Tag Archives: students

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.” 

Female student reports being stalked by 2 men on Ammerman campus

A female student reported that two men stalked her on the Ammerman campus, according to an email sent to Suffolk County Community College students from the Office of Public Safety on Jan. 29.

The incident occurred Jan. 27 at approximately 5 p.m., Public Safety said.

One suspect was described as approximately 30 years old. The other is approximately 5-foot-6.  

Photo of one of the emergency phone poles located next to the Islip Arts building (taken by Elizabeth Maldonado)

Director of Fire and Public Safety Baycan Fideli said the suspects were not identified and, “no other further reports came to us matching [the reported] description.” 

“I feel horrible knowing that some student may not feel safe on campus because of it,” said student Alex Reahl, 18, of Centereach.

“It makes me slightly concerned,” said Sydney Keffel, 19. “It could happen anywhere, so it makes you be more cautious to pay attention.” 

Fideli says there are multiple steps in various directions. There is a standard procedure to handling stalking reports, but taking action against these reports vary case by case.

Once a report is made, Public Safety must find out where the incident took place — school, home or work, or another location — to contact proper authorities. They will then offer counseling options to the victim. 

Then they must try to identify the suspects.  

If they aren’t identified, under Clery Law, if there a threat to the larger community, an alert is sent out to all campuses of SCCC.

Fideli said he also sends alerts to surrounding college campuses like Stony Brook University, St. Joseph’s College and Farmingdale State College. 

If the suspects are identified are students, a no-contact order issued through Judicial Affairs. The dean administers any disciplinary actions. 

In the case that the suspect is identified, and they are not a student of SCCC, persona non grata order is isssued, bans the individual from coming on campus grounds. They can be arrested for violating the order. 

If the harassment goes any farther than campus grounds, local police will get involved. 

Fideli said his obstacle is reaching the mass number of students in a manner that will guarantee they see the information. He acknowledged that not all students actively check their email and often skim for class cancellations or responses from professors. He also fears that sending out text alerts will begin to null the extremity of the circumstance and be dismissed by students if done too often. 

Fideli would like professors to attach the Public Safety’s information and resources to their syllabus so that it is physically given to every student attending a class online and can be accessed online through blackboard.  

“Don’t give out your phone number,” Fideli said. The one thing he wants students to understand is to not give your phone number to other students, as harassment can be done through texts, and often starts there.  

Another resource is being revealed through email by Public Safety once a memo is ready for release. Public Safety has an app called Rave Guardian, which students can download on any smartphone.

The app allows students to call Public Safety or message with them, should someone want to text rather than call the department. There are dispatchers that can trace the device making contact and track their location. 

The Office of Public Safety encourages students to speak up if they feel uncomfortable or that the safety of themselves or others is affected. Students are also offered an escort to their car at their request if they feel unsafe by calling (631) 451-4242 or 311 from any campus phone.

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.

SCCC Starbucks barista Liv Sands brews up your java fix

Starbucks barista and Suffolk County Community College student Liv Sands. Photo by Rob Guerrero (April 25, 2018) 

Meet Liv Sands, a 21-year-old liberal arts student in her 4th semester who works part time as a barista at SCCC’s hottest spot, Starbucks, in the Babylon Student Center.

Sands said she likes working with good people and enjoys the reactions from customers when they try samples. She added that her favorite drink to make is the Caramel Macchiato.

As teachers use other tools, students find they are not using their textbooks

Photo: Mike Gaisser (April 11, 2018)

SCCC students are finding themselves not using textbooks they purchased at the beginning of a semester as more professors move to using presentations or other resources as replacements, according to numerous interviews.

Samantha Manco, 18, and Kelli Alfredson, 18, both in their second semesters, get their textbooks from the SCCC campus bookstore, where students can go to buy and return textbooks.

Alfredson has four textbooks. But she finds herself only using her laboratory book.

“I looked on the syllabus and then I bought them and then I found out that I didn’t need them,” she said. “Everything’s PowerPoint and online.” She has kept her books but said she is going to rent more next semester.

Manco also owns four textbooks. In the past, she found that she did not need some of them and returned them to the bookstore within the “first two weeks” because professors put the information on a PowerPoint.

“I don’t think they’re needed,” Manco said of the books. Now, she said, “I wait to buy them [and if the teacher] doesn’t say anything, I’m not gonna buy them.”

Kelly Lynch, one of the textbook managers at the SCCC campus bookstore at Ammerman said students  “typically” return textbooks at the end of the semester.

“We have a standard return policy that’s on their receipts. They have a week or two in the beginning of this term and then after that, they only have a couple of days. And then they should check in their books at the end of term if they rented them,” Lynch said.

They are other places students could go to get their textbooks, such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Danny Mazariegos, 18, who is currently in his second semester, opted to get his from Amazon. But he feels he “wasted money for no reason” for his classes last fall.

“Last semester, I bought four books and I didn’t use any of them,” he said. “All the assignments were online.” This semester, the only book Mazariegos uses is an English book.

Rosa Gambier, a biology professor at the Ammerman campus, said she doesn’t think students read the books that much in introductory-level biology courses. And while she does assign books, she admits students can get away with not using them if they pay attention to the lectures, which includes PowerPoint and YouTube videos, along with study questions.

“If you grab the materials in the lecture without reading the book, it works for you and you can pass the test,” Gambier said.

But Gambier said students will not pass the more advanced biology courses if they don’t read the books. Even with good lectures. But the textbooks are “really readable and interesting,” she said.

“You’re a college student. You’re supposed to read the book,” Gambier said. “In most bio classes, you have to memorize a lot of terminology.”

Currently in his second semester as well, Alex Mecklosky, 19, is using two textbooks he got from the bookstore.

“They’ve served a purpose,” he said. The professor is saying “go to the book.” However, last semester wasn’t the same situation, as Mecklosky has more books and didn’t use them as much. “We read one of the books in my class and other book, we didn’t get to.”

When students register for classes, the SCCC website will tell you what books are needed for a particular course. “If [we] don’t need it, then don’t put it on their site,” Manco said.

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.

20180410_221247.jpg

Screenshot taken from usfa.fema.gov

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.

5 things to do on campus during the warm weather

As we near the final month of the semester, the weather is beginning to get nicer and more welcoming to the outdoor activities that have been put on hold during the winter. If you happen to have free time between classes and are met with the warm spring weather, try out these five things to do!

1. Take your lunch outside.

Lunch is a very important meal of the day, and it’s important that students take time to fuel their bodies to make it through a day of classes. The cafeteria, located in the Babylon Student Center, is a very noisy and crowded place to eat. There’s limited room and people laughing and conversing loudly constantly. With the weather getting nicer, it’s a good idea to utilize the tables scattered outside the cafeteria. Not only will you be enjoying your meal without the buzz of the crowded cafeteria, you’ll also be getting in some fresh air and vitamin D from the sun.

2. Switch up your studying situation.

Many students find themselves studying or catching up on some homework in between their classes. Some students will do their work in their cars, others quick in the hallways, but majority of them spend their time in the Huntington Library. The library is a great place to study and get work done, as it’s always quiet, but it can be stuffy or stale in there. Switch things up and take your work to some of the tables or benches outside in the Veterans Plaza. The fresh air and change of scenery may help some students focus better, and being outside might not make the task of doing work so daunting.

3. Get some fresh air.

As college students, sometimes the stress from all the work due and upcoming tests is too much to handle. Everyone needs to take a mental break every now and then, otherwise they’ll start to feel anxious and overwhelmed. During your breaks, take a little “you” time. Sit on the benches provided in the center of the plaza, or anywhere around campus for some relaxation.

Sidney Forgione, 22,  a liberal arts major, has a few breaks in between her classes and is looking forward to the upcoming warmer weather.

“If I have an hour between classes, I’m planning on sitting outside and listening to some music to help relax a bit,” she said. There are benches and sitting areas scattered throughout campus, just waiting to be noticed and utilized. “It’s a nice way to wind down before the stress of the next class, sometimes I’ll even just watch what other students are doing, just observe and relax.”

4. Play games.

One great part of the Ammerman campus is the amount of space available in the plaza for activities. Grab a group of friends and head out the the grass for some fun. Get creative! Many games can be played among a group, such as Ultimate Frisbee, football, dodgeball, even a simple game of catch. The only downside is that balls, Frisbee and other types of equipment aren’t provided by the school; you’d have to come prepared with the equipment yourself.

Trevor Archambault, 20, is a liberal arts major who is also looking forward to the nicer weather. “Me and my friends will usually sit around in the plaza when the weather is nice, play some music and throw a Frisbee around to pass time. It’s a great way to get everyone together and have a great time.”

5. Go for a walk around the track.

Exercise is a pretty important part of staying healthy. However, not many people have the means to work out every day. Another great part about this campus is the outdoor track over by the Brookhaven Gymnasium. The track is open to whoever wants to walk it, unless it’s reserved for team practices. A great way to get in some simple exercise would be to briskly walk a few laps around the track during your free time. Doing so gets your heart rate up and helps burn those calories instead of sitting around waiting for your next class.

Take advantage of this beautiful campus by doing any of these five things during your break. There’s still some time before the end of the semester, and taking in fresh air will having your body and mind thanking you.