Rec Fest was a great success this year — the sun brought out many students, faculty, staff and community members for Campus Recreation’s biggest day of play. There were fitness demos and flash mobs, information about intramural leagues, members of the 39 club sport teams providing information, nutritional treats and inflatable games. The opening for the new recreation turf field included remarks from President Harvey Stenger and Vice President for Student Affairs Brian Rose, with a ceremonial first football throw. Visitors were then invited to jump in on pick-up games of kickball and bubble soccer. The Challenge Ropes Course was also open for University students, faculty, staff and community members 18 years of age or older to take the 200-foot ride down the zip line.
More than 300 students took part in at least one Outdoor Pursuits activity with Campus Recreation in 2014-15. More than 30 students hiked, paddled, skied or biked on two or more. These free and low-cost activities are a great opportunity for students to get out of the classroom and hone a new skill or try something different. Campus Recreation even provides the equipment and transportation. The fall 2015 activities include day and night hikes in the Nature Preserve and local gorges, standup paddle boarding, pool kayaking and River Trail bike rides.
Dedicated Turf Field: The rubber was laid and the lines were drawn Sunday, Aug. 30, for the opening for the new Recreation Turf Field. Students, faculty, staff and community were invited to a brief opening ceremony that included remarks from President Harvey Stenger and Vice President Brian Rose. President Stenger kicked off the sport season with a ceremonial first football throw, and then visitors were invited to jump in on pick-up games of kickball and bubble soccer.
Campus Recreational Services has been exploring possibilities to construct an artificial turf complex for intramural programming and club sports for several years. The need became exceedingly apparent with the continuous challenge of keeping the grass fields in use during Binghamton’s wet spring season. Too often, the department was forced to postpone or cancel practices and games due to inclement weather and the risks associated with unsafe playing conditions. Spring softball was canceled for three consecutive years — which meant that each year, nearly 700 students missed out on an opportunity to take part in recreational activities. The new synthetic field will remedy this.
“We’re on an upward trajectory for participation — having the right facilities in place will ensure that we can continue providing quality experiences for our students, faculty and staff,” said Cindy Cowden, senior associate director for Campus Recreational Services. Previously, intramural programming could only be offered on the weekends. Having a lighted facility will allow Campus Rec to expand offerings into weekday evenings for 4-6 hours after classes end. And with longer seasons and more time available to play, opportunities open to explore growth of programs that continue to fill up year after year, or new sports that the department has not previously had the field resources to support.
“I think opening up this new facility will facilitate the growth in participation rates among our classmates,” said senior accounting major George Kowalski, a club sport and intramural supervisor for Campus Rec. “I’m excited for the new turf field — it gives us an incredible new opportunity for intramural sports that we’ve never had before.”
The turf field saw its finishing touches mid-September and programming began in full force with intramural leagues for soccer, flag football and bubble soccer, as well as club sport practices for men’s and women’s soccer, baseball, softball and ultimate Frisbee.
“It’s always exciting to play intramural and club sports with friends,” said Chris Mallinson, a graduate student studying computer engineering, member of the men’s rugby club, and intramural participant and supervisor. “But the turf field will bring each sport to the next level and really add to each player’s competitive drive.”
Dean of Students/Residential Life
Moving in was smooth and successful according to all feedback received. The Welcome Back Crew and entire Res Life staff kept everything moving as quickly as possible, as these photos demonstrate.
Welcome Weekend events were well attended and gave students activities to participate in to start becoming part of the Binghamton University community immediately. Movies in the res hall areas, Shindig at the Fountain concert on Thursday, University Fest participation on Saturday, turn-out was the largest in years. 200+ student orgs, 35 departments and 30 vendors. Rec Fest on Sunday.
Parent and Family Programs
Parent and Family Programs worked with other offices on campus again this summer to welcome new students and their families to the Binghamton community with nine Summer Send-offs! These receptions, held around the state and in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Massachusettes in the homes of current students and their families, give incoming students and their families a chance to meet people who have already experienced the excitement of the Binghamton University campus and all it offers. These meet-and-mingle receptions help parents and their incoming students become part of the campus community before Move-in Day. More than 250 new students and their parents were welcomed into the Bearcat Family during an opening reception on Move-In Day,more than 200 new parents were also welcomed by President Harvey Stenger, Associate Vice President and Dean of Student April Thompson and other staff and administrators during a special reception on Aug. 27, just for them. Stenger and Thompson provided some words of wisdom and parents had the opportunity to grab a quick chair massage and win some Binghamton swag.
Any students who are registered as undergraduate students are able to now bowl for free. Not only that, but they can rent one DVD per night for free. Yes, it is true; there are some fun free things that you can do in the University Union this fall.
In addition to free bowling and movies, we have implemented a program that recognizes unrecognized groups who are otherwise unable to gain recognition through the Student Association and/or the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, but who we believe can contribute to the academic mission of the institution and offer valuable experiences to students. When achieving recognition status, student organizations can benefit from not only support, but a multitude of University resources.
Room reservations and event planning is now located in one location, in UU-205. This makes it more convenient and helpful for our students and staff. This combined open-door policy is creating a friendly atmosphere for all.
Fraternity and sorority life
During the spring 2015 semester, the fraternity and sorority grade point average was 3.27, while the total Binghamton University grade point average was 3.16. In addition, all six Panhellenic Council sororities were above the Binghamton University all women’s average of 3.25.
Old Digman Hall to be returned to student housing
As housing sign-ups for the 2016-17 academic year approach, Residential Life is taking a number of measures to open up as many beds as possible for students who prefer to live on campus, said Suzanne Howell, associate dean of students and director of Residential Life and University Housing.
Old Digman Hall renovations are in the works to bring approximately 140 beds back online for incoming freshmen for the next academic year. In addition, the number of single rooms available on campus will be limited, opening up over 100 more beds.
The measures will offset the loss of 232 beds when Cayuga Hall in CIW is taken offline for renovations during the ’16-17 year, and are part of the ever-challenging and often unpredictable balance for Residential Life to maintain a high occupancy rate and keep costs down.
“Over the next 10 years, we’ll be renovating all CIW and Hinman halls one at a time,” Howell said. “Bringing Old Digman back into the housing mix will help alleviate the loss of beds necessitated by the renovation schedule and provide us some flexibility.”
More students than expected opted to live on campus for the current academic year, Howell said. As a result, Cayuga Hall’s renovation, which was to have started in the summer, was put off for a year, and some students were placed in super-occupancy housing, when three students are assigned to a double room.
“This isn’t unusual, and has happened in the past,” Howell said, “but we move students out of the super-occupancy rooms as quickly as we can. We currently have less than 50 such rooms and are doing our best to eliminate all super-occupancy rooms by the end of the semester.”
The campus is at 99 percent occupancy now, she added. Some students are still in super-occupancy until appropriate space opens up, such as male or female housing, or because they want to remain in their current building.