a course withdrawal, no refund will be given, you will lose those credits, you will need to register again for that course, taking a W will not affect your GPA, and check how this will affect financial aid. Down below is a link to a withdrawal form.
Various events have been announced as part of Sharks Stay In(volved).
On Friday, May 8, 2020 at 5:00PM, there will be a Free Money Virtual Game Show. Students will be able to test their knowledge of things such as music, TV show theme songs, and Broadway shows.
Also on May 8 from 1-2PM will be a conversation on Zoom about mental health in this current situation, as well as ways to build community. The Zoom Meeting ID for this talk is 264 754 0827 and the password is 541877.
Auditions for May 22’s virtual talent show are being accepted through May 15. Students looking to showcase their talents are asked to send their videos to email@example.com.
Every Friday from 10AM to 2PM, students can get virtual Drop-In Career Advice with a career advisor. In order to get into these meetings, one must use the Zoom password 98765.
May 6, 2020
Although the college is no longer having its 2020 commencement ceremony, it is doing its best to recognize the graduating students.
According to an email sent to students today, the college is in the process of: designing a social media photo frame for graduates to use on their platforms, distributing “celebration boxes” to graduates, producing a video of student leaders and photos highlighting the year that can be viewed on the 2020 graduate celebration website with a scrolling list of graduate names.
The “celebration boxes” will include a congratulatory letter, the Suffolk County College alumni pin, a decal and “a commemorative gift”.
If you meet the requirements for graduation, you are urged to apply for graduation by May 10 to be considered for May or August graduation. All students are required to submit a graduation application to start the review process. If you have already applied for graduation, you do not need to apply again.
— Elizabeth Maldonado
May 5, 2020
Ammerman Campus Executive Dean, P. Wesley Lundburg, and Faculty Coordinator of Mental Health Services, Julia Keily, reached out to Ammerman campus students with an important reminder. The Mental Health Services team, which offered free and confidential on-campus support to all students before the pandemic, remains available to provide help.
“As students, we recognize that you now have finals to prepare for and the pressure to complete the semester,” the e-mail sent on May 4, said. “As a team, we have seamlessly transitioned our services remotely and can provide mental health counseling over the phone or by video conferencing, depending on preferences and accessibility. We are here – we are here to listen, to support, to problem solve, to advocate, to connect.”
To obtain assistance, students can contact a mental health professional through firstname.lastname@example.org. As the SCCC Cares Initiative affirms, “At Suffolk, we are Creating Awareness and Readiness to End Stigma about mental health issues.”
The New York State Department of Health has reached out to SCCC to recruit many employees for their new initiative to help slow the spreading of COVID-19.
Employees would contact people who had COVID-19 and get in contact with all the people they’ve been in contact with, then call all of those people. NYS is also looking for team supervisors and people to address the needs of those contacted. This establishes communication throughout the state and will increase testing to curb the epidemic in NYS.
With the closure of many jobs, people are left with no source of income. NYS has offered a position that pays and helps control the further spreading of the virus. There are a list of requirements to be considered for the job, such as to be 18 years or older, to meet the description requirement, to pass the interview, and to then complete training.
An email was issued by Christy Banks to all students of Suffolk County Community College on Monday, April 27, 2020. The subject of the email was called “We’re Here For You!” The premise of the email was too remind the students that they are missed greatly and hoping everyone is in good health.
The email also entails certain resources SCCC students and families can use such as the food pantry they provide. It also stated that, while the physical campus is closed, the inner workings of the College is still at work. We have virtual programs happening every week, so please take a look at our Sharks Stay In(volved) webpage.”
Over the last few weeks, Suffolk Community College has been sending a survey to students in an effort to stay engaged and develop an enhanced teaching experience.
Through the survey, which takes only four to five minutes complete, the college wants to know how students are doing with the online learning experience, and the results could helps SCCC improve its online presence.
SCCC is now allowing for partial payments for the spring 2020 tuition Payment Plan. Students must pay at least 25% of their outstanding balance, which will make them eligible to register for summer and fall 2020 classes if their remaining balance is $600 or less.
Students must pay their bills from previous semesters in full and have until May 15 to pay their entire spring 2020 balance. Any payments made on or after May 16 are subjected to a $30 late fee. The Web Access Fee (for payments of $50 or more) will be limited to three charges per semester.
Students can pay their bill online or by mail at Suffolk County Community College, P.O. Box 1126, Selden, NY 11784.
Amid the coronavirus outbreak, SCCC sent out an e-mail reassuring students that the food pantries on all campuses will remain open.
Managed by faculty employees, each food pantry has pre-bagged or boxed combinations of items. Each bag or box includes pasta or rice, canned fruit, canned vegetables and proteins. A limited amount of frozen food is available. Considering SCCC remains closed to students and the public, it is required to inform Public Safety of your intentions when entering the location.
All locations will be open on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. The volunteers in the facility will confidentially assist you, and no personal income information is necessary to validate your current financial situation. If you have any other questions or concerns, please contact your respective campus at:
SCCC announced that it would continue to reduce workforce density guidelines outlined by website states the college will meet a directive from Gov. Andrew Cuomo through May 15. All Suffolk County Community College campuses will remain closed, and all college staff will continue to work remotely during that time.
An alert on the college’s home page also encouraged students to contact a department or individual by email, by searching through the college directory.
As Suffolk County Community College has shifted from in-class instruction to an online-only learning environment, students have had to cope with the difficulties and limitations that have arisen.
These difficulties extend past students who major in, or took classes pertaining to, hands-on, practical learning experiences such as auto-shop students or art students. Indeed, these difficulties fall to the student body overall.
That is because many students each year choose to rent their textbooks instead of buying them. However, because our Ammerman campus bookstore is now closed, students have no way to return their textbooks in-person, yet are still expected to return them by the May 20 deadline..
To correct their oversight, Suffolk has sent out an email which addresses the issue at hand.
In said email, Suffolk acknowledges that its campuses are closed, but offers a solution to students who need to return their rentals.
Students are advised to check the status of their campus bookstore – at Ammerman, the bookstore is closed.
From there, students are informed that a free label will be sent along with every “rental reminder” email; that a box for books is required; and that, after the label printed and box is packaged, it should be brought to the nearest FedEx store and mailed.
Suffolk continues by stating that students should print their label no later than May 20th and to give FedEx your books no later than May 27th.
Additionally, the bookstore has given its renters an additional 15-day window of its non-return charge period, a period which stipulates that there will be no charges made to your collateral credit card for non-returns or late returns until after 15 days of the return date mentioned above have elapsed.
During this time of uncertainty, things can seem pretty crazy. Not being able to leave your house can take its toll. But Suffolk County Community College has been releasing a series of free programs. These programs keep students informed and engaged at home.
Some of the activities include a social distance event that is being held virtually on YouTube, Student Government elections, choosing a Broadway show to watch at home, competing in e-sports, and so much more.
SCCC will hold its third annual “Take the Night Back” virtually on April 24, at 7 p.m. This event helps to bring awareness to stop violence in our community and especially our homes. You can sign up on Take the Night Back.
COVID- 19 has caused a great deal of uncertainty surrounding this spring semester and the summer one to follow.
Finally, after a few weeks of waiting around while this was sorted out, we have something that we haven’t in a long while: clarity. Clarity on the academic schedule and how everything is going to play out.
In an email from Paul Beaudin, vice president for academic affairs, the schedule revisions were laid out.
For spring 2020, in addition to May 20, May 21 and May 22 have been added as well to make up lost instruction time. For summer 2020, all courses held in the first five-week and eight-week sessions will be offered in the online modality.
Also for summer 2020, there will be a second eight-week session to provide the opportunity to offer face-to-face courses over eight weeks running June 22 to Aug. 11. However, these classes may need to run online if the social distancing mandate is extended.
College extends period of reduced density to April 29
On a College Brief e-mail sent out to the college community on April 13, Interim President Louis Petrizzo said all SCCC campuses are to remain closed to all students and the public for another two weeks. He added that the extension will be revisited before April 29 and another brief will be sent to update everyone regarding staffing past that date.
Additionally, Petrizzo said the college received the first details about the allocation of federal funds to support SCCC during this time of adversity. At least half of the funds are designated to assist students with expenses caused by the interruption of campus operations. The other half will be used by the college to cover remote operations expenses.
“We are awaiting details on the timing for receipt of funding in approximately two weeks,” Petrizzo said. “In the meantime, I have charged a task force with determining how to address student needs and the best way to disburse funds upon receipt.”
The e-mail also mentioned that SCCC’s IT staff had arranged 92 laptops to students, 83 laptops to administrators, and 14 laptops to faculty for home use, and they are expecting a delivery with even more. Besides that, “IT has also received the first 50 of 150 hotspots ordered to provide home internet service to students in need,” and more than 70 students in need have received assistance through the COVID-19 Fund Application.
Petrizzo reminded students to register for summer sessions — registration began on April 13 — and he thanked the college’s staff members for the work that continues to be done. He reminded the whole college community to continue to take care of their health.
If you are an SCCC student and you were tested positive for COVID-19, notify your Campus Associate Dean of Student Services:
COVID-19 Emergency Fund surpasses 50% of $15K goal
As of Wednesday, SCCC’s Foundation’s COVID 19 Emergency Fund has reached $7,785 of its $15,000 stretch goal. With just 49 donors, the fund has reached 52% of the desired amount, according to the donation page.
The whole reason for the fund is to provide grants to students struggling financially who wouldn’t be able to afford the tools required to take part in online learning, such as laptops. Students need them more than ever after Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered that students and staff switch to a remote learning program to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
The site says that “These grants are available thanks to the generosity of the college community and our Foundation’s generous donors. If you would like to join us in helping to support students through this difficult time, please make a gift today. All gifts are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law.”
Summer priority registration begins April 13. The first session will be online-only
Summer courses are still open as shown on the main website announcing how students can still continue their education despite the trying times of the COVID-19 pandemic.
An email from Science Professor Tracy DeFio from the eastern campus confirmed that even priority registration will be taken into account, saying, “Priority registration begins on Monday April 13. Log into MySCCCC and check View Holds in Self Service Banner to see your registration date.”
The first eight-week summer session and the first five week session begins on June 1. Both are online-only.
The second eight week session begins on June 22, while the second five-week session begins on July 6.
SCCC chairs and deans can be contacted
Staff, despite being off the campus grounds, are still available, and students are encouraged to keep in touch with them by with thin the coronavirus information page.
“Please keep in touch with your supervisors, your Chairs, and our Deans. You are also encouraged to continue to monitor this website for frequent updates.”
The library databases are also still up and running to be used at any time.
Suffolk entered its second week of online learning today, following Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s order on March 11 in a move to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Graduation ceremonies, school events and clubs have all been cancelled or are to be continued via video chats, emails, and virtual discussion forums.
Classes will continue via video communication networks such as Zoom, Blackboard Ultra and Skype. Some professors are using private YouTube accounts to film lectures, PowerPoints and assignments for their students to watch.
A number of COVID-19 cases from staff and students have been confirmed on Suffolk campuses, according to emails from the administration.
With over 100,000 cases in New York State, and 1.2 million worldwide, there are over 1,000 confirmed cases in Suffolk County.
Professors who are issuing classes from home have been notified by their schools to be virtually available to answer any students’ questions and to stay in contact with their classes.
Students should have received a phone call from an SCCC member asking about their transition to online classes.
For now, students and staff are urged to stay home, wash their hands and respect social-distancing.
COVID-19 Emergency Fund
The Suffolk Community College Foundation has established a COVID-19 Emergency Fund, according to an email from Mary Lou Araneo, vice president for Institutional Advancement. The funds collected will go toward providing assistance to students in “critical financial hardship that threatens their continued enrollment as a result of the coronavirus.”
Interim President Louis Petrizzo said in an email to faculty that the college’s board decided to keep all campuses closed to students and to the public through April 15, with the majority of staff working from home.
Petrizzo said in the email that “Public Safety and a portion of Plant Operations and Facilities staff must continue to be on the campuses. HR, Payroll, Business and Financial Affairs, as well as a portion of Student Affairs, Legal, and Leadership will function remotely, but may be called upon to come in periodically to ensure delivery of service when absolutely necessary. Vice Presidents and Campus Executive Deans will coordinate with supervisors to develop staffing needs. Some employees may be called to come in periodically to ensure delivery of service when absolutely necessary. “
Computers for students
In the same email, Petrizzo said the college has supplied laptops to students and staff to assist with remote instruction and remote operations.
Additionally, “250 Dell laptops will be delivered to the College for student use from SUNY next week, and we have been advised that Chromebooks will also be delivered.”
He added that almost 200 faculty and staff have volunteered to call students about their current well-being, and any questions or concerns they are having while learning remotely. As of April 3, 4,355 students were called.
New Deadline for Students of the Tuition Payment Plan
Suffolk County Community College (SCCC) notified students in an email sent April 8 that Tuition Payment Plan late fees will be waived through April 30. The college is trying to accommodate students that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Tuition Payment Plan is a set of three payments for students to pay for their semester’s tuition. It is spread throughout the first half of the semester, with the final installment at the midpoint.
SCCC first postponed the deadline for the final payment of the TPP by a week in March when Spring Break was extended to Mar 29. Since then, students and families have faced financial hardships due to closings and layoffs as a result of COVID-19. The school has acknowledged these struggles and made an effort to help by waiving the late fee of $30 until April 30 but is still requesting payment.
The school is asking students to pay either online or by mail. Students can pay the remainder of their bill at my.sunysuffolk.edu under thePay My Bill link or mail in a check or money order. If students wish to send their payment via mail, they must send it to Suffolk County Community College, PO Box 1126, Selden, NY 11784 attached to the bottom of their bill and their student ID number.
If you are not an international student, it is very likely you at least know one of them on the Ammerman campus. For years, Suffolk County Community College has provided developmental English classes to people from all over the world who seek to pursue a better education and, perhaps, even a career in the United States.
There are two different programs available for those students.English Language Learners, a non-credit program, is open to any adults interested in improving their language skills. English as Second Language, a for-credit program, is designed to prepare students for college-level work in degree programs.
Prof. Laura Cudia is the coordinator of the ESL and ELL program on the Ammerman campus, and she manages it with the help of other assistant professors, such as Rich Lauria. Lauria, who has been teaching for 20 years, started at SCCC five years ago. He is also an ESL advisor and helps guide students daily.
Since 2015, Lauria has noticed that the decline in college enrollment has affected the ESL program as well.
“We are countercyclical to the economy. No one wants to cheer for a recession, but if we hit some tougher economic times, and people start to get laid off, that’s when they decide maybe it’s time to get some more education or training to be able to change careers or to get a better job,” he said prior to the coronavirus restrictions that have shut down many businesses and forced classes to go online.
However, the enrollment decline is not the only obstacle faced by the program. Unfortunately, joining the program is not something most students want.
“It’s like I am selling something people don’t want but need. Sometimes students come in, especially the ones who have taken ESL classes in high school, and they don’t want to take ESL classes anymore. Sometimes I have to convince students that they need this, so that’s an interesting position to be in,” he said. “This program is the foundation for any future studies they are going to do.”
The ELL program offers a placement test. The test concludes their reading, writing, listening and speaking skills. For those already in college, their ESL classes are determined by the regular college placement test.
Racine Topaloğlu, a former ELL student from Germany, is now pursuing a degree at SCCC and working as an assistant in the ESL office. Topaloğlu said the program helped her with her grammar and writing skills.
“The grammar class was more difficult to me than the composition class. In Germany, I was a better writer. I love to write. Professor Lauria’s classes were full of motivation, and we could write about our own lives and personal experiences. That helped me a lot.”
Josseline Soto, a current ESL student from Guatemala, said, “The way professor Lauria explains the language makes it really easy. My English has improved a lot since I started taking classes at Suffolk.”
Sevket Arar, her classmate from Turkey, agreed.
“I was a part of the ELL program, and now I’m taking a couple of ESL classes. It helps a lot with my communication at work. Lauria is the best professor.”
In his office, Lauria has flags, currency notes and a map with pins on different countries. Every new student can pinout where they are from. The program has received people from all over the globe, such as Ecuador, Peru, Haiti, Korea, Pakistan, and Egypt. Most international students are usually from China, aiming to finish their studies at Stony Brook University.
Lauria follows a motivation theory, which comprises a five-tier model of human needs. “The Maslow Hierarchy of Needs is a pyramid. You can’t feel fulfilled in life and relationships unless you feel safe first, you feel like you belong. I make sure they feel like they are safe first, feel like they belong next, and then we can work on their esteem,” he said.
His main goal is to make foreign students feel accepted, as he guides them into the next step of their academic life.
“I try to put myself in their shoes. A little empathy goes a long way. And as an advisor, I have to ask them: where are you going from here?”
Blackboard will be the primary tool for online instruction at the college following the announcement March 11 that in-person classes would be canceled for the rest of the semester, said Paul Beaudin, vice president for academic affairs,
“All of our courses are web-enabled through Blackboard,” Beaudin said. “The faculty members have a variety of other things that they can embed within Blackboard which will be very helpful in order to provide robust interaction. We want to emphasize that we really hope that students and faculty have the time to be able to engage in levels of interaction which don’t diminish those kinds of conversations we want to happen in every class.”
There are lots of options for teachers to incorporate in their online classes, including Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. These features help faculty communicate visually with students.
“All of our professors have been trained or are currently being trained in Blackboard, so we have a number of sessions that that have been offered this week and will be offered next week as well,” Beaudin said “Basically, it will help support faculty to engage students through the Blackboard modality.”
Students who don’t have access to computers off campus or with no internet available will be able to go to the college library. Working at a distance from one another, they will be able to use the tools available for them in the online classes. There will also be tutoring available on campus, online, and on the telephone.
Many students and faculty had their own thoughts on the move online.
“It’s gonna be difficult to learn how to do online classes because I’ve heard no good things about them,” Christopher Dillon, a radio and television major at the college, said. “Personally, it doesn’t really bother me that much.”
“I do think it’s going to be much harder to understand a lot of (the material),” Sarah Helkowski, a libral arts major said. “I feel like we’re not going to get as much education as we deserve and pay for.”
“It kind of sucks,” said Andrea Ingreassellino, a technical theater major. “A lot of theater classes can’t be taken online, so we have to deal with that.”
“I am nervous about it,” Kristen Hoffman, an English professor, said. “I feel like it is nerve-wracking for (the students) and that they will be confused and not have the full resources that we could otherwise give to them if they were in-person students.”
Beaudin has a word of advice for both students and staff.
“We need to be gentle with each other and gentle with our students.”
A sign notifying students of a ban on personal reusable cups at the Ammerman Campus due to Coronavirus. This is one of the many precautions Suffolk County Community College is taking to reduce the spread of the virus. (Ashley Tyrie)
Many students don’t understand what life is like for people with disabilities. One club, Access to a Balanced Learning Experience, or AABLE, hosts events to help change that.
On March 4, AABLE, alongside the Student Government Association and the Community Service Club, hosted the Dining in the Dark event during Common Hour, which showed students how challenging it is to eat as a visually impaired person.
The event, which was held in the Babylon Student Center’s cafeteria, started attendees being seated. They were each were given blindfolds to put on to simulate being blind, as well as ponchos to wear in case the food spilled onto their clothes.
Then, they were served beans and rice, both chicken and beef with vegetables, vegetable dumplings and vanilla pudding for dessert. The students were asked to pay attention to their own experiences eating the food rather than other things around them, such as unrelated conversations and their smartphones.
Attendee Jason Fried noticed that his other senses were heightened when being blindfolded, specifically his hearing. Not only did he find it difficult to find his fork, he also felt a bit of intimidation and anxiety due to the blindfold.
“I thought we would have to get up and go make our own plates at the front of the room,” Fried said. “I could not imagine how I could be successful in doing that.”
Matt Galea, an attendee who has a blind family member, felt that trying to get any food was the most challenging part of the meal.
“It’s very difficult, because you can’t exactly see where the food is, and it is very difficult to pick up,” Galea said. “I feel that it is very difficult to be [a visually impaired person] and it would take a very good amount of courage to face this every day.”
Guest speaker Marylin Tuzzi, who came from the Suffolk Independent Living Organization, an organization that helps people with disabilities in Suffolk “to gain effective control and direction of their lives,” according to the group’s website, spoke about her experiences with being blind. She has worked at SILO for 13 years and volunteered there as a transcriber 30 years ago.
Tuzzi said that thanks to technology, being able to read screens, dining out for visually impaired people has become slightly easier, as they can look up the menu items for restaurants beforehand.
“We know what we want to eat,” Tuzzi said. “We just want to be treated equally like everybody else.”
Several attendees said events like Dining in the Dark are important for people to attend.
“I feel that people at the college, whether they’re students or employees, need to pay more attention to the day-to-day experience that a vision-impaired student goes through, and try to understand what we can do to make sure that they can be successful at the college,” Fried said.
Meesha Johnson, a SILO representative, said, “I think the most important thing is to make this an inclusive environment where everyone is treated equally, whether you have a disability or not.”