Parent Connect Newsletter

October 2021

Brian Rose

Dear parents and families,

We are now deep into the fourth academic semester of the "COVID-19 era." As with the previous three, we have confronted some new challenges, but, different than before, we see unmistakable indicators of a return to a more traditional campus experience.

Last week I enjoyed a few simple moments on campus of the type we used to take for granted. Late one afternoon, I left my office to walk to the dedication of our new Harriet Tubman Center. I walked across the Peace Quad and caught a stray Frisbee — one of many in the air. I walked through a MarketPlace full of students eating, studying and socializing, and I navigated through throngs of students heading into and out of the lecture hall while overhearing chatter about recent exams and assignments. When I later returned to my office, the Peace Quad was full of students setting up for a movie and enjoying free food courtesy of the Student Association. Save for the masks inside the MarketPlace, it could have been any fall day from any year and it was wonderful to see in all its vitality and density. 

What lies beneath the surface of those moments is also very encouraging. The surge of the Delta variant among some vaccinated students at the beginning of the term was just that kind of unexpected challenge that has always characterized this pandemic. We faced early concerns about access to testing, the capacity of our on-campus isolation and quarantine housing, and our ability to manage those challenges in the context of a fully in-person semester. We also faced the administrative challenge of implementing a universal vaccination requirement for students when full FDA approval of a vaccine was announced just as we completed orientation and move-in. Today, we can report many successes:

  • Despite expanded access to testing (available slots were increased 66%), we are now routinely seeing a daily number of positive tests in the low single digits each day.
  • As of Oct. 4, we have just two isolation beds occupied out of 175 available (up from 64 available).
  • Despite supply chain challenges, we have procured a testing supply that will support us through the year.
  • We have achieved a student vaccination rate of about 99%, with approximately 1.5% of students having approved exemptions. We expect fewer than 25 students will be deregistered for failing to comply with the vaccination or testing policy (for exempt students) out of more than 18,000. We hope those few students will return as vaccinated students in January 2022. 
  • More than 400 staff have been willing to be available for pandemic response-related duties should the need arise in the future.
  • Our faculty and academic leadership remain steadfast in their commitment to offering a fully in-person education.

We likely have not seen the last unexpected turn as it relates to the ongoing pandemic. In many respects, the fundamental challenge we face is learning how to provide the holistic educational experience that distinguishes Binghamton while the pandemic continues. The return of a vibrant campus life and the data noted above taken together strongly suggest that our students, faculty and staff are successfully rising to that challenge.

Sincerely,

Brian Rose
Vice President for Student Affairs


Help us share support for stressed students during midterms

Midterms are fast approaching. What’s one of the best ways to help students during this time? Encourage them to take study breaks and de-stress when needed. There are plenty of ways to de-stress at Binghamton — exercising on our FitCourt (outdoor fitness area), enjoying the fall foliage on a Nature Preserve hike, exploring cool displays in the University Art Museum, watching the women's and men's soccer teams compete and more. 

If students are in need of help but unsure how to find the best resources, direct them to the Binghamton Support Network. This online hub, aimed at supporting student health, success and well-being, connects your student with relevant services and resources. By using the search bar, or choosing from an alphabetical list of concerns, students can discover much-needed services, resources and more, as well as connect with University professionals for additional help.

Election Day reminders

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 2. Remind students to make a plan ahead of time so they are prepared to cast their votes!

Students who live on campus and are registered to vote with their on-campus address can vote in the University Union Undergrounds Lounge (UU-B32) between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. on Election Day. Students who live off campus and are registered to vote with their off-campus address can find their local polling place by visiting canivote.org. Early voting takes place Oct. 23–31 throughout New York state.

Students who are registered to vote with their home address (in New York state) and who cannot return home to vote must request an absentee ballot application from their home county's board of elections. The request must be received by Oct. 18 and can be submitted via online portal, mail, email or fax. Absentee ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 2 or delivered in person to the voter's county board of elections or any poll site in their county by close of polls. Ballots from another county cannot be delivered to the campus polling place or any other polling place in Broome County. 

Students who are registered to vote with an out-of-state address should check with their state's board of elections for relevant deadlines.

Academic support resources for students

The Office of Student Transition and Success supports students' academic, personal and professional development as they transition through their Binghamton collegiate experience. We provide support through several programs and services including:

  • Peer and professional success coaching support to assist students with skills like time and task management, study strategies, organization, etc. 
  • The Speaking Center supports student development and success in public speaking and oral presentation preparation and delivery, providing quality peer-to-peer consulting to all Binghamton University students seeking oral presentation assistance and critique.
  • Supplemental Instruction is collaborative group learning for courses that have traditionally high rates of D, F and W grades, led by an undergraduate SI Leader. The emphasis in these weekly sessions is to learn content through collaborative learning strategies and peer support.
  • Transfer Student Services assists students prior to and during their transition into Binghamton University, and all the way through to their graduation day.

For more information, visit our website or reach out to us at sts@binghamton.edu. We look forward to supporting your student! 

COVID-19 update

A year-and-a-half into the pandemic, we continue to work to support our students during the unprecedented challenges it presents. This year, we are much closer to normal thanks in large part to the widespread use of the COVID vaccine among students. As of Oct. 4, 99% of our students are vaccinated and we’ve accepted around 280 medical or religious exemptions (1.5% of our student population). And, because we want to ensure public health, students with exemptions are required to be tested weekly.

Nonetheless, we are still taking significant precautions, including mandatory masking indoors. We also are conducting around 2,000 random surveillance tests each week to track any possible outbreaks. And recently, we’ve increased the number of tests available to members of the campus community who are asymptomatic to ensure that they have not been exposed to COVID. We expect that we will be conducting up to 5,000 tests per week as these efforts ramp up. We also are redoubling our efforts to ensure that any students in either quarantine or isolation have continuity of education, with our Center for Learning and Teaching providing support for faculty and helping to arrange technology such as Zoom meetings for students who are unable to attend classes.

As of the end of September, our positivity rate has dropped to much lower than that of the surrounding communities, and we now have a cadre of more than 400 employee volunteers should we need them if we see another surge. Most of the students Decker Student Health Services is seeing recently are presenting with illnesses from other viruses in a pattern similar to a non-pandemic year. For that reason, we have been holding student flu clinics and encouraging students to be vaccinated for the flu.

President Harvey Stenger releases his quarterly report

Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger has released his quarterly report for the months of July through September 2021.

Check out the report’s easy-to-navigate pages to learn about how Binghamton University’ is Re-aiming the Road Map, as well as activities and initiatives in his report and those of the vice presidents for academic affairs; advancement; communications and marketing; diversity, equity and inclusion; operations; student affairs; research; and the director of athletics and executive director of the Binghamton University Foundation.

Dietitians and Wellness options in dining

Binghamton University Dining Services (BUDS) recognizes that health and wellness is an important aspect of our everyday lives and strives to provide a wide variety of dining options to nourish students in a way that is both satisfying and healthful. For students, classwork and extracurricular activities can be all-consuming, leaving them with very little time to plan out their meals and make sure that all necessary nutrients are accounted for in their diet — let alone knowing the range of options that are available to them on campus.

For our latest blog post, we sat down with our two registered dietitians, Alexa Schmidt, RD, CDN, and Julie Lee, MS, RD, CDN, to discuss the importance of health and wellness and the best ways for students to utilize our many locations to create balanced meals and find healthy snacks to keep them fueled in between classes. 

For information on all things Dining Services, visit our website and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok! Dining Dollars running low? No worries! You or your student can add funds anytime by visiting Account Access.

Support online food drive for campus pantry

The Food Pantry Advisory Committee is hosting an online food drive now through Nov. 15 for the Binghamton University Food Pantry. Specific items can be purchased online. Food items and monetary donations are also accepted anytime. See details on the Food Pantry website. 

During the drive, and throughout the year, food and personal care items are collected for Binghamton University students who may be experiencing food insecurity or a financial hardship. Your help and support are greatly appreciated.

Any questions can be sent to bpantry@binghamton.edu.

Make a difference as a Binghamton parent

Interested in getting involved at Binghamton at the leadership level? Parents of Binghamton University students have an opportunity to join the Parents Leadership Council (PLC). Members complement and support the University's strategic directives and initiatives by acting as advancement advocates for the Division of Student Affairs through private support and outreach. Members participate in quarterly conference calls and are invited to campus in the spring semester for an on-campus meeting and reception with President Harvey Stenger.

More information can be found online. If you have questions or would like to talk with a current PLC member, contact Linda Salomons, assistant director, Parent and Family Programs at families@binghamton.edu

Career exploration opportunities for students with the Fleishman Center

The options for career paths are endless. If students are unsure about their future careers the Fleishman Center can assist them in identifying their personal interests and skills, and how they connect to Binghamton University majors and possible careers. The Fleishman Center offers a number of programs and resources that can introduce students to a variety of career fields to help make this task less intimidating and overwhelming.

Career clusters

Career clusters are groups of similar career paths developed to help students easily explore a variety of career options and organize their search. Encourage students to join one (or several) career clusters to help expose them to a wide variety of career fields, industries and roles. The EXPLORING career cluster was specifically created for students who are unsure about their future career.

By joining a career cluster, students will gain connections to individuals, information and resources to assist them in exploring interests and opportunities. Students can opt in to receive customized information such as virtual events, jobs and internships, and resources on a career cluster by signing in to the Fleishman Center’s Career Tools website and updating their profile and preferences. Learn more or join a career cluster.

Don't Fear Your Career: Industry Insights with Alumni event

Students of all class years are invited to attend the Fleishman Center’s annual Don’t Fear Your Career event from 6–7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021. Attendees will have the opportunity to connect with alumni from a variety of industries to learn about their roles, how they positioned themselves for the job, and actions students can take to make the next step toward their future. Students interested in attending can register and find additional information in hireBING by Handshake.

Career Exploring Guide: The Fleishman Center’s new interactive career exploration workbook can be used to identify interests as they relate to careers, make connections to increase social capital and develop an individual career plan.

Self-assessments are an excellent place for students to start when making career choices such as choosing a major, exploring occupations and determining a career plan. These tools can assist students with identifying work interests, personality traits, strengths and values and relate them to the world of work. Learn more about the assessment tools available.

Career consulting

If students are unsure about their future career and where to start in the exploration process, they can meet with a Fleishman Center career consultant in person or virtually by scheduling an appointment through their hireBING by Handshake account.

Financial Aid and Student Records is here to help! 

For all servicing options, hours of operation, document submission upload instructions, and much more, please visit the following respective websites:

Document submission: All documents can be uploaded securely through the myBinghamton portal. Click on Financial Aid and Student Records Document Submission (helpful links section on the left side of the page).

Financial Aid

2022–23 FAFSA application

FAFSA filing news! The 2022–23 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) became available Oct. 1, 2020. You can file your FAFSA online.

Students/parents will report 2020 tax information on the 2022-2023 FAFSA. Reporting accurate tax information is simple with the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, which ensures accurate and streamlined FAFSA filing. 

COVID-19 emergency relief flexibilities extended

No interest is accruing on federal student and parent loans through Jan. 31, 2022, due to the COVID-19 emergency. For more information, visit the Federal Student Aid website

2021–22 New York state aid

To apply for New York state aid, students must complete a New York State Student Aid Payment Application. The payment application provides a single conduit for applying for payment of state grants, scholarships and awards, which includes TAP, Excelsior and STEM. Students and parents have the option to link directly to the application from the FAFSA submission confirmation page or to complete the application by going to the NYS HESC website. Be sure to include Binghamton's school code (0880). Note that students must be full-time, matriculated New York state residents who qualify based on income and academic requirements.

Students are strongly encouraged to speak with their academic advising office to ensure their fall 2021 coursework meets degree applicability requirements. For more information on the New York state guidelines regarding degree applicability, view our web page.

New York state grants and scholarships will begin posting as ACTUAL awards (instead of ESTIMATED) on student financial aid packages in mid-July. ACTUAL awards are based on information received from the New York state Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC).

Student Records

Fall registration

After the add/drop deadline (11:59 p.m., Sept. 9), students may petition to late add individual courses. A $20 fee per course will be charged to your student's account. To do this, students go to BU BRAIN, Student Tab, Registration, Late Course Add/Drop/Withdrawal Petition to complete the petition process online.

After the drop deadline, students may withdraw from a course themselves on BU BRAIN, Student Tab, Registration, Add or Drop courses then follow instructions for a web withdrawal. This will create a "W" on the student’s record.

After the withdrawal deadline (11:59 p.m., Nov 10), students may petition to withdraw from a course using the Late Course Withdrawal Petition process outlined above.

For more information, visit the Student Records website.

Fall proof of enrollment

Fall 2021 proof of enrollment will be available online through the National Student Clearinghouse after the add/drop deadline, once fall enrollment records have been uploaded to the National Student Clearinghouse. Students can access this through BU BRAIN. Click Student tab, then Student Services Tools to print an enrollment certificate.

If you have an enrollment verification form that needs to be completed by the Student Records office, email the form to registrar@binghamton.edu and include your student’s name and B number. 

DegreeWorks audit

Students should review their DegreeWorks audit to ensure their fall 2021 courses are meeting degree requirements.

Application for degree

The deadline for students to submit the fall 2021 undergraduate Application for Degree is Wednesday, Nov. 10.

Currently enrolled undergraduates (with at least 104 credit hours earned) can complete their Application for Degree on BU BRAIN, if they did not already do so when they confirmed their enrollment for this semester. Those studying elsewhere this semester can email degree@binghamton.edu for the application form. Students must notify us of their intent to graduate by completing the Application for Degree.

Semester withdrawal

Students looking to withdraw completely from the University should submit their completed Semester Withdrawal Form found on the Student Records website. The Semester Withdrawal Form is required for a student who wishes to drop ALL fall semester courses and who wants their academic record to indicate good standing. 

Upcoming dates for 2022 Winter Session (Dec. 27–Jan. 14)

The 2022 Winter Session schedule of classes became viewable online on Oct. 11. Time tickets for registration are viewable as well on BU Brain.

Advanced registration for 2022 Winter Session opens at 9 a.m. on Oct. 18, 2021.

Upcoming dates for the 2022 spring semester (Jan. 18–May 4)

The spring 2022 schedule of classes will be viewable online on Oct. 21. Time tickets based on earned credits hours will be viewable as well on BU Brain.

Advanced registration for Spring 2022 will begin on Nov. 1:

  • 9 a.m. for graduate students
  • 10 a.m. for undergraduate students, with time tickets based on earned credit hours.

Lost IDs

Students can request a replacement ID card through myBinghamton or by sending us an email (using their official Binghamton University email account — emails from other accounts cannot be processed) with their name and B-number to idcard@binghamton.edu.

  • There is a $20 fee for all replacement ID cards, which will be assessed to the student's bill in Student Accounts.
  • Students will need a photo ID to pick up their card. Acceptable forms of ID include: driver’s license, passport, high school or other university photo ID.
  • ID Card distribution plans are posted on the Student Records website.

Official expedited electronic transcripts are available

In addition to free official paper transcripts, we offer official expedited electronic transcripts. There is a $5 charge per recipient for the expedited service. More information about electronic transcript service is available online.


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Visiting Binghamton?

If you're planning a trip to Binghamton, visit the Visiting Binghamton section on our website or the Greater Binghamton Convention and Visitors Bureau for information on what to see, where to stay and where to eat while you're here.

Update parent information

Keep your contact information updated in our parent database. If your address, phone or email has changed, send a note to families@binghamton.edu to let us know. And if you're looking for more from us, check out some of our pages targeted directly to parents and guardians:

Calendar of events

How to unsubscribe

If you no longer have a need to receive this newsletter, you can unsubscribe by sending a message to families@binghamton.edu.