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Parent Connect monthly newsletter

March 2019

Brian Rose
Dear parents and families,

Approximately 10 years ago, I set out a vision to create a different parent newsletter than the product I inherited. My central goals were to (1) consistently publish a visually appealing, parent-directed publication; (2) reach as many of our parents as wished to receive it; and (3) include useful, actionable information and University news.

Fulfilling our goal as it relates to the content of the newsletter means we sometimes need to explain University policies or practices about which there are concerns. We have recently heard concerns from several parents about the process by which returning students selected their on-campus housing for the next academic year, so I thought I'd use this space to provide some background.

Virtually all of the inquiries we received about housing sign-ups looked something like this: "My student did everything she or he was supposed to do, but still couldn't get a room with friends in the community they wanted."

A number of variables influence housing assignments. First, we have a very tight fit between the number of rooms and beds on campus and the number of students we house. That means Residential Life must fill entire rooms and suites rather than leave individual beds open wherever possible. Second, a set of priorities governs which groups have earlier access to the housing portal that was negotiated with student residential councils. Third, student preferences have recently gravitated more heavily toward two communities (Dickinson and Mountainview), when they used to be more evenly distributed. Finally, Residential Life must manage the housing inventory to accommodate all first-year students who are required to live on campus. There was some concern on social media that our housing system "crashed." The system never crashed and never lost data. Given demand, there were times when it loaded slowly, which we were able to improve later in the process, but not one student lost a place in line due to any system failure, as Residential Life has explained more fully to students. The net effect of all the above is that, while we do work to provide housing on campus for all those who register by the deadline, we aren't able to place everyone where they would like to be.

The obvious next question is, 'What opportunities are there to improve satisfaction with the housing assignment process.?' First, we are renovating older buildings one at a time to make them more desirable and the next two buildings coming offline in fall 2019 will be Hinman College buildings. Part of the project will add air conditioning to those facilities, the amenity most requested by students. Next, Residential Life will engage the residential community governments in a process of evaluating the housing assignment priorities. The current priority system was fashioned when first-choice housing was more evenly distributed across our different communities. As preferences have shifted, we will ask them to re-examine the priority system and consider whether we can make useful adjustments. Finally, we will make additional efforts to communicate strategies to students based upon whatever priority system we establish. This year, some students formed groups in ways that were not likely to lead to the type of housing they desired, given the existing priority rules.

I close by noting that all of our communities enjoy many terrific attributes in common — the convenience of a campus location, access to on-campus meal plans and dining facilities, the support of live-in and other professional and paraprofessional staff, a safe campus community and easy access to many University services. While we wish we could have provided more students their first choice assignment, we are confident that each of our residential communities can offer its residents a positive and supportive environment.

Brian T. Rose

Vice President for Student Affairs

Are your student's study habits up to par?

With midterms quickly approaching, encourage your student to take advantage of resources like the Discovery Program, whose mission is to help students successfully transition to college and then maximize their academic potential throughout their undergraduate experience. A select group of student assistants called Discovery Advisors are internationally certified by the College Reading and Learning Association as advanced peer mentors, and they serve as a first step for students to acquire academic guidance, gain knowledge about the resources available on campus and learn how to effectively improve their time management strategies, study techniques and note-taking skills. Discovery Advisors can also help students prepare for an appointment with a professional academic advisor by going through various aspects of course selection and helping them come up with good questions to take to their meeting.

Discovery Advisors are available by appointment and also hold evening office hours (from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday) in Discovery Centers located in College-in-the-Woods, Chenango-Champlain Collegiate Center and Hinman residential communities. Graduate student academic success coaches are also available, providing individual assistance such as organizational coaching and mentoring.

For some other campus resources that can be helpful to your student, see this recent Binghamton University Blog post.


Grad Fest 2019 — Commencement one-stop shop

Attention parents of the class of 2019! Have your student save the date for Grad Fest 2019 — the one-day-only, one-stop shop for your student to get everything they need for Commencement.

Grad Fest is designed for students eligible to participate in Commencement and will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and again from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 3 in the University Union Mandela Room.

At Grad Fest students can purchase their cap and gown, graduation announcements and class ring. They can also obtain ceremony information, check in with the Alumni Association and sign up for the President's Champagne Sendoff, talk to Parking Services about the best place to park, purchase their yearbook, and pre-order graduation cakes and flowers. Local hotel information, as well as information for family members needing accommodation, will be available — and so much more!

This is a great opportunity for students to join in the fun and have all of their questions answered and purchases and arrangements made. Students are welcome to drop in whenever they like and stay as long as they want. Free refreshments will be provided.

Cap and gown available for preorder online

Students unable to attend Grad Fest (see above for details) — or those who just like to plan ahead — can preorder their cap and gown now so they will be ready to walk across that stage in May, and save money as a bonus of ordering early. Orders are due by March 23, 2019. Students who place their order now, can choose to pick it up in the Binghamton University Bookstore for free. More information about graduation is available on the Commencement Weekend website.

5 years, 2 degrees: accelerate their future

Is your student thinking about pursuing a graduate degree? Take a look at the over 50 accelerated degrees that Binghamton University offers its students. We're constantly adding to this list! Some of our newest options include: Comparative Literature BA – MA; Human Development BS – MPA; and Mathematical Sciences BS – Electrical and Computer Engineering MS.

Students complete most of their undergraduate coursework in three years, with their fourth year a mix of undergraduate and graduate courses — all while paying undergraduate tuition! In their final year of study, they are considered a full-time graduate student. To begin this process, students should let their academic department know that they are interested in the accelerated degree program during their junior year.

We invite you to visit our website and explore the application process for the accelerated degree. Contact the Graduate School with any questions.

Find balance with Campus Recreation

Work hard, play hard. That's Campus Recreation's mantra — and for good reason! Balance is important in college, especially during stressful times like midterms. Encourage your student to stop by the East Gym, Recreation Center to find that balance this month. There are lots of ways to "play" in Campus Recreation, including swimming laps, playing basketball, going on a hike or scheduling a massage or a nutrition advising session.

In fact, March is National Nutrition Month. Nutrition advising is available free of charge to currently enrolled students. If your student has a question about their diet or needs advice about navigating the dining hall options, we can help! Registered Dietitian Julie Lee accepts appointments from 1 to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays. Call 607-777-3515 to schedule an appointment.

Counseling services available to students

March can be a stressful and busy time for students as they deal with midterms, internship searches for the summer or next academic year, spring break plans or job applications. The University Counseling Center (UCC) has several services available to help those who are feeling overwhelmed.

  • Students can make an appointment with the UCC by calling 607-777-2772 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or by coming to its office (OO-264) during business hours. The UCC also provides same-day urgent appointments between 1 and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  • After-hours phone counseling is available if students feel the need to talk to a trained professional right away, and it's after business hours. They can call 607-777-2772 between 5 p.m. and 8:30 a.m. Monday through Friday or 24 hours a day on Saturdays and Sundays. They simply press 2 on the phone tree and are connected with a licensed counselor.
  • Tele-counseling is available to international and domestic students who have UnitedHealthCare insurance. This video-based service reduces the barrier of stigma, brings care to the student's location and reduces waiting times for care. Students can go online to get started.

In addition, the High Hopes Helpline is a student-run service that allows students to talk through any issue they may be facing due to stress, break-ups, grief/loss or career worries. The hotline operates from 8 to 11 p.m. every night during fall and spring semesters. The resource can by used by calling 607-777-4357.

Encourage your student to take advantage of these options if they feel the need.

Dining services and events

Binghamton University Dining Services is proud to serve the campus community. Our goal is to provide your student with a variety of food options that focus on freshness and flavors. By now your student has most likely dined at many of our locations and experienced many tantalizing cuisines.

We have had many special events at the residential dining halls, MarketPlace and Chenango Room Restaurant, such as:

  • Global Chef from France
  • Dining Through the Decades, a fifties-themed event
  • Lunar New Year, in collaboration with the Multicultural Resource Center
  • Seafood House
  • BBQ Blues
  • World Vegan Day
  • Culinary Salon
  • and many more!

We've made it easy to reload your student's meal plan with dining dollars, in case they're starting to run low. Binghamton University meal plans provide the ultimate in convenience and flexibility. Log in to your account to add money to an existing meal plan today!

You can always learn more about on our website, including how your student can contact one of our two registered dietitians for a free confidential consultation.

Bear Necessities Food Pantry

As the semester progresses, food insecurity increasingly becomes an issue on campus. Meal plans begin to run low, and some students don't have the financial resources to add more money. That's why Binghamton University provides the Bear Necessities Food Pantry as a resource for any student who needs it — no questions asked. Students just need to bring their Binghamton University ID card to the pantry in the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center (RC) 168 (connected to Hinman Collegiate Center).

Equipped to provide a variety of food and personal care items for students in need, the pantry is sustained by the generosity of our donors. We have received an amazing level of support so far this year, so thank you to all who already contributed. Any additional support will be greatly appreciated and go to further supporting our students. Questions about the food pantry can be emailed to occ@binghamton.edu.

Parents Leadership Council members create endowed scholarship

Dr. Marjorie Strelzyn-Witt '81 met her husband, Dr. Barry Witt '80, when they were both living in Delaware Hall during her freshman and his sophomore year at Binghamton University. In the years since then, they have maintained strong ties to Binghamton, first through fond memories shared with the many friends they have remained in contact with over the years, and more recently as proud parents of current Binghamton University students, Dylan and Adin — a sophomore and junior, respectively.

Two years ago, after their younger son joined his older brother at Binghamton, Marjorie and Barry were nominated to join the Parents Leadership Council, where they have enjoyed the opportunity to engage other parents of undergraduate students with the University.

"We have been honored to be a part of it," said Marjorie. "We have met many dedicated and caring parents of Binghamton University students who give their time, money and insights, in order to enhance the college experience for all Binghamton students."

Marjorie says that this involvement cemented their realization that they wanted to continue to give back to the University in ways that were meaningful to them personally and would have a positive impact on students. They considered options for many possible financial gifts, and finally arrived at the perfect way they could support students while also ensuring that Binghamton students would contribute to making the world a better place.

"One night," explained Marjorie, "I suppose after watching too much toxic commentary on TV, and being bombarded by Twitter, Facebook and all the other media providing news, I awoke in a sweat and had an epiphany. I kept hearing Dionne Warwick singing Burt Bacharach and Hal David's 'What the World Needs Now' going through my head. And then it hit me; that's what we need to do!"

Marjorie's "epiphany" resulted in the Strelzyn-Witt A-OK Acts of Kindness Scholarship, which provides a substantial scholarship to one student each year who embodies and demonstrates a combination of fine character and making a difference in the lives of others through their kindness, compassion and caring acts — a student who shows acts of kindness, not randomly, but as part of their normal way of living.

"We want students to be aware of how helping others can be empowering and builds character and confidence," Marjorie said. "And most importantly, we hope that the desire to perform acts of kindness is contagious and spreads throughout the campus."

For more information on the Parents Leadership Council, visit our Parent and Family Programs website.

If you are interested in providing your support for Binghamton students, contact Morgan Kenyon '10, MS '11, at mkenyon@binghamton.edu or 607-777-3264.

Financial Aid and Student Records

Financial Aid

Financial aid award notifications for students returning for the 2019-20 academic year will be sent beginning in late March.

Scholarship Applications for 2019-20

The link to apply for Binghamton University scholarships based on community service, leadership, volunteerism, extracurricular activities and more for 2019-20 opens up during the first week of March. To be eligible, students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, attained at Binghamton University. They must also plan to enroll full-time in both fall 2019 and spring 2020. The application process closes on April 26. Watch the Alerts on the right side of our homepage for an announcement and the link to the application site to be posted.

Student Records

Spring 2019 semester important dates

  • Spring semester ends May 10

  • Spring grade change option and withdrawal deadlines are at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, April 2.

Spring 2019 proof of enrollment

  • Spring 2019 Proof of Enrollment is available online through the National Student Clearinghouse. Students can access this through BU BRAIN

Summer registration

  • Summer registration began at 9 a.m. Monday, March 11 through BU BRAIN. The online schedule of summer classes is now available to view through BU BRAIN. Students must clear all holds before they can register.

Fall advanced registration

  • The online schedule of fall classes and student time tickets will be available to view Monday, March 25 through BU BRAIN. To view their time ticket, students should click on the student tab, Registration link, My Registration Status.

  • Students must clear all holds before they can register.

  • Graduate student registration will begin at 9 a.m. Friday, March 29.

  • Undergraduate students can begin registration at 9 a.m.Monday,  April 1. Time tickets will be based on credit hours earned.

  • Advanced registration will close at 11:59 p.m. Friday, May 10. Registration will not re-open until the add/drop registration period for the fall 2019 semester.

Graduating seniors — application for Degree

  • Currently enrolled undergraduates intending to graduate in spring 2019 must complete the online Application for Degree available on BU BRAIN in order to receive their degree. Students completing coursework at another school in spring 2019 must email degree@binghamton.edu to complete the Application for Degree.

University withdrawal for the spring semester

Now that the spring 2019 add/drop period has ended, students seeking to withdraw completely from the University must submit the University Withdrawal form to Financial Aid and Student Records, Admissions Center 112. The Semester Withdrawal Form
is required for a student who wishes to drop ALL courses and who wants his/her academic record to indicate in good standing.

Clear holds

  • Be sure to clear all holds that may prevent registration.

  • Holds can be viewed online through BU BRAIN.

DegreeWorks audit

  • Students should review their DegreeWorks audit to ensure their spring 2019 courses are meeting degree requirements. Students can view their time tickets online through BU BRAIN via the Binghamton portal to find out when they are able to register.

Lost IDs

  • Students can request a replacement ID card through BU BRAIN 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. Students must be registered for the fall semester in order to receive a replacement ID card.

  • There is a $20 fee for all replacement ID cards. The $20 fee will be assessed to the student's bill in Student Accounts.

  • Note: 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.

Official expedited electronic transcripts now available

  • In addition to free official paper transcripts, we now offer official expedited electronic transcripts.

  • $5.00 USD charge per recipient for the expedited service.

  • More information about this new electronic transcript service is available online.



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Like the Binghamton University Bearcat Families Facebook page today so you can receive daily news and information from Binghamton University, as well as win fun prizes just for parents!

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

  • University's Academic Calendar
  • March 16: Residence halls close at 11 a.m.
  • March 16-24: No classes (spring break)
  • March 24: Residence halls open at 2 p.m.
  • March 25: Classes resume
  • April 2: Grade option change/Withdrawal deadline
  • April 19: No classes (Easter, Passover)
  • April 26: Classes dismiss at 1 p.m. (Passover)

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.

Last Updated: 3/11/19