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SCHOOL SCENE A Special Supplement to the Sullivan County Democrat

A look at activities in Sullivan County Community College

SECTION S • APRIL 25, 2014 • CALLICOON, NY


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SULLIVAN COUNTY DEMOCRAT

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Academics, renovations and salaries on the rise at SUNY ach day, college presidents grapple with duties as diverse as guiding the implementation of a comprehensive plan for the future, to inking labor agreements and overseeing the development of new college courses. She or he makes sure the community is on board with support for the college, and tries to ensure that the institution remains viable as a cultural and intellectual resource. In her first year as president of SUNY Sullivan in Loch Sheldrake, Dr. Karin Hilgersom has done it all — and found time for a little construction management as well. “We’ve remodeled the dining hall,” she said, squiring a visitor into the student eatery that’s a welcome change from the dimly lit and dated room it was. Bright and airy, the cafeteria is wireless-connected with new

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The forward movement of SUNY Sullivan is well in play, as the college furthers its plans for an on-site research and development institute . . . tables and booths overlooking the campus and a new floor of durable, eco-conscious bamboo that was installed by SUNY Sullivan staff. For the refurbishing of another room at the Kaplan Student Union, Hilgersom herself purchased cheery framed posters to adorn the walls. “I love it here,” the president said with a grin. “I’m having a good time.” CONTINUED ON PAGE 3S

‘A Look at Activities at Sullivan County Community College’ Published by Catskill-Delaware Publications, Inc. Publishers of the

(845) 887-5200 Callicoon, NY 12723 April 25, 2014 • Vol. CXXIII, No. 89

With a well-educated faculty who care deeply for their students, ‘we’re like a private college but at a much lower cost,’ says SUNY Sullivan President Dr. Karin Hilgersom.

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Fred W. Stabbert III Frank Rizzo Dan Hust Ken Cohen Jeanne Sager, Kathy Daley, Eli Ruiz Kaitlin Carney, Anya Tikka Liz Tucker Sandy Schrader Katie Peake, Cecilia Lamy Laura Stabbert Susan Owens Patricia Biedinger, Joanna Blanchard Michelle Reynolds Janet Will Ruth Huggler, Rosalie Mycka, Tracy Swendsen, Elizabeth Finnegan, Petra Duffy, Nyssa Calkin Richard Conroy


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APRIL, 2014

FROM PAGE 2S

ON THE DRAWING BOARD At least two new positions are in the offing for the college. Advertisements have gone out for a full-time international coordinator to attract students from other countries, and for a fulltime speech and theater teacher who will also work with students to produce plays and musicals. The latter will be welcomed to a newly renovated lobby at Seelig Theater, which attracts crowds of community members to performances produced by experts outside the college community. In daytime, the lobby, with new floor, furniture and acoustic panels, serves as an academic gathering place for students. Dr. Hilgersom noted that administrators are close to submitting a request to the SUNY system for a new fall course. Nourishment Arts will prepare students to work in the culinary fields at public schools, hospitals, hotels and, locally, for the Center for Discovery. “The course will link sustainability with the culinary arts,” said Hilgersom, “and we’ll add a strand in how to

“They’ll learn to procure and prepare healthy meals and [it will] give them an understanding of sustainable agriculture.” Dr. Karin Hilgersom President, SUNY Sullivan |

manufacture healthy meals, helping students to become food and beverage entrepreneurs. They’ll learn to procure and prepare healthy meals and give them an understanding of sustainable agriculture.” PLANNING AND PAY RAISES After working without a labor contract and with no pay raises since 2009, the college and the Professional Staff Association (PSA) ratified a three-year contract in February. Working for almost five years without a labor agreement “psychologically was hurting the institution,”

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Hilgersom said. The PSA, which comprises 100 faculty and professional staff, received a 12 percent salary increase for year one, two percent for year two and three percent for year three. To be able to afford the raises, the college “retrenched” seven positions, two of which were in management, Hilgersom said. Some of the employees were prepared to retire; the rest were negotiated into other positions at the college. “The salaries needed a lot of improvement and still need improvement,” she said, “but we are moving in the correct direction.” Charting another course is SUNY Sullivan’s new strategic plan. The blueprint spells out the college’s vision and the work needed to achieve it. Principles that figure prominently in the strategic plan are excellence, expanded educational opportunity, passion, action and reflection. Highly valued are sustainability, holistic wellness, resilience, collaboration, transformation, respect and responsibility.

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The forward movement of SUNY Sullivan is well in play, as the college furthers its plans for an on-site research and development institute and revels in its recognition as an important college leader in sustainability education and practice. To put it in simple terms, the president said, “we’re getting there.”

Credits All photos and stories for this special SUNY Sullivan section are by Sullivan County Democrat Reporter/Photographer Kathy Daley. The Democrat would like to thank the SUNY Sullivan faculty and staff for all its cooperation in the creation of this publication.

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‘If we cook it, brew it, they will come’ And they do to new enrichment classes W

College Director of Special Events Hillary Egeland says community outreach via exciting noncredit courses is a key part of the college’s mission.

a Lake Huntington-based fine beverage distributor. “It’s a combination course of class-

work, chemistry and samplings,” said Egeland. “It’s filled up — we got more people than we expected.”

“Community Learning is a new program,” explains Egeland, who is SUNY Sullivan’s Director of Special Events and Campus Activities. “It was called Lifelong Learning until 2011,” when the enrollment dwindled. Not so as of this past autumn, when classes in jazz, singing and songwriting and other music workshops began attracting local people. This spring’s belly dancing and zumba classes are tremendously popular. As is Gluten Free Baking and Cooking taught by faculty member Dr. Cynthia Marcello, and Friday Night Flavor featuring noted local chef Andy Yeomans teaching hors d’oeuvres preparation, entree and wine pairing, and creating desserts from fondues to soufflés. Other courses include watercolor painting, drawing, quilting, cake decorating, and a course in music programming. Another teaches video game design to high school students. Faculty, staff and students are welcomed to participate in the Community Learning courses as well, with students taking the classes for free. “Our job here is to educate people — adults and youth,” said Egeland. “The community is our support system and vice versa. Our college is an integral part of the health of the community.”

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ith the gluten-free market estimated at 4 million people, SUNY Sullivan decided to jump on board in mapping out its new affordable non-credit courses known as Community Learning. Ditto with a more local phenomenon – that of the number of craft breweries popping up across the county. “I’m trying to stay with the trends,” said Hillary Egeland, in charge of Community Learning. “The whole point is to outreach to the community with art, cooking, physical education and physical enhancement. We try to keep the costs low, and it gets people on campus and helps us to say ‘we are here for you.’” Roscoe Brewing Company’s Tera Luty is delighted with the Beginner’s Guide to Craft Beer and Brewing, held at the college on Saturdays until May 17. “Before I came to this job, I knew nothing about the industry,” said Luty. “The class is helping me understand the science behind brewing, helping me to understand the principles. It’s making me a little more wellrounded.” The 10-week course by a master brewer teaches novice and professional brewers the how-to’s — from the malting of beer to packaging, shipping and distribution. Included are field trips to an established brewery in Kingston, and to Gasko Meyer,


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A focus for college: Creating a healthy world change he Healthy World Institute planned for SUNY Sullivan is just up Nick Cahill’s alley. Cahill, who is working towards an associate’s degree in Green Building Maintenance and Management, has dreams of inventing daylighting systems, which link the art of building design with natural sunlight to illuminate rooms. To get there, he will need special classes and internships with companies in his choNick Cahill sen field. Enter SUNY Sullivan’s newest “green” leap: a proposal for a research and development institute, the Healthy World Studies and Tech Transfer Institute, more easily termed the Healthy World Institute. Planned to dominate a campus knoll, the Institute would serve as the gateway to SUNY Sullivan’s U-shaped series of interconnected buildings. The Institute would position the college as a key economic engine for the county at the same time as it attracts more students. According to college officials, space in the building, and courses offered to students, will be dedicated to applied learning, food and beverage technology transfer (how to get a product to its intended market), entrepreneurship and green technology. Other emphases will be on “food shed” management — a food shed being the geographic setting for where a food is produced, transported and consumed — and on software application development. Expanding “pathway” options for students would also include sustainable farming and production, and computer applications for agri-business. The college hopes to hear within the next few months about its December request for a $12 million 2020 Challenge Grant from the SUNY system to help construct the Institute. The 2020 is a joint effort between the Governor and SUNY to assist economic development plans on college campuses and their surrounding communities. Should SUNY turn down the local proposal, “I will go out and search for private donors,” said College Presi-

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dent Dr. Karin Hilgersom. “Our Board has voted on this as a direction for the college.” The Institute would become a regional center for piloting advancements and programming. Manufacturing firms related to the healthy food and beverage industry, green technology, health and wellness and so on, would round out the site, on an 18-acre campus parcel. Students will benefit from partnerships with businesses, non-profit employers, county agencies and state entities “working toward healthy people, a healthy food shed and a healthy economy,” according to the college’s summary submitted to the state. Partnerships with the four-year SUNY Morrisville in central New York and with SUNY IT Rome/Utica will allow associate degree-holding students from SUNY Sullivan to earn baccalaureate degrees in management and business, green technology and IT-related fields. The Healthy World Institute proposal has met with no small amount of applause from around the county. Cornell Cooperative Extension is on board to serve as liaison between SUNY Sullivan, industry agricultural partners and the Cornell Research Center in Geneva, N.Y. Packed into the proposal to SUNY were three dozen additional letters of support, including those from the Center for Discovery and from Veria Lifestyle Management Center, the $90 million health and wellness getaway under construction at the former Kutsher's Country Club. Marc Baez of the Sullivan County Partnership for Economic Development says his organization “absolutely endorses” the college plans. “It ties SUNY Sullivan into an area we are all focused on — the specialty food crops and markets in our area, and the brewery and distillery emphasis,” he said. “An institution that can research and come up with methodologies can move us along in the continued diversification of Sullivan County.” “A facility like the Healthy World Institute and the courses it will offer are visionary,” added Hilgersom. “We could be a national model for other colleges to copy.”

Student Morgan Williams, at right, and teacher Larry Reeger study the qualities of chemical free milk paint.

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Earth friendly college named finalist in Climate Leadership contest

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hey’re ordinary young adults from New York City and Ulster County, from Roscoe, Monticello, Hortonville and Callicoon. But they are extraordinary in their passion for the planet. “The whole green energy thing here is phenomenal,” said Jayson Camasca of Monticello, who is studying psychology at SUNY Sullivan. “The planet is being ravaged — but SUNY Sullivan has a windmill, solar panels, a geothermal system. It says the college is where the future is going to be.” Liberal arts major Ashley Newkirk from Roscoe says the emphasis at SUNY Sullivan on stewardship of the earth is “really cool.” “I’m totally supportive,” agrees John Murphy of Hortonville, who is studying health science with the hopes of going on to a four-year college for nursing.

PHOTO: HELENA LEROUX

Headed by Director of Sustainability Helena LeRoux, who is also a faculty member, the college has become a community college leader in the field of ‘green’ campus operations and student courses.

“President (Obama) spoke about (sustainability) when he first came into office,” said Murphy. “It’s also where there are a lot of jobs – in green

technology.” Studies show that half of all fouryear colleges are addressing environmental responsibility in both build-

APRIL, 2014

ing operations and courses offered to students. But most community colleges are not yet on board. SUNY Sullivan, however, with its associate’s degree programs in Wind Turbine Technology and Green Building Maintenance and Management, was recently named one of five finalists in a Climate Leadership competition. The 2014 Second Nature Climate Leadership Awards are an annual competition among colleges and universities that have signed the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment. Boston-based Second Nature supports colleges in practicing and teaching sustainability, and will announce a top winner in May. “We are definitely in the forefront” of community colleges’ commitment to eco-friendliness, said SUNY Sullivan faculty member and Director of Sustainability Helena LeRoux. The college began its alternative energy journey in 2001, when it installed a geothermal pump house that uses the earth’s internal energy to heat and cool buildings.


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NEW ENERGY ON CAMPUS his spring, students will work on comT posting leftover food from the culinary program and the dining hall in three new composting bays. With a system designed by student John Lopez, forced air will break down the waste into soil that will then go toward campus landscaping and a community garden. In addition, a modular “green� area now adorns part of the culinary program’s roof. The cover of vegetation planted over a waterproof membrane helps mitigate rainwater run-off and insulates the building, said LeRoux. Incoming freshman participated in a new service project entitled Metamorphosis. An introduction into earth-stewardship, the program invited students to participate in sustainability projects that turned trash into art for a campus art show, and transformed an overgrown basketball court into an attractive and usable court and park area. The newest alternative energy project is a soon-to-be-constructed nine-acre solar farm built and operated by Virgina solar-power developer HelioSage. The solar array will allow the college to buy inexpensive electricity, not from a coalburning power plant as it does now, but from Heliosage. The on-campus “farm�

will generate an estimated 60 percent of the college's yearly electric consumption and also serve in the educational program. Seeking to expand its green courses, the college is considering a new multidisciplinary sustainability degree that will allow students to take classes with an eco-friendly emphasis in history, English, math and psychology. For example, one course might be the history of the conservation movement, said LeRoux; another could address eco-psychology, which studies the relationship between human beings and the natural world. SUNY student Chris Egens, who is working towards his A.A.S. degree in Green Building Maintenance and Management, says the sustainability emphasis is what attracted him and others to the school in the first place. “We’re looking to change the world, to rebuild the planet,� said Egens. Fellow student Tiffany Picone is there to learn all she can about building energy efficient homes for the family firm, Picone Realty Inc. of Callicoon, to sell to earth-friendly customers. “Building sustainable homes,� Picone said, “is the smart thing to do.�

PHOTO: JOHN MURPHY

Health Sciences major John Murphy of Hortonville is proud of SUNY Sullivan’s emphasis on saving the earth by means of geothermal, wind and solar power.

Since then, a wind turbine on campus generates electricity to support the geothermal pumps. But its main

purpose — as is for a series of solar panels— is to serve as a teaching tool for classes in alternative energy.

   



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SUNY Sullivan School Scene 2014