The Princeton Review’s 2014 “Guide to 332 Green Colleges,” released April 17, has recognized SUNY Oneonta for its commitment to sustainability. SUNY Oneonta has been selected for inclusion in the guide every year since its inception in 2010.

The 216-page book—the only free, comprehensive, annually updated guide to green colleges—can be downloaded at The guide was developed in collaboration with the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council.

Every year, The Princeton Review assesses academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation at hundreds of campuses nationwide and in Canada to determine which colleges merit recognition. Ten SUNY schools were among the 332 institutions recognized in the 2014 guide.

“SUNY campuses across the state are among the most energy-smart in the nation, a leadership role that we continue to build upon through the expanded use of green technologies and sustainability initiatives,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher. “Congratulations to SUNY Oneonta and all 10 SUNY campuses to be included in the 2014 Guide to Green Colleges. This recognition is much deserved and highly commendable.”

The 332 school profiles in the guide feature information for prospective students—facts and stats on school demographics, admission and financial aid—plus write-ups on the schools’ sustainability initiatives. A “Green Facts” sidebar reports on a range of topics from the school’s use of renewable energy sources, recycling and conservation programs to the availability of environmental studies and career guidance for green jobs.

In the guide’s profile on SUNY Oneonta, The Princeton Review highlights examples of the college’s commitment to sustainability, including:
• All campus offices use 100 percent recycled paper.
• The Red Dragon Outfitters bookstore uses biodegradable shopping bags.
• Front-loading washing machines in campus residence halls save 1 million gallons of water annually.
• “Trayless” dining halls have decreased water consumption and food waste.
• The college’s O2 composter (created as part of a grant-funded student research project) processes 2,000 pounds of food waste every three months.
• Ten water bottle re-fill hydration stations have been placed around campus to cut down on the use of disposable water bottles.
• Oneonta’s College Camp, located on 276 acres of farm and woodland, is heated with used vegetable oil from the dining halls, saving an estimated 800 to 900 gallons of used oil from going to the landfill each month.
• Oneonta is committed to green construction standards in all new buildings and renovations—including the rehabilitated Fitzelle Hall, which will feature a new retail dining venue offering local, organic fare when it reopens this fall.
• The college’s Biological Field Station, located on Otsego Lake and surrounded by more than 2,500 acres of woodland, bogs, marshes and ponds, allows students to gain valuable experiences in field biology.

SUNY Oneonta’s Office of Sustainability, established in 2012, coordinates energy and waste reduction initiatives, supports student-led sustainability projects and works to create a culture of sustainability on campus with programs such as Green Dragon Week, which this year features more than 30 events ranging from documentaries and lectures to a bike repair table and a “zero waste” ice cream social.

SUNY Oneonta will present the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “Carousel” in the college’s Goodrich Theater from Wednesday, April 23, to Friday, April 25, at 8 p.m., with a Saturday matinee performance on Sunday, April 26, at 2 p.m.

Set in coastal Maine in the 1870s, “Carousel” follows the story of Billy Bigelow, a rowdy barker on a carousel, and his relationship with the sweet and reserved Julie Jordan. The musical contains many Rodgers and Hammerstein classics, including “If I Loved You” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”

The music for “Carousel” was written by Richard Rodgers, with a book by Oscar Hammerstein II. SUNY Oneonta’s production is directed by Associate Professor of Theatre Andrew Kahl and presented by the college’s Theatre Department and Mask and Hammer theatre club, with partial funding from the Student Association.

Tickets are $10 general admission or free with a student ID. Tickets can be purchased at the Hunt Union Information Desk or online at

SUNY Oneonta’s first Charity Challenge—a student-organized event that combined elements of TV’s “The Amazing Race” and a 5K Color Run—raised $1,200 for six local nonprofits Saturday.

On a gorgeous spring afternoon, 30 teams of four raced to complete six silly challenges ranging from a relay race in high heels to building a structure out of marshmallows and toothpicks. After each challenge, teammates got their white event T-shirts sprayed with a different vibrant color of tempura paint.

Each participant paid a $10 entry fee, and the event raised $1,200 to be divided evenly between the St. Mary’s Food Pantry, Habitat for Humanity, Salvation Army, Toys for Tots, Oneonta Family YMCA and Rock to Cure. Six sponsors—New York Central Mutual, Oneonta Hots, Hillside Commons, Joe Ruffino’s Pizzeria, Tino’s Pizza, Peter Clark Student Rentals and the Damascene Book Cellar—provided raffle prizes and support to defray costs associated with the event.

The Charity Challenge was organized by event-planning students Carol Benedict, Samantha Smith, Regina Blanco, Shuree Gavin, Emily Holdorf and Mary O’Neill with support from several student clubs and Greek organizations.

The six students in Oscar Oberkircher’s event management class were responsible for every detail of the Charity Challenge, including securing sponsors, coordinating volunteers, planning activities, handling publicity and registration, and staffing activity stations on the day of the event. Oberkircher, who is SUNY Oneonta’s Food Service and Restaurant Management program director and coordinator of the college’s event-planning minor, said the event went so smoothly he’d like to make it an annual fundraiser, with a goal of 200 or more participants next year.

Dr. Tracy Allen, associate professor and chair of SUNY Oneonta’s Department of Geography & Environmental Sciences Program, will present “Dangerous Waters: State of the World’s Drinking Water” at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 17, in the Waterfront Room of the Hunt College Union. A dessert reception will follow the presentation.

Water-related illnesses are the leading cause of human sickness and death. Worldwide, nearly one in six people lacks access to safe drinking water. The purpose of this talk is to explore the consequences of the drinking water crisis; examine the bottled water industry and its effects; expose water as a major factor for continued underdevelopment; and propose sustainable water solutions. Accompanying the presentation will be a showing of the documentary “Tapped,” which examines the role of the bottled water industry in the United States and its effects on society and the environment.

The presentation and dessert reception are open to the public. Admission is free to students with ID and $8 for all others. Part of the proceeds from the event will be used to support a water analysis project to be performed at Lake Atitlán, Guatemala, by SUNY Oneonta students as part of a faculty-led summer field course, ENVS 394: Water & the Environment of Guatemala.

The program is sponsored by the college’s Department of Geography & Environmental Sciences Program, Hunt College Union, Office of Continuing Education and Office of Sustainability.

“Dangerous Waters” precedes the college’s annual Green Dragon Week, April 21-27. More than two dozen sustainability-themed activities have been planned, including a student fashion show featuring garments made from recycled materials, documentary screenings, a compost demo, an Earth Day club expo, a bike repair station and an environmental poetry reading.

Hundreds of prospective students will visit SUNY Oneonta for Academic Exploration Day on Saturday, April 12. Activities will include campus tours, remarks by the deans of the college’s five schools, financial aid consultations, presentations and tours by academic departments, and a student club fair.

See the schedule for the day here.

Taine Duncan

The 19th annual SUNY Oneonta Undergraduate Philosophy Conference, taking place at the college April 11 and 12, will feature two keynotes. Douglas Lackey, professor and chair of the Department of Philosophy within the Weissman School of Arts & Sciences at Baruch College in New York City, will speak about “Mitosis and Abortion” on Friday at 7:30 p.m. in the Waterfront Room of the Hunt Union.

On Saturday, Taine Duncan, assistant professor within the University of Central Arkansas Department of Philosophy and Religion, and director of the University’s Gender Studies Program, will present the second keynote. Her lecture, titled “Remembrances: Cultural Memory as a Form of Resistance,” is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. in the Alumni Little Theatre.

During the two-day event, SUNY Oneonta undergraduates will join students from Boston College, the University of Chicago, Fordham University, Holy Cross and several other institutions to present papers on topics such as the “Ethics of Happiness,” “Feminist Existentialism” and “Objective Values.” All of the more than 20 sessions, including Lackey’s and Duncan’s talks, will be free and open to the public.

Conceived in 1996, the SUNY Oneonta Undergraduate Philosophy Conference has become one of the most prestigious and widely attended events of its kind in the United States. It is sponsored by the college’s Philosophy Club and organized by a student Conference Committee with support from faculty adviser Dr. Michael Koch.

More information on the conference, including a listing of papers and abstracts, is available at

Andrea Casper

A new fellowship will help more SUNY Oneonta students pursue internships across the country and around the globe.

Created through charitable gifts by 1975 SUNY Oneonta graduate Andrea Casper in honor and memory of her parents, the Helen & Michael Casper Fellowship for Internship Support is intended to help make internship experiences accessible for more SUNY Oneonta students. The fund will be available for four years, and a total of $15,000 has been allotted to support students participating in internships from summer2014 through May 2015. Students began applying for the funding this week.

“Internships can have a tremendous impact on a student’s educational experience and career, and we’re thrilled that more SUNY Oneonta students will now have access to both domestic and international internship opportunities across the academic disciplines,” said SUNY Oneonta Internship Coordinator Megan Ackley.

From summer 2013 through this spring, nearly 500 SUNY Oneonta students received academic credit for internship experiences. In addition to increasing access by supporting students who might not be able to afford to choose an unpaid internship over a summer job, the fellowship will encourage students to intern in locations that would otherwise be unattainable by helping with travel costs and housing expenses.

The Helen & Michael Casper Fellowship for Internship Support was established through Possibilities Full of Promise, the 125th Anniversary Campaign for SUNY Oneonta.

“This generous gift demonstrates the impact of philanthropy in giving our students valuable learning opportunities outside the classroom,” said Paul Adamo, vice president of College Advancement and executive director of the College at Oneonta Foundation. “We’re grateful to Andrea and all the alumni and friends who have shown their loyalty to and appreciation for SUNY Oneonta by supporting this campaign.”

Diane Nilan

Diane Nilan, founder and president of the national nonprofit organization HEAR US, will speak on the topic of “Children and Youth Homelessness: Why it Matters and What We Can Do” at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 10, in SUNY Oneonta’s Hunt Union Ballroom. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Nilan has more than 25 years of experience working with impoverished and homeless families, including running emergency shelters in Illinois and successfully advocating for the passage of “Charlie’s Bill,” the Illinois law guaranteeing homeless students educational rights.

She created HEAR US in July 2005 with the mission of giving voice and visibility to homeless children, youth and families. Four months later, after selling her home, her car and most of her possessions, she bought an RV and set out on a cross-country quest to put a face on the issue of youth homelessness. Over the course of a year, Nilan interviewed more than 75 homeless children and teens in 34 states. She partnered with filmmaker Laura Vazquez of Northern Illinois University to create a series of short documentaries titled “My Own Four Walls,” which won the National Association of Homeless Children and Youth’s Outstanding Media Award. The video, updated in 2012, has been distributed nationally to help school districts identify and assist homeless students.

Nilan and Vazquez went on to produce “On the Edge,” a documentary chronicling the struggles of seven women trying to escape homelessness in small towns and resort communities across America, and, most recently, “Worn Out Welcome Mat: Invisible Homelessness in Texas,” which examines the largest segment of the homeless population: those “doubled up” or staying with others because of loss of housing or other issues.

Nilan also wrote the book “Crossing the Line: Taking Steps to End Homelessness,” (Booklocker, 2005) and contributes to the homeless and poverty blogs invisible homeless kids,’s Poverty in America and Wanderings.

Nilan’s appearance at SUNY Oneonta is sponsored by the departments of Education and Sociology; the offices of Greek Life, Residence Life and New Student Services; the Center for Multicultural Experiences and the Public Events Committee.

Oneonta student Emily Rogers takes a picture with children in Cartagena.

Eleven students spent a week in Cartagena, Colombia, this semester as part of a faculty-led Spanish field course on the world of Nobel Prize-winning writer Gabriel (“Gabo”) García Márquez.

Accompanied by Drs. Gustavo Arango and Maria Montoya of SUNY Oneonta’s Department of Foreign Languages & Literatures, the students visited the actual settings where some of Márquez’s short stories and novels took place. In addition to an extended visit to Cartagena, the main commercial port in South America during colonial times, the group visited Aracataca, Márquez’s birthplace and the inspiration for his fictional town of Macondo; Santa Marta; Barranquilla and Islas del Rosario, a nature reserve.

“I am going to remember this trip for the rest of my life,” said sophomore Tate Stoyell, a dual Adolescent Education/Spanish major. “Everything was just beautiful. It really helped tie in Gabo’s magical realism theme into my imagination. I read his stories better now that I have an understanding of the incredible place he writes about.”

The course also had a service-learning component, with students donating clothing and other items and visiting and playing with children in poor communities. Veronica LoPrimo, a junior majoring in mass communications, said she has developed some new habits—and a new perspective—after seeing poverty firsthand.

“Before this trip, I never really cared about being a humanitarian, because I thought, ‘I’m just one person. What can I do?’” This experience changed that. I’ve found that if people are willing to learn, you can make a difference by telling them about your experience. You don’t have to be a philanthropist with a million dollars to make a difference.”

Spanish 394, Garcia Márquez’s World, is one of several faculty-led field courses being offered this spring and summer. Others courses will take students to Peru, Israel, Ecuador, South Africa, Hong Kong, and Guatemala to study topics ranging from biology to music.

Model UN Delegation members (l. to r.) Jean-Paul Scott, Kirsten Sauer, Pat McKeage and Ryan Hendrickson

Fifteen SUNY Oneonta students spent part of their spring break at the National Model United Nations Conference in New York City from March 30-April 3. This year’s delegation, representing Côte d’Ivoire, was one of 28 groups from around the world selected to receive the Distinguished Delegation award at the end of the five-day conference. This is a high honor, placing the Oneonta delegation in the top 10 percent of participants.

In addition, Oneonta students Ryan Hendrickson, Ian Misrok, Hope Costa, Rachel Heejeung, Ma Shane Magnetti and Egzon Sulejmani were recognized for writing the best position papers in their respective committees, and two students were chosen for conference-wide leadership positions: Kirsten Sauer (Chair and Rapporteur, UN Security Council C) and Eileen Austin (Rapporteur, UN Population Fund).

Over the course of the spring semester, students prepared for the simulation by learning about Côte d’Ivoire’s international and domestic politics, contemporary issues, and the United Nations’ committee system and operating procedures. Once at the conference, they debated proposals put forth to address these issues from the perspective of diplomats of their assigned country. U.S. ambassador to the UN Samantha Power gave the keynote address for Sunday’s opening session.

“This experience taught me that people from all over the world with many different cultures and backgrounds can come together to achieve something great,” said Costa, a political science major from Hurleyville, N.Y. “I will never forget the relationships I developed and the life skills that I learned.”

Freshman Jean-Paul Scott said the trip allowed him not only to learn more about others and their cultures, but to grow as a person. “It’s a great experience that opens your eyes to the world and helps you become cognizant of how connected and even disconnected the world is sometimes.”

The Model UN delegation is advised by Dr. Brett Heindl of the Department of Political Science. Funding for the program was provided by the Office of Continuing Education, the Political Science Department and the students themselves. Some of the students also received travel funding from the Caroline and David D’Antonio Undergraduate Student Travel for Excellence Fund.