Services for Students with Disabilities
Jean Fairbairn, director of Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD), retired July 13, after 39 years of dedicated service to Binghamton University. Following a national search, Dianne Gray was appointed as SSD director, effective August 11, 2016. Gray served as the learning disabilities specialist and assistant director of SSD under Fairbairn and brings to the position many years of dedicated work in the disability field, in addition to expertise in the area of assistive technology. She received her undergraduate degree from SUNY Fredonia, graduate degree from The George Washington University and has completed 36 hours of post-graduate study in the field of special education.
Additionally, SSD hired Natalie Morabito-Phelps as a new adaptive technology specialist. She is a licensed MSW and a graduate of Binghamton University and Marywood University.
Paige Cross is the new graduate assistant in SSD, working directly with students on the autism spectrum. This is one of the University’s fastest-growing populations. This disability brings with it unique challenges for the students, faculty and staff. The goal of SSD is to increase campus awareness, inclusion and social integration for students on the autism spectrum.
SSD held the second annual Transition Program for incoming freshmen and transfer students, Aug 23 and 24. This year, 46 students of the 60 potential students attended. The Transition Program is designed to provide newly SSD-registered students with critical information and training prior to the beginning of classes, better positioning them for success.
While independence is thrust upon all students entering college, it is of particular significance for students with disabilities. Students who participate in the program learn about their roles and responsibilities as registered students and how to effectively communicate with professors regarding their accommodations. They also receive training on various assistive technology; are given in-depth tours of the Glenn G. Bartle and Science libraries, the Decker Student Health Services Center and the Counseling Center; and learn useful time management and organizational strategies.
Increasing numbers of students registering with SSD
The number of students registering with SSD continues to increase dramatically. As reported in our last annual report, the 634 students were registered for the 2015–2016 academic year. Based on the number of new students registering so far this year, we project we will register well over 700 students for the 2016-2017 academic year.
Center for Civic Engagement
Voter registration at orientation
The Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) registered nearly 700 freshmen to vote during summer freshman orientation sessions. Over 98 percent of these students chose to register locally using their on-campus address, providing them with the opportunity to feel like part of the local community from the very start of their time at Binghamton. Students registered locally are able to vote at the on-campus polling place in the Mandela Room.
The CCE partnered with the Dean of Students Office, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, and Campus Recreation to present a “Find Your Fit” orientation session. The presentation offered a variety of ways students can get involved in University and community-based programs and activities, ranging from club sports to Greek life to community-service opportunities and everything in between. After every Find Your Fit session, a CCE staff member informed students of their voting rights and encouraged them to register to vote in anticipation of the upcoming election. This streamlined voter registration process was made possible by collaboration between the CCE, Residential Life, New Students Programs staff and the Broome County Board of Elections.
Expanded Promise Zone/CCE Community Schools Partnership
The Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) and Broome County Promise Zone have expanded their successful partnership, which aims to connect local school districts with Binghamton University students and other resources. This partnership provides assistance to the local schools and those served by them, in addition to providing numerous high-impact learning opportunities for Binghamton University students.
The CCE and the Promise Zone now work with five local school districts: Union-Endicott, Johnson City, Whitney Point, Windsor and Binghamton. Five graduate students and an AmeriCorps VISTA member support the program administratively, learning about the schools’ needs then connecting them with University resources, including student interns, volunteers, faculty engaging in community-engaged learning and academic service-learning, athletics, student groups and others. One of the five graduate assistant positions is the result of a new partnership with Windsor Central School District and will support the development and coordination of deeper partnerships between Binghamton University and Windsor, including STEM outreach/education, partnerships with the Graduate School of Education, athletics and other campus entities.
The Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) worked with the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs and the GIS Campus Core Facility to produce an online, interactive application mapping the various transportation options for students interested in engaging with community organizations. The map includes Broome County Transit and Off Campus College Transport bus routes and stops, in addition to nearly 200 community organizations that regularly offer engaging opportunities for students. Organization profiles on the map include contact information as well as notes about the best bus line to take, the closest stop to destinations and explicit directions on how to get to the organization from the bus stop.
Also noted on the map are special transportation options available for University students participating in volunteer opportunities through the joint CCE and Promise Zone Community Schools initiative. These transportation options were arranged through partnerships between the CCE, school administrations and ACHIEVE in an effort to eliminate transportation barriers for students wishing to volunteer in local schools.
In its 23rd year, University Fest was held at the end of Welcome Week, after classes had begun, and was bigger and better than ever with the incorporation of Rec Fest. Twice the fest, twice the fun: 250 student organizations, 35 departments and 30 vendors from off campus participated in the event – a 20 percent increase in student organization participation and a 33 percent increase in department participation.
Inflatables, food, music, live exercise classes and a rock wall kept students interacting and learning about the resources available at Binghamton for the duration of the five-hour event, which ended with the annual Dog Parade – 15 dogs parading around in their “Under the Sea” costumes!
Healthy Campus Initiative
For the second year in a row, Binghamton University has been recognized by Greatist as one of the 26 healthiest campuses in the nation.
Educational Opportunity Program (EOP)
The graduate rate for the last six-year cohort (2009-2015) was 80 percent, up from 76 percent previously.