H2T: Auto-mobility

Hello there!

I’m typing this from my phone on my way back to Oswego after a long (indulgent) weekend at home. Unfortunately I had to leave my beloved Fawnda (my car) at home so she could get a little tune up.

While it does sting to not have the convenience of my car, I have found the silver lining! The weather has started to change for the better, so I plan to walk to campus everyday (weather permitting!).

I’m excited to get a little extra movement in my day. Plus, I’m bound to be more alert in class and at work after 20 bonus minutes of fresh air.

I hope you’re all taking advantage of the changes ahead!

Spring Broken!

Hello followers! It’s been a while since my last blog post (I’m crazy busy this semester-emphasis on crazy) and I just returned from a week in Ft. Lauderdale, FL with 6 of my best friends. It was incredible to get a taste of summer in the middle of March. Even though my trip was an absolute blast, it exposed me to some of the major health risks that come with the elevated temperatures and sunshine. We’re only 8 weeks away from freedom, so take notes on these obvious tips! You should really listen to them, I promise you won’t regret it!
I cannot stress this enough and I know this seems pretty obvious but it’s easy to forget to grab a bottle of water when you’re focused on getting yourself out in the sun. When your body is dehydrated you’re not only thirsty but you’re functioning at a lower level of cognitive and physical performance.
Really. Just wear it. Spare yourself the ache of raw peeling skin and throw on some SPF! You have all summer to get tan and on top of that there are plenty of products that can help you mimic the tan that you have yet to build! Hope you all enjoyed your break as much as I did!
Alcohol Consumption
Be super careful whether you’re drinking at the beach or at a summer party. Alcohol dehydrates you to begin with and as I learned from “Toilet Talk” it can increase your risk of getting Sun Stroke.

Had I listened to my mother and all of my fantastic health science professors, my skin would not be peeling right now (though I don’t regret getting to go for a short run on the sidewalk along the beach!). All in all I had a great, safe trip and would go back in a heartbeat. Hope you enjoyed your spring breaks!

SUNY Oswego Seniors (Left to right) Tess Bierl, Kara Alheim, Laura Scaffidi, Heather Casey (Me!), Kelsey Harvey and Lauren Poggiali on the beach in Ft. Lauderdale, FL

5 Tips for a Successful QUEST Presentation

Our work is the presentation of our capabilities. -Edward Gibbon

Hi readers,

Maybe you knew, maybe you didn’t, but QUEST presentation submissions are due TOMORROW! For those of you not in the loop, QUEST is a fun filled day during which classes are cancelled and students and faculty alike go to presentations/workshops driven by the members of the SUNY Oswego community. Chances are, if you are a student and you completed a significant project for a class or internship, you can present it at QUEST. You might even just have a personal project or idea you’ve been working on, and this might be approved as a QUEST presentation as well.

When it comes to actually presenting, there are some things to keep in mind. As stated in the above quote, its very important to have the work to back up your case, but here are a few tips to really hook the audience that you might not have thought of:

1. Keep it Brief

Don’t overwhelm people with information! If you can present your ideas in a concise manner that ideally can be explained to a 5 year old, then you’re doing it right.

2. Include a Demo

People love to see ideas in action. Especially, quick sample-usage scenarios work wonders.

3. Dress for the Occasion

You don’t have to be formal, but style is always a plus. The first thing audience members see before you start talking is your outfit, and it might just give them something easy to remember your presentation by.

4. Make sure it’s Oswego related.

QUEST is a day to show off what Oswego does throughout its busy year, and this includes the town as well as the college communities. If your project is one that seeks to bolster some aspect of the local community, it will all the more easy for audience members to relate and enjoy your presentation!

5. Make it personal.

This, brought to you in video form, by the great people of TED.


My Projects

UniHub – A Social Networking based Classified Listing Service for the College Environment

The Oswego Art Initiative – A Mechanism for Outdoor Art on Campus

COG411 (Neural Networks) panel with Professor David Vampola


What are you going to present at QUEST? Give it a shout out in the comments below!

QUEST is coming April 17th – Are YOU Ready?

The Campus Rail Jam 2013! (Interview)

Believe you can and you’re halfway there. -Theodore Roosevelt

Hi all,

I recently spoke with the Ski and Snowboard club leaders Mike Lillis and Mac Dillman, as well as Ted Winkworth of the Lifestyles Center, who helped coordinate the event. Here’s what they had to say about this year’s celebration of all things winter sports:


What all was involved in putting the Rail Jam together? In other words, as a club, what steps did you have to take with the school administration and with outside people and organizations in order to set up such a big event?

Mike: The Rail Jam is a huge event and took months of planning.  As Mac said the majority of the approval process took place last year so this year was a little easier.  We just had to confirm with all the same College Officials and departments that we were putting the Rail jam on again and taking the same steps as last year.  This year we had to deal with a couple of new Officials so it was a little difficult getting them on the same page as us.  Once we were approved by campus we went straight to planning the day out.  Getting everything prepared and ready to go.  We worked closely with LifeStyles, WYNO, Red Bull and of course the Ski Club.  We really coordinated everything right down to the pinpoint.  Our club worked very closely together and we jumped through every obstacle together.  Mac’s answer really covers a lot of what we had to do.  Dealing with the school, insurance, clubs, money, grounds and much more.

Mac: Most of the approval process really took place last year. It was one struggle after the next. First we had to really determine who we should be asking permission from, and we could never seem to end up in the right person’s office. It was as if nobody wanted to give the thumbs up to the event in case something went wrong. Finally we landed at Campus Life, and after many meetings with the director of campus life and the Student Association Director of Finance, we came up with a long list of things we had to do before we could throw the event (and we were running short on time). S.A. didn’t want to let us have the event on their insurance policy, so we had to purchase a one-day event insurance policy from an outside agency, which we did not have money for. We networked with WNYO and they ended up paying for the insurance and also providing the music for the event. We had to buy and make all of the rails and boxes ourselves, which was expensive and also another challenge to coordinate with the technology department on that. We had to pay for a U.P. officer to attend the event for “crowd control”, and we had to have SAVAC on standby in case something went wrong. The other major coordination effort was with grounds crew. Last year we were affected by one of the lowest snow seasons on record, so it was very challenging to find enough snow. Fortunately grounds grew helped us move snow around campus, put it in the pile where we wanted it, and helped us shape it. We absolutely could not have done it this year or last year without them. We also relied heavily on the Lifestyles Center for on-campus promotion. This year we did things in the same way, but we didn’t have to go through such a painstaking approval process. We still had to follow all the same steps, but this time we knew what to do, so it was much less stressful. We were able to put more attention into things like promotion and the kind of frills that made this years Jam better than last years. The most challenging part this year was probably just coordinating with people who were new to the event and did not know the extent to which their organization helped out last year. We split up the duties very evenly this year which took a lot of weight off of everyones shoulders and made a lot more possible.

Ted, what did you and lifestyles contribute to the Rail Jam, as opposed to the Ski and Snowboard Club guys?

Ted: We really just helped to make sure the rails were taken care of, we helped with painting them to make sure it all looked good. We helped with logistics stuff, we were really more in the background this year. Last year we helped [ski and snowboard club] navigate the system, and now that they know what is going on they can take control, which I like.

 What challenges or difficulties did you face this year in putting this on?

Mike: As always challenges are always waiting around every corner.  I would say that one of the harder things this year was taking over for Mac.  Mac devoted his life to this event last year and ran everything really well.  With him student teaching everyday we really had to coordinate with him and try to find time for all of us to meet and set things up.  The event just really takes a lot of time and planning.  Trying to work with people who don’t really understand your idea really makes things harder.  Also our school has processes which can make things really difficult when trying to put events on.  We ran into a couple of major problems with insurance this year but we were able to work everything out.  The event flowed really smoothly and without the grounds crew and our hard working officers this event wouldn’t of been possible.

Mac: The challenges this year were more about trying to coordinate with one another through all of our busy schedules. Last year it was usually me who was sitting in the meetings, writing up the documents, and coordinating with different groups. But this year we split up those responsibilities so we were always having to talk with each other and meet to make sure we were on the same page, and with me gone every day student teaching and the other officers on their own busy schedules that got to be a challenge. 

Ted: Honestly, this year felt so easy; it was completely stress free. When it was all done, I was waiting for that feeling of “thank god it’s over”, and I realized it wasn’t coming, because I was never at any point feeling that things were out of control, that things weren’t going like they were supposed to. And especially after last year – there were political hurdles, there were insurance problems, and once all that was solved we needed snow – this year all that stuff was taken care of. It was really cool!

 What recommendations or advice would you make to other students and organizations wanting to set up large events like this?

Mike: Just go for it.  Try to team up with other organizations and really use your connections to get things done.  Ski Club has such a large member base that we are constantly networking to coordinate and get things done.  This was a huge help when trying to promote the event and get the word out.  But like I said before, just go for it.  Make it happen and don’t take no for an answer.  We planned this event for three years before we finally got approval.  We worked harder and harder each year at it and really lifted it off the ground.  Anything is possible and with some dedication and hard work a person can achieve anything.  To think that just an idea starting with 4 officers turned into such a large event.  The coordination and the turnout was amazing.

Mac: Dig your heels in then you meet resistance, and jump through whatever hoops you have to. You will develop yourself so much as a group leader and an individual. Learning how to work within the college system is an incredibly useful skill to have. For all the work we put in, it is absolutely worth every second of it to see the results. Do what you have to do to bring the things you love to the rest of this college community. 

Ted: Don’t give up on it! I think that for this one, the biggest hurdle was that people didn’t understand what it was, and now that people know what it is, I think that it is going to be something that happens every year that is going to be celebrated. If the ski club had given up after being shot down the first time, it never would’ve happened, so that persistence is huge.

Plans for next year and for future events?

Mike: We want to go bigger and better every year.  More people, more clubs more features.  We want this event to be a hit across campus.  We want everyone to be talking about it and see what an amazing event this is.  We really need the school to realize the impact our club has on this campus and try to work with us to make things easier.  According to admissions, our club is the most popular trending club across campus.  We have the largest active member base over any organization and pay the most out of pocket expenses.  We put on one of a kind events and do a lot of the work on our own since the school doesn’t give us the largest budget.  I want our club to be recognized across other campuses and I want them to be like wow, look what they just did!

Mac: With a solid foundation and a couple of successful events under our belt, now we are stretching out each year to see what else we can bring to this event. A few ideas we are bouncing around are trying to expand the competition to include riders from other schools, bigger and better prizes, vendors and board shops and ski mtns representing at tables, possibly even doing the event at night with lights. These are all just ideas in the air right now, but with the right drive we could definitely try to bring them in the mix.

Ted: I think that we want to try and make it bigger and more challenging next year, have more features. There’s been talk with the ski club about trying to do a big air or aerial trick competition, which I think they would do out at Fallbrook, but we’ll see what they end up doing with that. We definitely want more people out there and we want to make it a big event.


Well, looks like we’ve got plenty of great stuff to look forward to in the future from these guys! Oh and one more thing… In case you missed it, they even did a Harlem Shake! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAw10IWeCtc





Lacrosse Season Has Arrived!

To any new students, seniors, and anyone in between, lacrosse season has begun in Oswego! Saturday at 1:00 our men’s lacrosse team will kick off their year with an away game at SUNYIT. I figured I’d give a little break down of the situation.

SUNYIT just got a men’s lacrosse program last year (Title IX Restriction) in which they only managed to come away with one win. They’ve started this season 0-2 and have been outscored  41 – 4 in those two games. This should be a soft ball for the Lakers. As a lacrosse fan and former player, I can’t help but feel sorry for those guys; it isn’t easy getting a program started from scratch. Best of luck to them.

Oswego is looking to find the same spark that they had at the start of last season which saw them win 9 in a row, a feat never before accomplished in program history. Chris Porten, Casey Balzer, and Josh Roetzer are hoping to lead this years squad to the same booming start as they did last year. Although, losing 6 of the last 7 games was a hard pill to swallow. Fortunately for the Lakers, their top 4 scorers are all back and will be back for a few more years. Coach Ryan Martin has recruited a solid sqaud of young players who should mature in the next few years of his young coaching campaign.

This author was a benchwarmer on the Lakers’ squad once upon a time, and I wish them all the best. Only two of the names on the roster are familiar to me– I’m starting to feel pretty old. Also, their schedule is changing somewhat drastically with unconventional out-of-conference opponents, such as Adrian, Elmira, Misericordia, SUNY Canton, and SUNYIT. SUNYIT and SUNY Canton just began formal lacrosse programs in the past 2 years while Adrian is in its 6th year as a D III contributor.

Weather permitting, the Lakers will have their home opener on Saturday March 9th at 11:00 AM against Adrian in front of Laker hall. Go State!

Pride Alliance Reformed

Let me start by stating how happy that I am to be back at SUNY Oswego. I graduated last year in May with a B.S. in Adolescence Education, and for multiple reasons, I eventually decided to return to SUNY Oswego as a graduate student and just began a month ago. I truly missed SUNY Oswego and am, again, so happy to be back. I certainly haven’t missed this crazy weather, but I have definitely missed the campus and have missed being a student, in general. I got certified to teach late in the summer and subbed in the fall until I came back to Oswego, and I am so thrilled to be back in the classroom as a student. I am definitely a student at heart, and learning is such an exciting prospect for me. I am taking Women and Screen Studies with Amy Shore (which I love), Black Women Writers with Patricia Clark (which I also love), and Theories of Teaching Composition with Robert Moore. I love my classes and am really immersed in what I am studying.

I want to, however, primarily focus this blog entry upon SUNY Oswego’s Pride Alliance. Some of you may recall the blog entry that I wrote quite some time ago; “Pride Alliance in Need of Reformation” is the title, and, in fact, if you run a search for Pride Alliance on SUNY Oswego’s website, that blog entry is currently the first page that will appear. I addressed my concerns regarding the organization because at the time, I felt that Pride Alliance was not focusing on what is truly important; it focused too much attention on sex and not nearly enough attention on more practical, more important issues. I was very harsh, but I do not apologize for anything that I stated because I definitely think that everything that I stated was very reasonable, especially since I was far from being alone in my opinions; even a professor here at SUNY Oswego agreed with me. However, I have been attending Pride Alliance this semester and have to say that I am so incredibly happy to see that the organization is much more practical and productive and is doing a lot more of what it should be doing both on campus and within the Oswego community. I am having such a great time as a member of Pride Alliance, and it is an organization of which I am vehemently proud to be a part. I am not going to say that it was my blog entry that particularly initiated these reforms, but who knows? Perhaps, it had some sort of impact.

Pride Alliance is now under new leadership, and with all due respect to the former team that led the organization, I think that that probably has a great deal to do with why the organization is a lot more productive now. Marian Holmes is the president, and I have to say that she is absolutely fabulous. Full of passion and energy, she is clearly dedicated to ensuring that Pride Alliance is not just mere entertainment but also makes a positive difference both on campus and within the community; the entire team seems great, and they are planning many awesome events for the semester. Yesterday, for example, we had the Oswego High School Acceptance Coalition join us, and it was a lot of fun. As Marian has pointed out, with Oswego High School being so geographically close to the college campus, it would be kind of ridiculous if we were to neglect the opportunity to build a bridge between our organizations, something that has never been attempted or, as far as I know, even discussed before. Next week, someone is coming to talk about living with being HIV-positive, and a comedian is possibly coming later in the semester, as well. In addition (and I am momentously excited about this), a NOH8 photoshoot is planned, which will take place during some point of the semester. Pride Alliance is definitely reformed, and I couldn’t be happier about it. If you’re interested in attending meetings (and I sincerely hope that you are because the more, the merrier), they are held on Thursday evenings at 7 p.m. in room 133 (across from the auditorium) of the Campus Center. You can also check the Pride Alliance out at their website, http://pridealliance.wix.com/pridealliance.